NetGear FWG114P ProSafe 802.11g Wireless Firewall w/4 Port 10/100 Switch and USB Print Server review: NetGear FWG114P ProSafe 802.11g Wireless Firewall w/4 Port 10/100 Switch and USB Print Server

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The Good SPI firewall; 802.11b/g Wi-Fi certified; external antenna; excellent throughput; Dynamic DNS support; three-year warranty.

The Bad WPA currently unavailable; lacks WDS support; expensive.

The Bottom Line Netgear's FWG114P is a great all-in-one device for those planning to set up a home office.

7.2 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Support 9

Editors' note: The rating and/or Editors' Choice designation for this product has been altered since the review's original publication. The reason for this is simply the general improvement of technology over time. In order to keep our ratings fair and accurate, it's sometimes necessary to downgrade the ratings of older products relative to those of newer products. (3/17/04)

Netgear's FWG114P wireless firewall print server delivers solid performance and the right array of features. Its integrated access point, firewall, and print server are all easy to set up on any platform using a standard Web browser, making the Netgear wireless firewall a good choice regardless of whether you're networking Linux, Apple, or Windows machines. The only real downside to this product is its lack of WPA (for wireless security) and WDS (for wireless scalability), both of which are part of the Buffalo AirStation's feature set. Still, the Netgear wireless firewall makes up for these shortcomings with superb Internet security, extensive logging, Dynamic DNS support, and automatic failover to a dial-up connection. We think it's worth the expensive price tag for SOHO and advanced home users who need more than the typical home router.

The FWG114P wireless firewall print server sports the classic Netgear look with a dark-blue, metal housing and several well-positioned LEDs on the front. The wireless firewall's back panel contains an Ethernet WAN port, a USB 2.0 port, a serial port for a modem, and a four-port Ethernet switch. The switch is equipped with Auto Uplink technology, which eliminates the need for crossover cables when connecting to other switches or routers.

In addition to the wireless firewall itself, the box contains a power adapter, an Ethernet cable, a printed installation guide, and a resource CD with one of the best manuals we've seen. The electronic manual has a series of appendices on networking that describe topics such as subnet masks and network address translation in clear, concise language.

Thanks to its well-designed, Web-based Smart Wizard, the Netgear FWG114P wireless firewall print server is easy to set up, too. The wizard is compatible with any standard Web browser, so you can access it from Windows, Macintosh, and Linux computers. The check boxes in the wizard's interface track that tasks that you've completed, and interactive diagrams show you how to connect the cables. It doesn't update your Windows network settings like the Windows-only setup wizard for the Microsoft MN-700 does, but the Netgear Smart Wizard does provide detailed information on how to make those changes.

Netgear's Web-based configuration utility offers access to a number of advanced-settings options. Plus, if an incorrect setting brings down your network, the wireless firewall's handy configuration save/restore feature rolls it back to the old settings.

The Netgear FWG114P wireless firewall print server offers a strong set of security, filtering, and logging options. The wireless firewall uses SPI (stateful packet inspection) and filtering rules to forward or block specified traffic. Other security features, such as the blocking of keywords, Java, and ActiveX, work together with &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ewebopedia%2Ecom%2FTERM%2FN%2FNAT%2Ehtml" target="_blank">NAT and the filtering rules to secure your network from outside hackers. Unfortunately, the Netgear wireless firewall supports only 64/128-bit WEP security, but Netgear promises to deliver WPA security support with a firmware update in the coming weeks. We would also like to see a WDS mode that would allow the firewall to wirelessly communicate with other 802.11g access points, such as that of Buffalo's AirStation router and repeater.