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ZyXEL ZyWALL 10

A Cable/DSL Router with enhanced security features
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Date: 2002.04.10 03:46
Author: John
Category: Firewalls / VPN
Manufacturer: ZyXEL
Product/Model: ZyWALL 10
List Price: $299
Online Price: $220.99 @ Buy.com

Wrapping it all up

I did not do an official speed test due to the fact that this router has been out for a while, and no one has had major speeds issues with it, and the router is shooting large files around my home LAN at healthy speeds that meet and exceed my other routers. ZyXEL has always been known for having solid, fast routers, and the ZyWALL 10 is no different. Online security tests from GRC showed the router passing perfectly, every checked port was in "stealth mode", which is the least you could expect from a router devoted mainly to security. Not only is this router extremely secure, but the means and methods of configuring the router's security are extremely easy and web browser based. The only pain felt while installing the router was having to use HyperTerminal, which a newbie would not be able to do without some study. If you plan on having more than one computer routed to the internet, I suggest you get a switch. This is both a good and bad function of the router: bad because you have to buy the switch, yet good because you can buy the switch based upon the number of clients on the LAN. The router did not die on me once, it was very reliable in the over 1.5 weeks time which I ran it for long term testing which I do with all the routers that I come across. I develop a sense of how the router feels, and I was very pleased with the ZyWALL 10 in terms of reliability and performance. Although the ZyWALL has no hardware reset button, you don't need it unless you are making certain changes within telnet or the browser admin area, and the router reboots itself automatically after those changes are made.

Included with the router was a CD which my Lite ON 24x CDRW could not read, but my Lite ON 16x DVD could... It contains some great technical support, including screenshots of the Administration area that they have hand circled items in and have in depth information. I have made the content of the information included on the CD, including it's PDF's here, I hope you can review them before you purchase this router to see if it is right for you.

Some quotes from Pricegrabber.com shows the prices for this router hovering between $260 and $300 plus shipping. This price tag may thwart most home users from purchasing this router, seeing as how they can get a 4 Port Linksys from Buy.com for merely $80 and shipping costs. However, what you are paying for with this router are the added features that make it the special product it is. What is basically boils down to, is this question: Is a hardware content filtration system and advanced hardware firewall with VPN support what I need? I am confident this router will do a hell of a job filtering content that you tell it to, better so than software counterparts. For those of you working from home who need VPN and cable together, this is a sure thing- easy to set up and maintain. I had a friend recently spend two days straight with his Linksys trying to configure it to work with his cable modem/lan and still have VPN access to work- this is a product he may want to consider. If you will be using this router at a work environment where you have employees that you want to keep working, and make the most efficient use of the time you are paying them for, then this router will be a small investment towards more money saved in the long run.

In the business category, the router cleans up across the boards. The only area where I could find fault was the downloadable content filtration information which you would eventually have to pay for after 6 months. I try very hard to find fault in the products I am using, and the ZyWALL 10 eluded my attempts at finding fault for it's use in the business arena.

For a home user with little experience, this router may be a bit hard to set up, and considered 'going overboard' when routers which offer the same speeds and reliability are hundreds of dollars less in comparison. However, serious home users who know how to get the best out of this router will benefit from it's advanced features, and in the end not feel happy with some other routers' lesser features. A home user might chose to use the ZyWALL 1 instead, which incorporates very similar features, with the main differences being cost of the unit, and the fact it only allows for a single VPN tunnel instead of the 10 VPN tunnels in the ZyWALL 10.

As with any product; be it a router, video card, car, or a house you need to do your homework. Please read other reviews, as maybe another reviewer did not have the same luck I did with the product. Scan message boards for posts regarding the router, and see if others have been having problems with them. :)

Good Luck,

John

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