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NETGEAR Cable/DSL Web Safe Router Gateway Review


Given that NETGEAR is trying to position the RP614 for the "Home" market, you'd think that they would give it a different interface to go along with its different packaging. But you would have thought wrong, because once you fire it up and log into the default address of for the first time, you get the same Install Wizard that greets you on the "business" oriented FVS318 [reviewed here] and more recent FR114P [reviewed here]. And if you check the CD inventory above, you'll see it's the same as you get with the FVS318 and FR114P, too.

Figure 1: Setup Wizard
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

As a matter of fact, the 614's feature set is essentially the same as that of the FVS318's, minus the 318's VPN endpoint features, and a few other variations. A key improvement over the 318 is that the 614 uses frames properly in its browser interface. Although the middle frame (which is where all the admin activity takes place) has a fixed size, it's sized correctly, with no need (or ability) to scroll back and forth to access any features, including log data.

On the other hand, a key negative is that there's no remote management feature, which is probably due to the "home" target customer, who might get confused by such a feature, or mis-configure it, possibly leaving the router open to attack.

Update 10/1/02 - Remote management added in 4.10 Sep 13 2002 firmware.

The 614 also allows multiple administrator logins at a time, but doesn't provide any warning about the multiple administrators. You're automatically logged out after 5 minutes of inactivity, which you can't change, and will have to enter the proper password to get back in, since the 614 doesn't share the 318's no-password-relogin-bug.

Finally, although I'm no fan of the feature (see the UPnP NTK for the reasons why), I would have thought a router intended for the "home" market would support Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). Since one of UPnP's key features, NAT Transversal, is supposed to automatically configure a router's firewall for applications like games, voice and video conferencing, and other "home" applications, I think the omission is notable.

Update 11/14/02 - UPnP added in 4.11RC24 firmware.