There’s barely a day goes by without a vendor releasing the latest and greatest broadband router, which must be really irritating if you’ve just bought one only to see it being superseded before you’ve even pulled it out of the box. ZyXEL offers a huge range of broadband routers but some of these such as the Prestige 660HW on review have been around for a while and have benefited from a regular firmware upgrade program. Here we take a look at this wireless router to see how it stacks up against the new kids on the block.
The router is a compact box with a four port Fast Ethernet switch at the rear along with an RJ-11 port for the integrated ADSL modem and a reset button for returning the unit back to factory defaults. The wireless access point (AP) is endowed with a single aerial and MIMO is not supported. For higher wireless speeds you get ZyXEL’s Wireless g+ SuperSpeed technology which aims to boost 802.11g speeds to a theoretical maximum of 125Mbit/sec. Naturally, you’ll need a compatible PC Card to get any benefits but the 660HW package looks even better value as ZyXEL includes a free G-162 card which supports Wireless g+ and is worth around £30.
Installation is wizard assisted so all we had to do was enter our ISP details and we were up and running in little over a minute. Sensibly, on the next contact with the browser interface you are advised to change the administrator password and if you don’t it will hassle you every time you log on. The router’s SPI firewall is switched on by default and starts blocking unsolicited inbound traffic immediately. If you want to change its behaviour you can add your own access rules and these can be placed in a list in order or priority.
From the NAT settings you can set up port forwarding rules to allow external access to specific services although watch out if you have residential broadband as sticking web servers and the like on it may no longer be an acceptable practise with some providers. If you wish you can assign a single port number to an internal IP address for forwarding or a range of ports if the server is running multiple services. For the latter you simply provide a start port and an end port and up to twelve separate entries are allowed.
If want to place a VoIP (voice over IP) router on the LAN the 660HW has an ALG (application layer gateway) feature that can handle SIP (session initiation protocol) data allowing it to pass through the NAT firewall unhindered. Basic bandwidth management controls are also provided but these are predefined for six services including HTTP, FTP, VoIP (SIP) and email. All you do is select the service and then assign one of four priorities to it.