A Closer Look:

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2008-10-28 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The ProSafe 802.11n Wireless-N VPN Firewall aims to combine wireless and wired security into a single package that brings high-speed access and management ease to the SMB office, while challenging SonicWall’s dominance.

The name " Netgear ProSafe 802.11n Wireless-N VPN Firewall" doesn’t roll off the tongue too easily, perhaps that is why the unit’s diminutive metal case is emblazoned with the model identifier of "ProSafe SRXN3205."

The unit is built out of metal and not the all-too-common plastic that purchasers have become accustomed to. Metal construction implies durability, but much more importantly, metal tends to dissipate heat better than plastic, while giving the purchaser an impression of quality.

The front of the unit offers four 10/100/1000M bps Ethernet ports, a few indicator LEDs and a 10/100 WAN port. The back of the unit offers a power connector and three antenna jacks–with 802.11n, three proves to be an important number, since those three jacks connect to three antennas: two are of the dipole type and the remaining antenna is a flat, directional unit. The three antennas are engineered to work in concert to create a (MIMO) multiple input, multiple output wireless signal. MIMO is used to extend range, improve speed and is a key component of 802.11n.

The SRXN3205 is designed to be simple to install and use. Hardware configuration consists of plugging in some network cables, screwing on the three antennas and plugging in the power brick. The theme of simplicity flows throughout the setup process–once plugged in, administrators can launch a setup wizard directly from a compatible Web browser and make short work of the setup process.

Arguably, the most important feature offered by the SRXN3205 is the unit’s SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] VPN capability, which allows remote users to securely access the internally configured LAN. What’s more, SSL access can be controlled down to the individual user and each user can have granular access based on policies defined by the administrator.

Creating secure connections couldn’t be much easier. Administrators simply create users, groups and domains and then define the access policy. The big advantage offered by the SSL VPN capability is that users do not need a preinstalled VPN client to access the system. All a remote user needs to do is access the unit via a Web browser, input some credentials and, voila, they have a secure connection to the network.

Granular settings allow administrators to limit protocols, IP addresses, subnets and so forth available to the remote user. For those looking to bring an additional layer of security to wireless networking, an SSL VPN can be defined that encrypts all wireless traffic beyond standard wireless security.

As far as firewall features go, the SRXN3205 offers the gambit. Administrators will find an SPI (stateful packet inspection) engine that can run in stealth mode, along with port and service blocking. A complete feature list can be found on NetGear's Web site.

 

 
 
 
 
Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com
 
 
 
 
 
























 
 
 
 
 
 

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