Xincom XC-DPG603: Easy routing for SMBs

This is the top of the three-member DPG family from Xincom, but Xincom's other products are also multi-WAN units. Its top end X16-R supports up to eight broadband connections, and its ParaLynx 70G includes wireless support.

Supersize your WAN

Another unit with straightforward ports, the XC-DPG603 has four 10/100 Ethernet ports and two WAN ports. All the ports are in the back with status lights in the front, and ears are included if you want to rack mount the 9.5 x 5.5 inch blue metal box.

The max throughput is "over 50Mbps" according to Xincom, and the unit supports 30 IPSec VPN tunnels. Officially rated the slowest in throughput of the group tested, the practical speed results during out tests were about in the middle of the pack, depending on which load balancing method was used.

Installation and configuration

Included with the DPG603 are two Ethernet patch cables, a manual on CD, and a quick start guide printed on old fashioned paper. Connecting a broadband link to WAN1 brings up the admin login screen, followed by the screen to set a password. The administration screen's top menu item on the left is Basic Configuration, and everything you need to set is right there. A question mark icon pops up context sensitive screens that are hosted on the router, so you can get help if you have trouble getting the unit connected to the Internet, a nice touch.

The WAN connection supports Dynamic and Static IP addresses, PPPoE, and PPTP. Our connection established automatically, and we moved to the LAN and DHCP settings, both handily on the same page.

We changed the 192.168.1.x default LAN address range with 10.0.1.x, added the DHCP range for client computers, and submitted the changes. After rebooting our admin PC to get the new IP address, we had Internet access and properly configured clients.

Adding the second WAN was just as easy. The Interface page showing Primary Setup is a drop down, and selecting WAN2 was as simple as point and click, The same WAN connection options held for our second WAN, and we were connected to both WANs quickly.

The next choice on the left-hand menu, Advanced Port, offered Load Balancing as the second item. Four load balancing methods are provided: Bytes, Packets, Sessions Established and IP Addresses. That same screen shows overall statistics, listing the load share between WAN1 and WAN2 and the total bytes transmitted and received across both.

Operation

The admin page shows System Status with one of the better information summations of any of the tested routers. The first group shows which WAN lines are connected, and a Forced Renew button for each to release then reconnect via DHCP. The IP addresses for both WAN ports appear next, along with DNS information, followed by similar information for the LAN segments. Device information and uptime statistics fill the rest of the page.

The next menu item is WAN Status, and that displays overall WAN statistics over the previous hour. Total bytes, packets and average bandwidth displays give more information than the other units, all gathered in one convenient screen. It handily shows the traffic percentage between the two WAN connections for each type of traffic statistic.

We found that using packets as the load balancing method rather than bytes delivered slightly better speeds, but caused our Vonage phone some connection grief. WAN2, the Time Warner Cable link, tended to be more popular and carry more traffic, a trend that occurred in most of the other units.

The easy installation, clean menu and common sense information displays on the admin utility make this the most small business friendly unit. Those looking for ways to set complicated firewall rules will be disappointed, since the DPG603 focuses far more on dual-WAN routing than on firewall and security.

Other LAN management tools, such as Quality of Service, are available. You can manage the unit remotely from stations within a specified IP address range, for instance, and SNMP is supported.

More for small and midsize businesses looking for a dual-WAN router than a company looking for complex security configurations, the DPG603 works invisibly after configuration. Any power user can install and maintain this unit with ease.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

This story, "Xincom XC-DPG603: Easy routing for SMBs" was originally published by NetworkWorld.

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