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LAN & WAN Reviews

Net Extender and Other Features

If your secure remote access needs aren't met by the proxies, and you're running Windows 2000 Professional, XP Home or Professional or 2000 / 2003 Server, you can use the NetExtender feature. Sonicwall says that NetExtender will also work with Vista if you use IE 7 and are logged in as Administrator for a 200 that has the current 2.0.X firmware. When 2.1 firmware is released for the 200 sometime in 2Q 07, then even non-Administrators will be able to install NetExtender. More Vista info is available in these FAQ.

Users > Local Users screen

Figure 10: NetExtender client

Once you connect to the 200 via NetExtender, your client is assigned IP address and route information from values that you enter in the 200's NetExtender section. So, for all intents and purposes, the remote client is securely connected to the 200's LAN, just as it would be via a normal IPsec or PPTP tunnel. Note that you can see the active NetExtender sessions on the 200's NetExtender > Status screen but you can't manually terminate sessions.

Since Sonicwall highlighted the 200's "one time password" feature in the reviewer material they sent, I thought I'd check it out. I was stopped in my tracks however, when I went to enter my SMTP server info. I was disappointed that I had to enter the server's IP address instead of its name. But the real show-stopper was the lack of any authentication feature. Since most email servers require some sort of authentication these days, this is a major omission. I also would have liked to see a "test email" feature like other products have.

The only other major feature that I haven't covered are the Log and Online Help features. Log info is pretty much limited to user log ins and outs and activations of the built-in proxies and NetExtender. New entries are added at the top of the log page and you can send the log to a syslog server or email the logs (assuming you can get around the SMTP server authentication issue). I put an example of the log screen in the slideshow. The Online Help is context-sensitive and comprehensive, but requires connection to help.sonicwall.com.

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