Ozenda 11g Wireless ADSL Firewall Router AR4505G review

Price when reviewed

Ozenda is a new name on these pages. Founded by a couple of former 3Com employees, the company aims to provide mainstream products without features of ‘dubious usefulness’, according to its website. In other words, Ozenda avoids the frills to keeps down the costs. And, if the AR4505GW is anything to go by, it’s a strategy that pays off.

Ozenda 11g Wireless ADSL Firewall Router AR4505G review

The AR4505GW is a fairly nondescript rectangular slab. It offers the usual four-port Ethernet switch, plus an RJ-11 port for the built-in ADSL modem. There’s even a power switch on the back – a bit of a novelty in wireless broadband routers. A single microfilter is included in the box, plus all the necessary cabling, so the Ozenda has everything you need for use with a wires-only ADSL account.

Once all the cables are hooked up, your next stop is the web-based management interface. This asks for your password and requests that you enter your national location. You can then use the Setup Wizard to define the WLAN and ADSL WAN settings. The latter includes ISP profiles for a wide range of countries, and the UK profile includes entries for Tiscali, Demon, BT, Freeserve and Pipex. All you need to supply after choosing your ISP is the username and password, and you should be online.

Security is provided by MAC address filtering, WEP up to 128-bit, or WPA. The latter comes in the WPA-PSK variety for use in a small office or home, or 802.1x can be added for a more corporate environment with RADIUS authentication. Virtual servers can be created, although there are no presets provided for popular apps. Special applications can be set up, with trigger ports opening a range of ports on the router, and here a few presets are provided. There are even RIP (Routing Information Protocol) features for more complex networks. The firewall is quite extensive, too, with IP filtering for an array of popular protocols, plus the ability to define your own. MAC filtering is available here as well, plus rule scheduling, intrusion detection and stateful packet inspection. The latter two can be finely tuned, and notification of attacks sent via email. SYN flooding and Denial-of-Service protection are also fully user-configurable. Up to eight DMZ (demilitarised zone) IP addresses can be defined.

As this is a standard 802.11g router, we tested using an IBM ThinkPad T42 Centrino notebook. We copied 144MB of files to the notebook from a desktop PC attached to the Ozenda via wired Ethernet. With the notebook in close proximity, we achieved a data rate of 17.7Mb/sec, but this fell to 14.2Mb/sec in an adjacent room, and 17.2Mb/sec from a lower floor. So, although it doesn’t offer the top-range performance of proprietary speed-enhancement technologies, the Ozenda does at least have good range characteristics.

The AR4505GW has much to commend it. The firewall features are extensive, as are the routing functions. Only a few features are missing, including support for dynamic address update services such as DynDNS and bandwidth management. Best of all, though, is the price. Costing just £60, it’s one of the cheapest wireless ADSL routers around, and that’s without figuring in all the extras. BT’s basic Voyager 2100, for example, is £17 more expensive. Although this is the first time we’ve seen this company in PC Pro, with products this good, we’ll surely be returning to Ozenda in the near future.

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