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Netopia R9100 Router Review

Netopia R9100 Router Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Broadband technologies such as cable and DSL modems are becoming more popular than ever before, due to their high-speed access and always on connections.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Networking Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Netopia Jul 14 2000   D. Deveaux  
Home > Reviews > Networking > Netopia R9100

Installation



Considering that several small businesses are unlikely to have a dedicated IT support staff, one of the biggest challenges for a router such as the R9100 is the ease of which it can be installed in an existing network. Luckily, the R9100 does not disappoint. For starters, the R9100 can be configured even before connecting it to the LAN, which can reduce downtime.

This is made possible by the 9-pin serial port connector (Console). By attaching the supplied serial cable to your PC or Macintosh, you can access the router's configuration using a terminal program such as Hyperterminal (Windows). This setup proved very useful, as I was able to set the router's default IP address (the one that is visible to computers on the LAN), and several other options including the DHCP settings. In addition, Netopia provides a SmartStart utility, which is a wizard-based program that walks you through the initial setup of the router.

From here, the next step was to actually connect the router to my existing LAN to verify everything was working. To do this, I connected the supplied network cable from Ethernet port 1 on the router, to the uplink port on my 10/100Mbps switch. (Please note that I would have provided pictures of Following this, I restarted one of the computers on the network, and ran "winipcfg" (from Windows 9x) to verify that the router had assigned my computer an appropriate IP address. Sure enough, the router did its job properly, and the IP address was given.

Powering up more computers revealed even more of a surprise, as DHCP automatically worked for them as well. So far, everything was going well. DHCP functioned as it should, and all the client machines had access to the Internet, via a single IP address assigned by my Internet provider.

The greatest key to installation however, is the reference guide that Netopia has supplied on the accompanying CD-ROM. This guide covers literally everything needed to install and configure the router effectively, with fairly detailed information. It does an excellent job at explaining how to configure filter sets (for the firewall), using support for IPX/SPX (Novell) and AppleTalk (Macintosh) protocols, and much more. The manual is definitely a resource which should be used extensively to make sure that the router is being used to its maximum potential.

Configuration

There are several ways of configuring the router's settings: Console, Telnet, and remote dial-in access. Console is used for a physical connection between the R9100 and a computer (via the serial cable), Telnet is used for connecting to the router via the LAN, and remote dial-in access is used for accessing the router remotely (useful for allowing Netopia tech support reps if there is a problem). I'll focus on the Telnet options, as it is the method that will probably most often be used in configuring the router. Upon using Win9x's Telnet utility to connect to the router, a very simple menu appears.

 

Easy Setup - This menu offers basic configuration information, such as what IP address the router uses to connect to the Internet (assigned via your ISP), along with the major settings for the router's IP address and DHCP configuration.

WANConfiguration - Used to configure more advanced settings relating to connecting to the WAN (Internet).Options here include NAT settings, connection profiles, and the like.

System Configuration - Configures settings relating to the router itself, such as which protocols it uses, filter sets, Date & Time, etc.

Utilities & Diagnostics - Helpful utilities to troubleshoot problems. Utilities include Ping, Trace Route, and Telnet (telnets to a remote system).

Statistics & Logs - Provides detailed access to event logs such as router activation/deactivation. This also displays the routing table, which is what's used to route information from one network to another.

Quick Menus - Displays a list of many configuration options of the R9100 at a glance. For experienced users, this is far more effective than navigating through each individual menu trying to find the settings they are looking for.

Quick View - Provides a quick view of the router's status. This allows a user to monitor the active connections, and see what status lights are lit up (useful for troubleshooting purposes).

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Contents of Article: Netopia R9100
 Pg 1.  Netopia R9100 Router Review
 Pg 2.  Features Explained
 Pg 3.  — Installation
 Pg 4.  Effectiveness

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