Netgear’s Brilliant New BR200 Is An Enterprise-Level Router Designed For Homeworkers

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We’re all working from home now and it has its challenges. Homeworking all poses challenges for IT

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departments who need to bring enterprise levels of security and performance to a domestic setting.

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Working from home has many advantages but homeworking has also created some serious security headaches and challenges for corporate IT departments. If you’re a homeworker and you’re handling highly confidential data from clients or third parties, then the average domestic wireless broadband router simply won’t be up to the job of communicating securely with your company’s corporate server and separating traffic from other network users in the house. The pandemic has forced many of us to work from home and that means IT departments need to bring enterprise performance and cybersecurity into the home of the employee.

Here kudos must go to Netgear for spotting a gap in the market and addressing it very quickly. The networking giant has wasted no time in developing an affordable router that’s packed with enterprise-level security features that you’d normally find on a corporate network. The new router – or the Insight Managed Business Router BR200 to give it its full name – even has a hardware VPN function using IPSec or OpenVPN to establish a direct link with a corporate network. With the Netgear BR200, homeworkers’ computers can appear on the corporate network just as if they were behind the corporate firewall in the company’s HQ.

The Netgear BR200 feels like a business router because it has an solid build and a nice bit of heft about it. The router is encased in metal case and painted white. At its rear, are four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a WAN port for connecting the BR200 to a VDSL/ADSL or cable modem. The BR200 can be connected to a combined router-modem as well. The power to drive the BR200 comes from a regular 12v power supply.

The new Netgear BR200 brings enterprise performance to homeworkers at a price that won’t scare the

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IT budget.

Netgear

At the front of the BR200 are a row of status LEDs. The first two on the left glow green and signal power and when there’s a connection to the Internet. Slightly further along are two blue LEDs which illuminate when there’s an active connection to Netgear’s Insight Cloud Portal. The second blue LED illuminates when there’s a secure VPN connection established. The VPN settings can be preconfigured before the router is sent out to the homeworker or else it can be done remotely using Insight or by the homeworker, if they have the skills. The remaining LEDs are green and show activity on the BR200’s four gigabit Ethernet ports.

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Because the BR200 includes no wireless function and has a firewall, it creates a secure network behind the homeworker’s domestic Internet connection. There’s even the facility to set up VLANs so the router can be sectioned into virtual networks which are secured from each other. Homeworkers may still need access to a wireless network so it’s possible to add a separate wireless access point to the BR200. A dedicated wireless access point can then live behind the BR200’s firewall using robust security such as WPA3 encryption. In essence, the Netgear BR200 places a ring of cyber steel around the homeworker’s corporate laptop, printer and any other peripherals that are needed for work.

One small point I want to raise here is the question of the router’s location. Most homes aren’t wired with an Ethernet set up so it will either be necessary to have the user’s home broadband router in the same room or it will need to be linked using something like a PowerLine adapter that can create an Ethernet network by using the domestic electrical wiring in the home.

Thanks to Netgear’s Insight Cloud Portal and the Netgear Insight smartphone app, the BR200 router

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can be customised and controlled remotely to ensure enterprise security and performance.

Netgear

The main innovation with this new router is that it can be completely managed remotely using Netgear’s Insight Remote Management Cloud Portal. This enables an IT department to monitor, adjust and control access to the router from anywhere in the world. For instance, if the homeworker announces they are moving to work for a competitor, the IT department could immediately block access or disable the VPN connection to protect the company’s intellectual property.

The router is easy to set up and can even be posted to the homeworker who can then unpack it and plug it into the power and connect to the home broadband via an Ethernet cable. The rest of the configuration can be carried out remotely by IT using the Insight Cloud Portal or the homeworker can access the BR200’s built-in web interface or by downloading Netgear’s Insight smartphone app.

The BR200 is specifically designed to enable businesses to protect their networks with a secure site-2-site VPN and firewall. Deploying the BR200 is easy and cost-effectively thanks to the Insight Cloud Portal. The BR200’s firewall, VLAN management, and remote cloud monitoring and management can be overseen from anywhere in the world.

At the rear of the BR200 router are four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a WAN port for connecting to a

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modem.

Netgear

I managed to register and set up the BR200 in about 15 minutes. I had to connect it to my home router modem and the BR200 immediately let me know that there was a conflict of IP addresses between the BR200 and my TP-Link router modem. The BR200 automatically changed its IP address to sort out the conflict. That’s what I call smart.

In no time at all, I had the router up and running in my home office. I was able to change the admin username and password but for corporate use that could be locked so that the homeworker wasn’t able to fiddle with the security settings. With the BR200 running, I had effectively sealed off my office computer and other devices like my all-in-one printer and scanner from the rest of the house. There’s even a QoS (Quality of Service) setting that can be adjusted so that, say, my Zoom calls got priority over other users in the home who might be taking bandwidth that I might need for an important business meeting.

Verdict: The Netgear Insight Managed Business Router BR200 is an affordable and advanced piece of equipment that makes sense for any large company that has a lot of homeworkers who need to be able to connect securely to the corporate network. I can’t fault this device in terms of its build quality and configurability. I’d love to see the BR200 with a VDSL modem and Wi-Fi 6 built-in with the same enterprise-level of features and security. If you’re a corporation with a distributed workforce or a large number of branch offices, the Netgear BR200 is a no-brainer. It has to be the best enterprise home router on the market.

Pricing and Availability: The Netgear Insight Managed Business Router BR200 is available now and costs US $139.99 / CDN $189.99 / €149.99 / £139.99.

More info: www.netgear.com

Tech Specs:

Gigabit Ports WAN/LAN: 1/4

DMZ Interfaces (Configurable): 1

LAN-to-WAN Throughput1: 924Mbps

Maximum Number of VLANs: 256

Firewall Functions: Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI), Port/Service Blocking, Denial-of-service (DoS) Prevention, Stealth Mode, Block TCP Flood, Block UDP Flood, WAN/LAN Ping Response Control

Content Filtering (HTTP Only): Web Keyword Blocking, Trusted Domains

VoIP SIP ALG: Yes

ISP Address Assignment: DHCP, Static IP Assignment, PPPoE, PPTP

NAT Modes: 1-1, NAT

Routing: Static, Dynamic, RIPv1, RIPv2

DHCP: DHCP Server (limit is 4), DHCP Relay, DNS Proxy

DDNS: NETGEAR, No-IP.com, Dyn.com

VLANs: 802.1Q

Essential Networking Features: Port Range Forwarding, Port Triggering, DNS proxy, MAC Address Cloning/ spoofing, NTP Support, UPnP, Auto Uplink on Switch Ports, L3 Quality of Service (QoS), LAN-to-WAN and WAN-to-LAN (ToS), Bandwidth Profiling

IPsec Encryption/Authentication: 56-bit DES, 168-bit 3DES, AES (128, 192, 256 bit)/SHA-1, MD5

Key Exchange: IKE, IKEv1, IKEv2, Manual Key, Pre-shared Key, PKI, X.509v3

Access Modes: Insight remote access

SSL Version Support: SSLv3, TLS1.0

SSL Encryption Support: DES, 3DES, ARC4, AES (ECB, CBC, XCBC, CNTR)128, 256 bit

SSL Message Integrity: MD5, SHA-1, MAC-MD5/SHA-1, HMAC-MD5/SHA-1

SSL Certificate Support: RSA, Diffie-Hellman, Self

L2TP Server: Yes

PPTP Server: Yes

Logging: Accepted Packets, Dropped Packets, System, Source MAC filter, Session Limit, Bandwidth Limit, IPsec VPN

Log Delivery: Insight logging

Diagnostics: Ping, DNS Lookup, Trace Route

Maintenance: Save/restore Configuration, Restore to Factory Defaults, Firmware Upgrades via Web Browser, Display Statistics

Processor: Dual-core 1.7GHz CPU with additional dual-core Network Switching Subsystem (NSS) processors

Flash Memory/RAM: 128MB/1GB

Power adapter: DC 12V/1.5A

Dimensions (W x D x H) cm: 31.4 x 18.75 x 4.365

Weight: 1.55kg

System Requirements : Cable or DSL Broadband Modem, Internet Service, Windows Client Device, Internet Explorer/Firefox/Chrome/Safari Web Browser

The Netgear BR200 can directly connect to a corporate network with OpenVPN or IPSecVPN protocols. It

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can make the homeworker’s computer appear on the corporate network as if it were in the same building. It’s ideal for branch offices too.

Netgear

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