NETGEAR ProSafe Dual Band Wireless VPN Firewall reviewed

Wireless Perf. - Security

Although throughput loss with WEP enabled should be a thing of the past since all latest-generation wireless chipsets have hardware encryption co-processors, I still test for it because I still find throughput loss! Figure 14 shows a composite plot comparing Location 1 (best case) throughput for no encryption, WEP 128, and WPA-PSK modes.

Figure 14:11g security mode throughput comparison
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

Although it's tough to call, there appears to be a 5-7% reduction in average throughput when WEP or WPA-PSK / TKIP is enabled for either the 11b/g radio. I ran the same tests with 11a Turbo mode enabled (not shown) and got similar results. Either way, this slight reduction is a small price to pay for WPA's improved security - once NETGEAR finally releases it.

The real good news, however, is that when NETGEAR sent me the soon-to-be-released WPA-enabled driver for the WAG511 card, I found they'd integrated a WPA-supplicant into the client utility! Although it now takes up more screen space when you open it up, there are a number of feature enhancements in addition to the WPA supplicant. The supplicant, by the way, includes support for EAP-TLS and EAP-PEAP, 802.1x, and Cisco-LEAP authentication in addition to WPA and WPA-PSK. You can also use WPA and 802.1x certificates. See Figures 15 and 16 for the screen shots (click on either one for a larger view)

Figure 15: WAG511 client utility Figure 16: WAG511 client security
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