A Closer Look:By Frank Ohlhorst | 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.
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.