- Fast connections are worth sharing
- Routing is the core of your shared network
- Dedicated devices - the alternatives
- What are the individual functions that make up the device?
- Buying a modem/router/switch
- Buying a device with an Ethernet switch
- Buying a device with wireless networking
- What about security?
- DIY vs ISP?
- Summary of features
A USB connection is easier to configure if you are new to networking, but a router should always have at least one Ethernet interface as well. Alternatively, an internal PCI card ADSL modem can be used if you plan to run routing and/or firewall software on the host machine.
Inbuilt 4 port 10/100 switch
A router with a built-in switch means you won't need to buy a separate device to share your Internet connection with other computers.
Intrusion detection (IDS)
A firewall feature that inspects data traffic for suspicious activity and either logs it, blocks it or does both.
RFC1483 is an encapsulation protocol available in ADSL modems which can be configured to run in bridged Ethernet or routed IP modes on ADSL links. It is rarely used, however, as most modems will need to use PPPoE or PPPoA to connect to ADSL services in Australia.
LAN port rate limiting
This is a router feature that permits you to set bandwidth limits on IP addresses and ports, usually with scheduling. This is handy if you are on an ADSL plan that has peak and off-peak limits, allowing you to limit downloads during peak times, for instance.
A router performs Network Address Translation (NAT), making it a firewall by definition. Some routers, however, have additional firewall capabilities such as packet filtering, intrusion detection, DoS protection and cookie/URL blocking.
Inbuilt or Free micro-filter
You will need a line filter for every phone connected to the same line as the ADSL modem. If you get one built-in or bundled, that's saving you about $10 or $20.
A firewall feature that prevents malicious applications from being downloaded while Web browsing over a shared connection.
MAC address filtering
A firewall feature that only allows network cards with a predefined hardware address to access the network. Every network card has a unique MAC address, but these can be faked by a hacker.
Multiple public IP address binding
Some routers allow you to use multiple IP addresses for your Internet connection. This is mostly useful for businesses running Web servers and VPN connections that require different domain names. It must be supported by the ADSL provider and will incur an additional fee.