Review: ZyXEL HomeSafe Parental Control Gateway

Introduction and Basic Features

ZyXEL HomeSafe Parental Control Gateway Router with 802.11g Wireless
Summary802.11g router with built-in access time and application filtering parental controls for up to 10 users and subscription web filtering. Also available as HS-100 without wireless
UpdateNone
Pros• Inexpensive
• Easy to set up
• Effective Content Filtering
Cons• Average Performance
• Logging could be more extensive
• Unclear user logout procedure

ZyXEL's HS-100W HomeSafe Parental Control Gateway has been specifically designed with emphasis on controlling broadband access in the home. It incorporates effective parental controls that limit not only the types of information that children can access online, but when they can access it as well.

The HS-100W comes bundled with features like a built in firewall to ward off hack attempts, secure 802.11b/g wireless communication abilities, content filtering, time-based access management, and real time logs and alerts for the more tech-savvy. And if you want to save a little money, you can opt for the HS-100, which has all the HS-100W's features except for wireless.

I found that while the technology driving the HS-100W may not break any speed records, it does provide reliable performance that should prove satisfactory for almost any household or small business.

The HS-100W comes ready to install. In the box you will find a short pamphlet for quick installation as well as a CD with a very detailed User Guide (PDF). I found much of the web-based configuration to be intuitive enough to avoid having to spend time rummaging through the included documentation, but it is nice to know it's there in case you need it. Inside you will also find a 9VAC power supply and a very short CAT5 Ethernet cable.

Housed in a metallic grey box, the HS-100W has a rather simple look that I liked. On the back of the device you will find: a single radio antenna, 10/100 WAN and four 10/100 LAN ports, reset-to-defaults button, and finally a power jack. Across the front you will find lights for the following: power and Link / Activity for each of the four 10/100 LAN ports, WAN, and WLAN. The single-type link / activity lights are easy to see, and I was especially pleased to discover the WLAN port strobe slowly while transferring information to or from a wireless device.

Figure 1: The HS-100W Board

Figure 1 is a shot of the HS-100W's main board, You can see that the radio is integrated as a separate mini-PCI board, a Conexant PRISM-based ZCom XG-601, and is connected to a single non-removeable antenna. The HS-100W processor is Barricade High-Powered 2.4 GHz 54Mbps Wireless Broadband Router.