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Written by Carl 'lowlight' Nelson [03.02.01]
Manufactured by: ZyXEL

Security!

Time for some security scanning! First, I'll explain a bit about the basic security all routers offer...

As you may know, each unit is an NAT (Network Address Translator) firewall.  This means that your specific IP address is never visible, or reachable to the public.  The only way someone can reach your PC over the internet is by way of your public IP address, and go through the router.  It's up to you to tell the router that you want to let the public access your PC through certain ports (specified by you in the Virtual Server setup).  Many routers allow you to leave your PC entirely open to the public, as if the router didn't exist.  This is often called "DMZ", or "Demilitarized Zone".  On the 3200, this is called "Exposed Host".


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So why bother with security? If no-one can ever access your PC anyway, how can it matter? It matters because some routers leave ports open to the public! Some of them allow you to filter ports, for remote access to the routers, and others don't leave any open at all.  For full security scans on several other routers, visit this page of our Cable/xDSL Router Shootout.

To test the security of routers, we used Secure-Me.net's FULL port scan service.  This way, over 2000 ports each of TCP and UDP are scanned.  You can head over there and do a basic scan for free, but you are limited to the basic TCP ports, and no UDP ports.  On top of that, you'll be waiting in the queue for quite a while.

*** PLEASE NOTE that I am NOT a security expert or a hacker.  I can show you which ports are left open, and my best idea of what security risks may be present, but that's about it.  If any of you would like to clue me in on what kind of problems leaving these ports open on these routers can present, PLEASE contact me.

And here is the result from our extensive port scan:

Port State Protocol Commonly
21 filtered tcp ftp
23 filtered tcp telnet
520 filtered tcp efs

The only ports that were reported were filtered.  This is just about as good as it gets! Ideally, the ports wouldn't respond at all, but a filtered port is better than an open port in any case!

Conclusion and Final Score

This is the first wireless router I have ever used, and I was VERY pleased with the results.  I can't put ZYXEL over enough; I love their products! They might be a bit on the high end in terms of price, but it is always backed by a great product.  The P316 is no exception.

802.11b wireless networking looks to be the standard that most manufacturers are going to stick with for now.  This is good, since if you ever decide to switch routers, or add another wireless device to your network, you won't have to worry about compatibility.  I have no complaints about the wireless networking either; everything worked very well, with not a single hiccup.

The only problem I could think of is the price.  The $500 price tag puts the P316 a little out of reach for many users.  Of course, many NON-wireless routers were going for just a few months ago.  If you don't mind waiting a bit, it will surely drop in price.  I couldn't wait though! ;)

Come back next week for our Umax wireless router review; it has a suggested price of almost $200 and includes a print server as well.  FWIW though, I really enjoyed the Prestige 316.

The Good Stuff

  • Very secure

  • Wireless works perfectly!

  • Excellent HTML-based setup that is VERY easy to use

  • You can use this on virtually ANY platform! (and I do mean virtually!)

  • Flash Upgrading is just about as simple as it gets

The Bad Stuff

  • Pricey

Overall:  95%

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