Easy to get up and running, the FVS318G offers fully configurable security and entry-level VPN capabilities in a compact, low-cost package.
Good documentation; advanced security; VPN wizard; low price; lifetime warranty.
Front-mounted ports may make it awkward for some installations.
Eight x 10/100/100Mbit/s LAN ports, one x 10/100/1000Mbps WAN port, five concurrent IPSec VPN tunnels, SPI firewall, SNMP 2c management, hardware DMZ, dimensions (DxWxH) 190x125x35mm, weight 0.59kg
A major update to the existing FVS318 entry-level VPN firewall router, Netgear's new FVS318G model adds Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) networking capability and a completely new physical design.
The most noticeable change is the front-mounted GbE ports and status lights for the eight LAN and single WAN connections. DC power is connected at the rear. The unit is housed in a robust metal case that can be wall mounted, but there's no rack-mount option. It is powered by a 250MHz processor with 32MB of memory, giving it a quoted LAN-WAN throughput of 25Mbit/s, or 7Mbit/s for VPN use.
Some features appear to have been cut back. The previous model supported eight concurrent IPSec VPN tunnels, whereas the FVS318 can run just five, although this is likely to be more than adequate for the target small- or home-office user. It can be used as either a VPN gateway for network-to-network connections, or to allow remote PCs to connect to the LAN using VPN client software.
A single-user licence for Netgear's VPN client software comes in the box, and there's detailed help on how to set this up. A VPN wizard built into the web interface makes light work of creating policies, even for less technical users.
The in-depth help is a great feature of this interface, reducing the need to constantly refer to the PDF documentation. A dedicated link to this and the online knowledge base is provided if you need it, though. A particularly useful feature aiding quick deployment is the WAN auto-detect feature. One of the LAN ports can be configured as a hardware DMZ.
Considering the price point, the security options are pretty impressive. A fully-configurable SPI firewall supports keyword blocking, URL white lists and web component blocking (proxies, ActiveX, Java and cookies), as well as user-definable port and service blocking. Port triggering and port range forwarding are both available.
All security rules can be scheduled and applied to individual LAN clients or groups of clients. Additionally, bandwidth and session limits can be enforced, again individually or on a group basis. If you're using a capped ISP, the traffic monitoring tool will also come in handy.
With its ease of setup, low price and excellent documentation, this is an ideal product for the smaller business with modest VPN requirements, or larger enterprises needing a branch- or home-office solution.