Archive for the ‘What’s New NETWORKS’ Category


Linksys’s WAG160N ADSL router is easy to configure, with a standard set of features including QoS and local wireless traffic shaping, both of which help to prioritise high-bandwidth services such as video streaming. It produced some of the fastest 2.4GHz transfer speeds we’ve ever seen, both with our Centrino 2 laptop and with Linksys’s WUSB600N USB wireless adaptor. The WAG160NUK can’t transmit on the 5GHz band, but it’s easy to use, inexpensive and very fast.


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Solwise’s SEC-C1062W is a professional-grade wireless IP camera with motorised pan and tilt, suitable for ceiling-mounting. It easily justifies its price.


Video quality is brilliant, with accurate colours and minimal graininess. To make the most of it, you’ll need an FTP server to which it can upload JPEG snapshots when it detects motion. You can even connect external sensors, so snapshots are automatically triggered by events such as a window being opened.



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The D-Link MyPocket is a 3G wireless router the size of a smartphone, with no Ethernet ports. Sliding off the back cover, you find a SIMcard slot, a microSD card slot and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts for a couple of hours when using 3G, and for just over four when used simply as a wireless hub. It can also be used as a simple 3G dongle, and the contents of the memory card can be shared across your network. Setting up the MyPocket is reasonably simple. It comes with a Quick Start guide on CD, which you’ll need to read to find out that the connection manager software only installs correctly when the MyPocket is in modem mode. Once installed, the software lets you choose from a huge list of pre-configured connection profiles, so you don’t have to know your 3G carrier’s details.


You can also connect to the MyPocket over WiFi, accessing the setup web page at You can set the router up manually or using the wizard. Wireless support is the key feature for portable routers, as it lets you access the internet on the move from any wireless device, such as an iPod Touch.


Support for Dynamic DNS is included, and you can use either D-Link’s own service or the popular DynDNS service, both of which are free. You can also specify an IP address from which you can connect remotely. These are useful
if you use the MyPocket as your main router at home, although you’d need to leave it plugged in to a power socket.

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The Billion 5200W is one such N-lite router.it’s far from the cheapest router, but then it’s designed for business rather than home use. For this reason the 5200W has a feature-filled web interface that some could find confusing. Thankfully, there’s also an easy-to-use wizard that walks you through the basics. Small business users will appreciate the wealth of features, if they can decipher the poorly translated menu system. However, the organisation of sections within is fairly logical: this first section is split into Internet, LAN and Wireless sub-sections, while the Advanced Setup tab handles firewall, routing, NAT, QoS and advanced ADSL settings. The Wireless section lets you change the wireless channel, which is worth considering if you’re in an area with many wireless networks, although we found the Auto mode fairly reliable. You should also select 20MHz only under 11n Settings to turn off
channel bonding



Speeds started well but tailed off at long range. At 1m, Billion’s own BiPAC 3011W adaptor managed 42.75Mbit/s, and at 10m we saw respectable speeds
of between 32Mbit/s and 37Mbit/s.

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Traditionally, firewalls have been stupid, mindless beasts—which is a little disconcerting, given that for years you’ve been relying on them to protect your company. Old-school firewalls are simple port-watchers. Leaving open the ports used for typical Web traffic, such as HTTP on port 80 and encrypted SSL traffic on port 443, old-school firewalls simply relied on applications to “play fair” and use the ports they were intended to use.


But there are problems with that approach. First, there’s nothing that says that malicious traffic cannot use supposedly safe ports. And, while most firewalls will allow all traffic that originates from a supposedly safe, trusted network, outbound traffic need not be benign. Then, the explosive growth of social networking sites (and the platform-based apps that can reside on them) has meant that there are legitimate business uses for such tools, and businesses have therefore had to allow (potentially malicious) traffic to and from those sites and devices. To top it all off, ubiquitous (and potentially insecure) mobile devices can now access your corporate network from anywhere.



Palo Alto Networks


Palo Alto Networks’
PA-4020 is part of the
company’s powerful
4000-series-NGFW line.



“In the old days, applications had their own protocols, so they could be filtered at the network layer,” says security expert Chris Hadnagy, author of Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking. “Now, everything runs over HTTP, meaning through port 80. To filter that, you need intelligent security at the application layer, because simply closing port 80 would shut down all legitimate Web access.” The result? The firewall you installed a few years ago is a sieve, and no longer capable of protecting your corporate network.


Juniper Networks


Juniper Networks markets its SSG140 modular security product for branch offices, regional offices, and enterprise businesses.


Next-Generation Firewalls Defined
NGFWs are a different animal. They are, by definition, capable of examining traffic at the application level, distinguishing one type of traffic from another,and taking action based not on the port being used, but on the behavior of the individual application that’s using the port. Rather than assuming that port 80 is being used for “friendly” traffic (because, after all, that’s what it’s supposed to be used for), a NGFW is aware of the applications
moving through it, and it enforces policies based not on the port in use, but on the specific identity of the application using it and on the rules set up to allow—or disallow—its behavior. In other words, while a NGFW may indeed offer standard firewall features such as NAT (network address translation) and stateful inspection, its salient feature is a more granular level of control that we characterize as “application awareness.” NGFWs thus identify, categorize, and control application traffic based on policies set by network administrators. Because of this awareness, a NGFW can do much more than simply control port-based traffic: It provides a security mechanism that allows for intrusion detection and prevention, anti-malware, antispam, VPN
(virtual private network) functionality, and more.


The Future Of NGFWs
NGFWs are a nascent market. Gartner estimatesthat less than 1% of secure interconnections currently use a NGFW. However, numerous NGFW vendors
have emerged, including Palo Alto Networks, Crossbeam, McAfee, SonicWALL, and others. Prices vary widely, depending on factors that include the number of gateways, device throughput under different security scenarios, maximum number of simultaneous sessions, and number of users supported. Given the burgeoning and ever-adaptive malware threat, it may be time to re-evaluate your security tools; perhaps a NGFW is what you need to help keep your network secure.

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