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Conclusion

As displayed in Table 4, the FVS336G has a nice combination of features and ports for a middle-of-the-road price. At $265, the FVS336G is $60 less expensive than NETGEAR’s other new product, the FVX538, yet matches or exceeds its performance with a lower speed processor.

  Price CPU (MHz) WAN Ports LAN Ports Gigabit Ports
FVS336G $265 300 2 4 6
FVX538 $322 533 2 9 1
FVS124G $140 200 2 4 4
RVL200 $141 200 1 4 0
RV042 $157 266 2 4 0
Table 4: Feature comparison

The FVS336G is more expensive than the Linksys RV042 and RVL200, as well as NETGEAR’s FVS124G. However, it is in a different class, with dual WAN ports, gigabit LAN and WAN ports, and greater VPN Tunnel capacity. 

Although Linksys' RV042 PPTP client is also an easy client VPN solution, the FVS336G's SSL VPN is a better solution for security and flexibility. And even though the FVS336G is more expensive than NETGEAR’s FVS124G, the FVS336G’s beefier CPU, higher throughput, and SSL VPN capability make it a better choice.

SSL VPN removes a lot of the headache of connecting remote users and a significant cost saver. With SSL VPNs, there are no client license fees to purchase as there are with IPSec VPN Clients. For example, a 5-user license to NETGEAR’s IPSec VPN Client runs about $125. With SSL VPN, the cost is $0.

I consistently ding devices for lacking gigabit ports. NETGEAR gets kudos for shutting me up this time by making all the WAN and LAN ports gigabit capable. (I would like jumbo frame capability, though.) 

It's unfortunately common for first releases of products to have a few bugs and the 336G is no exception. But I hope that Netgear quickly issues new firmware to correct the slow dynamic DNS update problem and missing DMZ feature.

In summary, the FVS336G brings together the strengths of NETGEAR’s IPsec-based ProSafe VPN product line with the ease of use of SSL VPNs. The FVS336G provides a lot of value to small biz users looking for an easier way to provide secure connections to roving employees.

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