Let me tell you a story.
There was this cool guy called Abhimanyu. Lets call him AB.
AB has just started a business. No doubt its a small business with a minimum investment. He was about to terminate his Internet connection (Broadband modem) on to a network switch in order to share the Internet among his employees. But then, he got to know about the Cisco WRVS 4400N Wireless N Gigabit Security Router that not only had good security/ QoS features but came at a good price point. The In-built Wireless functionality was like the Icing on the cake. Perhaps, he need not buy that network switch at all?
AB knew that Wireless ‘N’ technology supports up to 300 Mbps for the LAN side. So, there was no dearth of speed there. Further, he had not ordered the computers and laptops yet, so now he could order them with wireless adapters and avoid the cables in his office! What helped the wireless case further is the fact that all the employees (about 15 of them) were sitting on the same floor and the area was quite small. He found out that there was even an MFP (Multi Function Printer – Print, Scan, Fax, Copy etc) that came with a wireless adapter to connect to the wireless network.
The Cisco WRVS 4400N Router, came with four high speed gigabit LAN ports too. So, for the applications that require a cable, he could always use them. Good thing about the router is, it had an in-built DHCP server which automatically assigns IP addresses to the employees and it also has the NAT functionality which masks the local IP addresses of computers when they communicate through the Internet hence providing a layer of security.
Speaking about security, he found that most of the security features supported by the bigger routers were available with Cisco WRVS 4400N, as well. There was an Intrusion Protection System (IPS) which comes with the common threat signatures to identify any known type of attacks from hackers on the network. The router had a Stateful Packet Inspection Firewall that enabled him to decide who has access to what in the network. For example, he could decide how many people were allowed Internet access, and on which days and time periods. Cool!
AB could also block the Instant Messaging applications and Peer To Peer software downloading applications with just one click, since these two were potentially productivity dampeners and security holes. There was also an optional subscription upgrade available with Cisco WRVS 4400N router that could give him gateway level anti-virus, anti-spam, and URL categorization and filtering. For example, he could block access to all the sports websites at office, if he wants to, with this upgrade.
He found that the VPN functionality in the router was interesting. They had a couple of development servers in the office, and VPN allowed any of the employees (5 VPN Licenses by default, additional licenses can be bought) to connect to the company network securely through an encrypted tunnel and let them work from home, with the same facilities that they can avail in the office. So, now the employees could work from home if they are not able to come to the office and more importantly, he could hire part time employees who could always work from home! Now, why should the employees go through all those traffic jams in the city and waste a lot of time on the roads? He thought this functionality was a must have!
AB was concerned about the wireless security, as the wireless signals are going to go outside his office, no matter how much he decreased the signal strength! But the MAC filtering capability allows users only with certain MAC addresses (Permanent address assigned to every network device – Factory assigned, cannot be changed unlike IP address) to connect to the wireless network. He could also block ad-hoc connections (PC to PC) to enforce higher degree of wireless security and turn off the SSID broadcast so that anyone casually looking for wireless signals around the area would not be able to spot his. He thought, for the price it came, these functionalities were hard to beat and very useful! Perhaps, he could buy one for his home as well, and set up a home router to office router VPN connection!
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