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Written by Carl 'lowlight' Nelson [09.07.00]
Manufactured by: ZyXEL
Suggested Retail Price Price: $189
For a limited time, you can buy this product for $175 from ZyXEL
Everything you need to know about Network/Internet Security


ZyXEL Prestige 314

If you read our Cable/xDSL Router Shootout (parts 1 and 2), you would know how pleased I was with ZyXEL's entry, the Prestige 310.  This was a 1 port router that offered quite easy installation, and with the use of ZyXEL's powerful Prestige Network Commander utility, you could easily change the most advanced settings.  No need for TELNET here! (which is what the Netgear used - other than that, they are exact twins.  The ZyXEL P314 is also exactly the same as Netgear's 314).

One of Prestige 310's weaknesses to the other routers in the review was the fact that it was a 1 port router.  Most people use these routers to share broadband internet, as well as secure their PC's.  With a 1 port router, you needed to purchase a hub or switch to then share the connection among all your PC's.

There's no such problem with the Prestige 314! The P314 vastly improves on the P310 by adding a very capable 10/100 4 port switching hub! Some of the multi-port routers only have a hub built in, but there are some problems associated with that - mainly severe bandwidth sharing problems.  On a hub, if one PC is sending a ton of information to another on the network, all the bandwidth will be hogged, and other PC's on the network will suffer.  A switch remedies this problem completely.

The one thing that set the P310 apart from Netgear's 311 sibling was the PNC utility.  Sure the Netgear had HTML setup of the basic functions, but if you want to set anything beyond the basics, such as opening ports to set up a server, you have to TELNET in, which can be a pain for many.

Ease of Installation

This router has a very extensive amount of configurable settings.  Unlike the Prestige 310 though, they can only be reached via TELNET.  The Prestige 314 now features HTML-based setup for initial installation.. Here's a look at the first page of that...

From here you are free to take a run through the Wizard to set up all the basics (we'll look at that in a second), or visit the "Advanced Maintenance" page, which will let you know if everything is connected and running properly.

I have to give credit to ZyXEL though; installation was an absolute breeze! Here, I'll take you through the wizard - It's easy to see that basically anyone can set themselves up with the P314...

The first page is for your general setup.  As you can see, everything is clearly explained.  The P314 brings you step by step, and your next step is:

Setting up the IP information couldn't be easier! You can choose to have the router attain the information from the ISP via their DHCP servers, or if you know the IP information, you can enter it yourself!

If you are on an ISP which uses PPPoE (basically, a password-based system to get your IP info), the Prestige supports that as well.  There is an extra step in the wizard to set that up (but I don't want to waste bandwidth showing a very simple screen where you type in your userid and password).

When you press "Finish" on this screen, the router reboots with the new info, and if everything is set up properly, you should have net access!

The Prestige 314 also offers Dynamic DNS capability.  This gives your PC an identity, rather than your ISP's domain.  This unit supports both DDNS and DynDNS.  This means that you can choose from a variety of domains (such as *.ddns.org or *.dyndns, among many others that both services provide).  Both services are available free of charge (although you are encouraged to donate).

Next: Value, Flash Upgrading, Virtual Server Setup

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