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LAN & WAN Reviews

Network

Network configuration is where WAN and LAN options are selected. Each WAN port can connect to a different ISP, using PPPoE or Ethernet, with Dynamic or Static IP addressing. Dual WAN connections, as with the FVX538 and FVS124G, can be configured in auto-rollover or load balancing mode.

In auto-rollover mode with WAN1 as primary, WAN2 will kick in after the defined number of retry intervals is exhausted. The default setting circled in Figure 10 is four tries on 30 second intervals, which will cause a failover in just over 2 minutes.

WAN failover

Figure 10: WAN failover settings

I tested WAN Failure Detection at the lowest setting, a Retry Interval of 30 seconds and Failover threshold at 2. On average, the WAN2 interface went active in 1 minute 10 seconds after failing WAN1. The NETGEAR DHCP server defaults to issuing its LAN Gateway IP as a DNS proxy address, which ensures clients will be able to surf via either Internet connection in a Failover.

In addition to Failover mode, Dual WAN connections can be set up in Load Balancing mode. It may seem that using two Internet connections simultaneously is advantageous, but this configuration can cause some routing problems. These can be overcome by setting Protocol Bindings to map specific traffic types to different Interfaces.

For example, mapping Web and Email (HTTP, SMTP, POP3) traffic to one WAN interface and everything else to the other WAN interface would be a simple means of segregating traffic over the WAN interfaces with common best effort traffic on one interface and higher priority traffic on the other.

The FVS supports Dynamic DNS connections to Dynamic DNS, Iego.net, and TZO.com. I had no problem setting up my accounts to Dynamic DNS and Iego.net, but had some issues with maintaining the mapping of my domain to my WAN IP as discussed in the VPN section.

As with the FVX, there are multiple LAN configuration options. The LAN subnet can be customized to any network; I set mine up to use the 192.168.3.0 /24 network. I like NETGEAR’s LAN Groups menu. The FVS is designed to be the core of a small office network, capable of supporting up to 253 nodes.

As shown in Figure 11, my test FVS is connected to 15 different devices. Using the LAN Groups menu, an administrator can easily name each device as it comes on line and draws an IP from the FVS' DHCP server. Once a device is named and saved in the LAN Groups menu, LAN device administration is organized through this nice table. 

In the example below, I've put all my devices in Group 1. In production, a network administrator may want to put devices into different Groups, which allows for applying different security policies to different Groups of devices. 

LAN Groups

Figure 11: LAN Groups setup

The FVS336G supports both static and dynamic routing in the event it is deployed in a network with other routers. Using static routes to send traffic to the LAN subnet of another router is easy to set up and works well, which I was able to verify between the FVS336G and a D-Link router configured as a simple stub router. (A stub router is often defined as a router with a default route for outgoing traffic, and whose neighbor uses static routes toward it.)

The FVS336G also supports RIPv1 and RIPv2 for dynamic route exchange between routers, which can be more efficient than setting up static routes on multiple routers in a more complex network. Note, though, that the FVS336G transmits routing updates only on its LAN port, thus to fully use dynamic routing with other LAN routers, the FVS336G needs to be the upstream router connected to the Internet.

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