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Cyberoam NetGenie SOHO review

Cyberoam NetGenie SOHO

Verdict

A cheap web content security appliance crammed with valuable features; wireless performance is slow, though

Review Date: 27 Feb 2012

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £139 (£167 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Cyberoam has a reputation for delivering affordable SMB gateway security solutions and its latest NetGenie SOHO takes this a stage further. In this exclusive review we look at its new entry-level wireless router which provides a complete small office UTM solution at a remarkably low price.

This lightweight plastic chassis provides four Fast Ethernet LAN and a single WAN port and teams them up with an 802.11n 2.4GHz wireless access point. A USB port is also located in the top panel, with support for 3G modems.

What’s inside is of more interest as along with an SPI firewall, the NetGenie provides true web content filtering, anti-virus, anti-spyware, application controls, IPS and support for IPsec VPNs. The icing on the cake is the price as this includes a three-year subscription to updates for all security services.

After installation, which is straightforward, users can be left to surf as normal where the appliance will log all activity and apply firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware and IPS security. To enforce web access and application controls, however, user accounts need to be created.

Cyberoam provides four distinct groups of URL categories and during user creation it’s simply a matter of moving a slider bar to determine how many groups should be blocked. This also applies to four groups of common web applications with the minimum setting blocking P2P traffic and anonymous proxies.

Cyberoam NetGenie SOHO

A fifth option is provided where all four URL groups are blocked and the user can only access sites specified in a white list. A scheduler also gives control over when each user can access the Internet, and this can also be applied to individual web and app entries.

By default, wireless access is set for 802.11bgn mixed mode with WPA2 enabled and the default key printed under the unit. However, it’s easy to customise these settings from the web interface if required. Wireless performance isn’t great, though, as we only saw around 5.5-6MB/sec when copying files from a netbook eleven metres away at the other end of the lab.

Web filtering performed very well, however, and so it should as it uses a subset of Cyberoam’s cloud URL category database. This is used by its pricier UTM appliances and the NetGenie is able to apply 57 of the 82 categories. Application controls also worked well: with different slider settings it’s possible to block selected users accessing the Internet using apps such as Windows Live Messenger, Live Mail, Outlook, BitTorrent and FTP.

There are cheaper wireless routers around but none offer built-in identity based security, web content filtering, gateway antivirus or app controls. Netgear and D-Link consumer products use the third-party OpenDNS service for basic parental controls but must be managed from a separate portal.

If you also want anti-spam we suggest the Netgear ProSecure UTM5, but a full three year subscription to all services costs around three times as much. At only £139, the NetGenie SOHO simply can’t be beaten on price and for an extra £59 you can extend phone and email support to three years as well.

Author: Dave Mitchell

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