A picture is worth a thousand
words, so we'll spare you the novel here. This is
the network topology that you can expect with this setup.
It is a fairly
simple configuration really. The Gateway sits
between the broadband modem and various systems on the
router of the Gateway unit then assigns IPs to each system
on the network through NAT (network address translation)
protocol. As a result the broadband connection only
sees one MAC address and IP for the entire network.
The unit also has a built in simple firewall and this
certainly helps with security. In addition, the
Gateway, as well as the various Actiontec NICs we tested,
all support up to 128bit WEP (wired equivalent privacy)
encryption. So it is safe to say hackers won't have
much fun with you.
HotHardware Test System
Power on demand
Test Machine #1
Intel Pentium 4 2GHz.
256MB of Samsung PC800
nVidia GeForce3 AGP
IBM DTLA307030 30Gig
ATA100 7200 RPM Hard Drive
Windows 2000 Pro SP2
Actiontec Wireless Gateway
Intel 10/100 PCI NIC Card
So, with our
hardware configured, we set out to get up and running.
The internal network was live in literally 5 minutes.
It was as easy as plugging in the USB NIC on the client
and a CAT5 cable from the Intel NIC on the main machine,
to a port in the Gateway's Hub. We only then had to
load drivers for the USB NIC on the client machine.
Here are a few shots of the drivers for the Wireless USB
USB NIC Drivers
machine was on the second floor and the host machine was
one level down. Even through walls and about 50-65
feet away, the link connection was strong.
As we noted
earlier, the Gateway's software is resident in the unit it
self. You just type in the address 192.168.0.1, in
your web browser, and you are then presented with various
We chose to
take snapshots of the "advanced setup" screens, just so
you can see how configurable everything is. The
"basic setup" routine is a piece of cake. Again,
this is without even opening a CD jewel case for drivers.
That in and of itself was certainly impressive to us.
However, we have to admit there was a small hitch.
The manual and installation screens were a little vague
with respect to what type of information your ISP will
need in order to get your new Gateway up on their network.
We somehow skipped a critical step in the setup process
and couldn't get the broadband connection setup on the
Actiontec's Tech Support and frankly, they were a little
inexperienced with their new product and troubleshooting
it. We jumped through hoops for about an hour or so,
including flashing older firmware to the unit, and
finally the Tech we dealt with gave up. We still
weren't on the net and it was getting rather frustrating.
In a last ditch effort we called our ISP one more time to
see if we missed something they needed on their end.
The AT&T Tech we dealt asked us if we had "provisioned the
Gateway's MAC address in their database" yet. Light
dawned on marble head. As soon as we gave the AT&T
tech the Gateway's MAC address, he loaded into their
database and we were instantly connected with Cable Data.
Now, if you
ask us, this should have been one of the very first
questions the Actiontec Tech should have asked us, "does
your ISP require you to provision a MAC address for any
device on their network"? This one question would
have saved a boat load of heartburn. We don't want
to lay it on to heavy for the Tech's at Actiontec however.
We were able to get in touch with a live person 24/7 and
they were very eager to help. Obviously, they
weren't up to speed with their new product just yet
So then, the network is up
and the broadband connection is live. Let's look at
some basic performance figures.