We are now in an age where is it cost effective to have ďpermanently onĒ high speed WAN connections from our homes to the Internet. With this new found ability comes a serious risk of being attacked by unscrupulous individuals who like nothing better that destroying your computer and data... You may be one of millions cruising the net, but current hacking tools will find your IP address within 20 minutes- you have been warned! Luckily the price of Internet protection has dropped to a level where personal and SOHO firewalls are within the price range of the individual or small business. This review will look at just such a Firewall from Nexland called the ISB SOHO.Luckily the price of Internet protection has dropped to a level where personal and SOHO firewalls are within the price range of the individual or small business. This review will look at just such a Firewall from Nexland called the ISB SOHO.
What is it? Itís an Internet sharing & Firewall Router, with a built in 4x port 10100 Ethernet switch.
How much does it cost? MRRP is $119 (it can be found for as low as $110)
Why would I want one? If you are connected to a broadband network which exposes you to the Public Internet, you NEED one, otherwise prepared to hacked. As such itís ideally suitable for people (one up to a couple hundred people) who may VPN to the Corporate office, surf the Internet or just to have some online fun.
What does it connect to? It attaches to any Broadband connection that uses Ethernet as the WAN connection point between the Service providers equipment (on your premises) and your LAN. The majority of Cable modem networks and a few ADSL services support such an interface.
It should be noted that no ADSL based service in the UK was found to support the Ethernet WAN link of the ISB SOHO at the time of testing. A compatible service provider was found with NTL Broadband, which provides its service through a cable modem that presents an Ethernet WAN connection.
Nexland is working on similar product that will support Broadband services that expects USB connectivity on the WAN link. We hope to be testing this product in the very near future with a BT Broadband service provider utilising ADSL.
Who is the nearest competitor? Linksys BEFSR41 is the obvious alternative.
SPECS AND SETUP:
High Speed 4-Port 10/100 Switch with Duplex (200Mb)
Over 8MB Bi-Directional WAN
NAPT Firewall to Protect your Computers
Port and protocol filtering
Supports up to 253 Computers
Single Session IPsec Pass-Through
Excellent Internet application compatibility
Port Type: 10/100BASE-TX (RJ-45) x 4
WAN ports: 10BASE-T (RJ-45) x 1
5 Year Warranty & 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Whatís in the Box?
1x ISB Firewall-Router-Ethernet switch
1x mains PSU adapter (country specific only)
1x quick start sheet
1x CDROM (includes a general pdf manual and Adobe Reader, Raptor VPN client software, tftp software)
1x CAT5 cable
We took an established and working NTL Broadband Cable modem Ė 10M WAN link supporting 512K 128K data service - and plugged the ISB SOHO into the Ethernet port.
As you can see below we have the cable modem on the left, this connects to the ISB SOHOís WAN port. We connected a computer to one of the LAN ports, and connected the Airport (on the right) as an wireless transmitter to another LAN.
We made no configuration changes, just turned the ISB SOHO on. At first no traffic was passed, so we power cycled the Cable modem, this did the trick as the Cable modem still had the MAC address of the old device in itís memory, and then we were on the Internet. So we made no configuration changes in order to get on the Internet, it worked straight out the box, even a politician can set this puppy up.
On a personal I didnít like the quick start sheet, although information it contained was good, it was poorly laid out and made it the whole process look complicated.
In use and looking Pretty.
(Click to Enlarge)
A close-up of the back of the unit shows (from left to right) the blue dip switches, port status LED, the 4x LAN RJ45 ports, the 1x RJ45 WAN port, green power LED, the reset button and the 9v DC in power cable. As can be seen the ISB SOHO was supporting both 10M and 100M (full duplex) devices simultaneously, as the unit is auto sensing.
Next we loaded up our web browser and pointed it at the ISB SOHO management port (192.168.0.1).
A quick note on how IP and the ISB SOHO works-
The ISB SOHO comes with a default IP address (LAN side only) based on RFC1918. These address ranges (192.168.x.x & 10.x.x.x) were reserved so that people could use them with impunity. The only drawback is that these address ranges cannot and will not be routed to the Internet. This means that you can configure your LAN with RFC1918, but any packet going from your LAN out through the WAN will have itís address automatically changed to WAN IP address. This process of IP address changing we call Network Address Translation. This is completely automatic and is fully able to support all your LAN computers who are also sending packets out to the Internet, as the ISB SOHO will keep a state table of who sent what. So from the Internetís perspective ALL packets will seem to coming from a single IP, which is the IP assigned to you by your ISP.
Onto the first configuration screen, ďMain SetupĒ- for our service there was nothing to configure here, although if our ISP had required PPoE, we would have had to configure this up before gaining access to the Internet. For us, it was just an informational page requiring no input.
Click NEXT below to check out the full configuration of this router.
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