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I mentioned that the unit features a switch. What does a switch do? In a normal network traffic is moved across every computer in the network until that data finds the right computer. This causes a tremendous amount of unnecesary traffic as well as increasing the likelihood of lost data. A switch will send data only to the computer it is meant for. Depending on the size of the network this can really make for a big boost in performance due to the freed up congestion. I highly recommend a switch for any network that is approaching four computers. That will cover almost every small office network that I can think of.

If you are going to install a switched hub why not include the firewall of the BroadGuard? None of us wants to be the victim of a deliberate attack, but imagine what could happen if some of your data was stolen? A lot of people have social security numbers and credit card information on their computers so it shouldn't surprise someone that a hacker would try to access their data.

I've discussed the other two routers that I reviewed previously. Both share my editor's choice award. The SOHOware BroadGuard also allows up to 253 users, has a four-port 10/100 switch, and is packed with a firewall to protect you from prying hackers. Throw in the great design and the outstanding manual and you'll see why I was so happy to work with this router. It is priced within $10 of the Netgear router.

So there you have it. The first ever three-way tie for the editor's choice award.

Victor Oshiro 21 February, 2001



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