Netgear ProSafe Wireless ADSL Modem VPN Firewall Router DGFV338
Manufacturer url http://www.netgear.com.au/
Performance rating 3
Features rating 3
Value rating 3
As usual, the device is configured via a web interface. While the actual operation is simple enough - clicking buttons to select between multiple choices and entering values for settings such as the wireless passphrase, a wizard-style interface is better for guiding relatively inexperienced users through the process compared with the vague instructions in an accompanying leaflet.
The DGFV338 isn’t a recent addition to Netgear’s range, and it shows. More modern routers - and even some older ones - walk the user through the setup. Still, at least there are fairly detailed instructions in the manual. It’s just a shame that it’s on a CD instead of paper.
Partly because of the rich feature set, it can be tricky to find particular controls. It would be easier if the web interfaced used rollover menus to reveal subordinate options without having to load the corresponding page - especially as what you see in the manual doesn’t always match what’s on the screen.
Among the irritations are the fact that wireless security is switched off by default, and the automatic daylight savings adjustment doesn’t work for Sydney or Melbourne.
Interesting features include the ability to automatically switch between the built-in modem and the Ethernet WAN port if one of the links fails.
We also noted the SPI firewall, extensive logging, URL keyword filtering, and traffic metering (with the option of blocking all traffic other than email once a monthly limit is reached).
Setting up rules for a firewall is rarely a trivial task, but the job seemed particularly fiddly with the DGFV338. In addition, there is virtually no guidance about making use of the QoS support.
The provision of eight Ethernet ports is above average, but given the prevalence of Gigabit Ethernet as standard equipment on recent PCs it was disappointing to see that the DGFV338 is limited to 10/100Mbps. But then it’s also a 802.11b/g device rather than the faster 802.11n.
As for actual wireless performance, our three tests averaged 7, 22 and 93 seconds. The times taken at the longest range were very variable.
This is a feature-rich product, but one that calls for above-average expertise in setting up. Unless you have an expert on staff, budget for a specialist to come and set it up for you.
This Review appeared in the March 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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