Funkwerk Bintec RS230aw review
Funkwerk isn’t a name that springs to mind when looking for business-class wireless broadband routers, but this German company is making a big push into the UK this year. It offers an extensive range of routing, wireless and VoIP products, and the Bintec RS230aw brings together firewalling, IPsec VPNs, dual-band wireless and much more.
This compact desktop box has five Gigabit ports for LAN or WAN duties, plus an integral ADSL modem. Its access point supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless operations but not both concurrently, and the 5GHz setting also offers indoor and outdoor modes – although these only set the channel automatically or provide a choice of four fixed channels.
Previous experience with Funkwerk products has left us disappointed thanks to some complex installation routines, so we were relieved to see the company has gone some way to remedy this. The appliance’s web interface is now much more accessible and offers assistants for LAN, WAN, VPN and wireless setup.
It does get more complex from here on in, but this is due to the number of features on offer. The standard web interface groups the various features together for easier access, and it also offers an SNMP view where you can query selected management information bases (MIBs).
The Ethernet ports can be kept separate or placed in different groups with load balancing applied to them. The access point supports multiple virtual SSIDs, allowing you to create wireless access policies, each with different security settings.
Any of the Ethernet ports can be used for WAN duties and the USB port supports a 3G modem for providing a backup Internet connection. Failover is supported although the manual doesn’t explain the process well. You define multiple WAN ports, create WAN partners for them and use different metric values to assign each link a priority.
Wireless security includes WPA/WPA2 options, you can apply MAC address filtering to each SSID and stop wireless clients from seeing each other. Hotspots using Funkwerk’s optional Radius authentication hosted service are a possibility, and walled gardens can be used to present a Ts & Cs URL that guest users must agree to.
Optional URL filtering comes courtesy of IBM’s Proventia hosted service. This offers 28 categories, which are applied to any or all port groups including wireless SSIDs, and each category can be activated separately to a daily schedule. It worked well during testing, and was particularly good with social networking sites.
The appliance is licensed for five IPsec VPNs, but this feature is primarily aimed at secure site-to-site tunnels – client software costs £68 per seat. You also get the DIME Manager software for monitoring the status of multiple Bintec routers, but this looks more suited to managed service providers.
The RS230aw provides plenty of features at a reasonable price. Funkwerk has improved installation over previous products, although the modest demands of small businesses are unlikely to maximise its potential.
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Gigabit LAN ports||5|