HP ProCurve Secure Router 7102dl review

Price when reviewed

Despite offering a huge range of Ethernet switching products, HP has never really been big on routers. But the 7100dl series is intended to remedy this. The 7102dl targets small branch offices and aims to provide secure WAN access for multiple services across a variety of connections. Small businesses also come into the picture, as the 7102dl is offered as a single solution for providing secure Internet access for all LAN users plus optional VPN tunnels for mobile workers.

HP ProCurve Secure Router 7102dl review

There isn’t much to see on the front panel, which just provides a couple of Fast Ethernet ports and two interface slots accepting an extensive selection of optional interface modules. These range from ISDN, T1, E1 and serial WAN links. We requested that the review sample be fitted with the ADSL2 Annex A module. The latter has a second port for dial-up backup facilities but requires either an ISDN or modem daughter card fitted. The 7102dl incorporates an SPI firewall plus intrusion detection and prevention capabilities for secure Internet access. A third interface slot at the rear is provided for the optional IPSec VPN encryption module, and if you go for this you’ll also need to purchase HP’s VPN client software.

The 7102dl supports a number of deployment scenarios. The Ethernet interfaces could be used to link two network segments to a single point for converged WAN access. Alternatively, a small business could, for example, simply connect an ADSL modem directly to the second Ethernet port and use it to provide secure Internet access to all systems on the LAN. Installation starts at the CLI (command line interface), where you provide one Ethernet port with a fixed IP address and enable HTTP and HTTPS access. The majority of features can be accessed from the web interface; this is well designed and packed with plenty of wizards.

The documentation could be better designed, but configuring the ADSL interface is simple enough. First, you create a logical interface, then add your VPI and VCI values, select an interface mode, which can be PPPoE or PPPoA, and finish off by providing your ISP login details. Commendably, the firewall blocks all traffic by default, and the wizard makes light work of configuration. It will set up Internet-connection sharing on the selected interface, activate NAT and, if requested, automatically set up port forwarding rules for mail, web and FTP servers that are behind the firewall. You can also create different firewall security zones that contain multiple access rules. QoS (Quality of Service) can be applied to selected traffic and the web interface usefully provides a wizard specifically for prioritising VoIP traffic. The 7102dl is geared up for voice traffic as it includes ALGs (application layer gateways) for handling both the H.323 and SIP protocols.

On first contact with the web interface, we immediately had a sense of dej vu and soon realised that it’s identical to that used by the Adtran NetVanta 1224STR PoE. The NetVanta 4305 Router also looks similar in terms of features, but Adtran is focused primarily on the US market and currently has a low profile in Europe. Consequently, we recommend going for the HP option, since the 7102dl is strong on features, supports a wider range of optional interface modules and is easy enough to install and configure.

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