1. Ease of Installation
Physical installation was like the others; connect the cable modem to the WAN port using a straight-through cable, connect the router to the hub uplink (or single PC) with a crossover cable, plug it in, and turn on your PC. There was one (rather large) difference with the software setup though...
The current full firmware version of the router does not support browser setup. If you want to use the RT311 right away, you'll need to install the setup software, and use that (which works simple enough). There is a beta firmware available here, that will enable browser setup (and effectively DISable the included setup software). It is recommended that you upgrade the firmware first, before browsing to the router's IP and finding this:
This is the first page of the "Setup Wizard". Like any other router, you enter your userid and domain name. Tell it to obtain a dynamic IP, and you're done. The browser setup had the exact same features as the software version (which is to say, not very much); it's just a bit easier (and runs a lot faster).
3. Virtual Server Setup
Out of all the routers we looked at, the Netgear RT311 had by far the most archaic way of opening ports...
In effect, this is the exact same as the others... Rather than use an html browser, or included software though, you'll need to Telnet to it, and set it up there. You won't be able to use a mouse, or cut and paste. There are no common ports listed either. It still works, and I think browser setup will be available with a future firmware upgrade.
4. Flash Upgrading
The RT311 is the only router than uses FTP to upgrade firmware. That's right, you unzip two firmware files to your hard drive (you'll also need to rename them), FTP to the router's IP, and upload and overwrite the files. This is a little more involving than other methods, since you'll need an FTP client installed (that is, unless you want to use the VERY archaic DOS FTP client). As an alternative, you can upload the firmware via the serial cable, but I would rather install an FTP program.
5. Taste Test
Overall: C+ / 70%
All these images can be clicked on for a high- res version!
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