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Small Business Router

Posted on 2010-09-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Can anyone suggest a small business router brand and/or model that will fit the following criteria.  I'm having a heck of a time finding one that's simple to set up.  Simple is relative, so I'll explain what I've got, what I've attempted to use.

I support a small private elementary school.  They have a Comcast SMC 8014 business class router, that's set up with a 10.1.10.x network.  Altho that sounds like a Class A network, the subnet mask is Class C.  In addition, the DHCP scope is preset from .2-.199 - and is NOT expandable.  

Here's the kicker.  The router's admin GUI allows one to change all the parameters, and since I need approx 350 IPs, I figured I'd change the router's config to 172.16.0.0 and subnet it to 255.255.252.0 so I'd get more than what a Class C offers and limit it to the 1066 IPs that would be obtainable with that mask.  No going.  There's apparently a hidden configuration screen that tells me that I'm now overlapping some sort of preset VPN scope.  There's no way to access that VPN screen to disable it and get those elusive IPs I need.  Comcast says they don't expect anyone to make changes to their router anyway - altho they allow one in to the GUI to do so.  Silly, Comcast.

So, we tried a Cisco 871 small business router.  CDW was entirely ignorant (as was I) that it's 100% unconfigured, comes with exactly NO software or GUI (unless one purchases a Cisco contract), and absolutely requires a dedicated PC with an RS-232 port so that one can use the console cable to configure it.  We have no PC with an RS-232 port and are not going to purchase any contracts So, that's out.  

What I'm looking for is a simple business router, that can be configured with a couple of hundred IPs, preferably in that Class B range.  Quick.  Simple.  Just like a home router, but not Class C, since I need more than 254 IPs.  

So, can anyone suggest a router make/model that might fit the bill?  It can have VPN capability, I'll just not use it or I'll disable it for now.

Thanks!
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Question by:ChicagoPCDoc
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Expert Comment

by:uescomp
ID: 33640771
I have been using the Cisco Linksys RV042 for some of my clients.  It has dual WAN with failover, supports VPN tunnels and the configuration is all GUI based.  There are also 8 port and 16 port models if you need more than 4 ports.

Product page with more info:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9925/index.html
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Expert Comment

by:Matt V
ID: 33640802
Take a look at the Cisco small business line.
http://www.cisco.com/cisco/web/solutions/small_business/products/routers_switches/500_series_secure_routers/index.html
These resemble a Linksys for setup, but provide a more robust underlying implementation.
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Expert Comment

by:mccracky
ID: 33641091
Another option that we use is the Netgear FVS338.  Supports VPNs, high throughput, and has an 8port switch included.  Relatively simple to setup and just under $200.
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by:mccracky
ID: 33641110
Or, if you're more into a roll your own solution, you can setup a computer or embedded system with either pfsense or m0n0wall.
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Author Comment

by:ChicagoPCDoc
ID: 33641118
For those making suggestions, I need more than 254 IP addresses, thus the reason I'm going to need a Class B subnet.
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Expert Comment

by:mccracky
ID: 33641179
I'm working through that Netgear FVS338 right now on a /16 (netmask 255.255.0.0) network.
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Expert Comment

by:atlas_shuddered
ID: 33641658
How many users (both total and concurrent) are you looking to support with the router?
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Author Comment

by:ChicagoPCDoc
ID: 33641968
@A_S:  Looking to support approx 350 devices at any one given time with a very short lease - just 8 hours - so that the IPs can be put back into the pool as quickly as possible.  Mostly will be used for internal access to a file server.  

Thus, the need for a Class B subnet.
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Author Comment

by:ChicagoPCDoc
ID: 33641983
@McCracky:  With the GUI it's as easy to configure with a /16 as it is to configure a Class C?
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mccracky earned 500 total points
ID: 33642174
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Author Closing Comment

by:ChicagoPCDoc
ID: 33642289
You're the winner.  Thanks for providing make/model and a graphic.  You're the best.  
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