Cyberoam NG11EH NetGenie Home Wireless Router
The single-band Cyberoam NetGenie Home Wireless Router (NG11EH) promises to offer a lot considering its over-the-top price tag of about $200. And indeed, we were excited by its built-in antivirus engine, intruder protection, and comprehensive parental controls. In the end, however, considering its subpar throughput performance and other features, or the lack of them, we believe this Wireless-N router is worth significantly less than half its price.
If you're looking for a easy-to-use home router we'd recommend the D-Link HD Media Router 1000 or the Netgear WNDR3800, both of which also offer comprehensive OpenDNS-based Web filtering, plus much better performance, more features, and, most importantly, significantly lower prices.
Design, ease of use
The NG11EH is a compact and relatively good-looking router with two antennas sticking up from its back. It comes with four rubber feet to keep it flat on any surface and is also wall-mountable.
Also on the back you'll find four LAN ports and one WAN port. These ports are all regular 10/100 Ethernet, without support for Gigabit Ethernet. This means you won't be able to have a fast wired network based on this router. There's also a Wi-Fi Protected Setup button near the ports for quickly adding a client to the wireless network. We generally don't like having many things on the back like this, as it gets crowded and cluttered. It would have been much better if the WPS button, for example, were on the front or the side of the router.
Not everything is on the back; the router comes with a USB port on the side that supposedly supports USB cellular modems. This would be a nifty feature except that it's useless in the U.S. for now since the U.S. isn't on the list of the currently supported countries.
The NG11EH comes with its encryption key printed on the bottom. This means all you have to do is plug it in and turn it on and you're up and running. There's no other setup necessary if you just want to use it as a regular wireless router.
If you want to further customize--and you definitely do want to, as the only reason you're likely to get the router is for its special features--you'll need to log in to its Web interface. And it's quite easy to do so. From any computer connected to the router's network, the very first time you open a browser, such as Firefox, you will be greeted with a prompt to log in to the router's interface, or click to dismiss (and even choose to never see it again) to continue surfing like normal, or not so normal, depending on the settings of the router's Web-filtering function.
The Web filtering, dubbed Family Protection, is the NG11EH's key feature. It can be turned on from within the router's Web interface by the default admin user. Once it's on, the admin user has the option of adding user accounts to the router and setting up each user with a profile ranging from 8 Years Old to Adult, with the former having the most restricted and the latter having a completely unrestricted access to the Internet. For any user profile, the admin user can also manually add certain Web sites to a blocked or allowed sites list. The default admin user can also whitelist network devices via their MAC addresses, allowing them to skip the Web filtering entirely.
Once the Family Protection feature is turned on, all users except those with a whitelisted device will be required to log in the first time they access the Internet via the account created by the admin user. After that they can surf normally within the allowed scope of Web sites and services or face a warning when vising a restricted Web site. At least according to our testing, the log-in credentials will be remembered for a particular computer until its IP address changes. This means two people with different levels of Web filtering shouldn't share one computer, even via different user profiles, because only the less-restricted access level will be applied.
All in all, we found the Family Protection to be a decent feature, though not as easy to use as similar features in other routers. To use it effectively, you'll need to be rather comfortable with networking and computers in general.
The Cyberoam NG11EH comes with a built-in antivirus engine that automatically scans network traffic in real time. This seemed to be working well, as all you have to do is turn it on in the router's Web interface, although we had no way to test its effectiveness. We recommend that you still install antivirus software on individual computers that connect to the router.
Apart from using the Web interface to manage the router, you can also register with Cyberoam and then, supposedly, use the company's Web site to manage the router's antivirus subscription. Unfortunately, the registering process is the most counterintuitive we've seen. The registration form has lots of mandatory fields, including some that are irrelevant for home users, such as "Company Name." After almost 20 attempts we managed to create an online account with Cyberoam but then failed to associate the router with that account because the account required an "Appliance key" that has a different format from the one given by the router's Web interface. In the end we gave up.
Other than that, the NG11EH is very much a basic single-band 2.4GHz Wireless-N router without any features that other routers don't have. It even lacks support for dual-band wireless and Gigabit Ethernet, and it can't host a printer or external hard drive.
We were really disappointed by the Cyberoam NG11EH's throughput performance. In our testing it was the slowest Wireless-N router we've seen in a long time.
In the close-range test, the router registered just 24.8Mbps, by far the slowest on the chart. When we increased the range to 100 feet, this number was reduced to mere 8.8Mbps, making it the second slowest. Considering the cost, this throughput performance was mediocre at best.
To make up for this, the router passed our 48-hour stress test without any problems. It also offers decent range for a router of its size, up to 200 feet in our testing facility. To use the router effectively, however, we recommend using it within 100 feet or less.
Service and support
Cyberoam backs the NG11EH with a one-year warranty. The router comes with a three-year free antivirus definition subscription for those who can successfully register it with Cyberoam, which we couldn't, as mentioned earlier. It seems the router will require some sort of premium for its antivirus engine to be updated after the first three years.
With its low throughput speeds, scant number of features, and outrageously high price, despite a few novelties, we consider the Cyberoam NetGenie Home Wireless Router (NG11EH) a bad choice for any home networking situation.