• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Siemens SpeedStream HomePlug router

Apr 10, 20033 mins

* Siemens offers a new way to connect your small or home office network; SpeedStream HomePlug router

There’s a new way to connect your small office network, and it’s called the SpeedStream HomePlug router. The SpeedStream 2524 is a four-port Ethernet router with 802.11b wireless and HomePlug power line support. (HomePlug is technology that lets you connect via the electrical system in your house.)

 This allows great flexibility, and lets you extend the network. Say you have a garage home office where wireless doesn’t reach; you can add a HomePlug adapter to your computer and plug into the network via a power line, or if you need mobility there, you can plug in a second wireless access point that will communicate with the first, extending the wireless network.

As with all HomePlug devices, you must plug the SpeedStream router directly into the wall socket, not into a power strip or battery backup. Overall, installation was straightforward. Making the power line connection was simple. Then with the box on the Internet, you configure the wireless connection via the browser-based administration pages. A quick start guide is included, and all documentation resides on a CD-ROM.

To “charge” the power line network, you must add a second HomePlug device, such as a Siemens SpeedStream 2501 Powerline USB or 2502 Powerline Ethernet adapter. Notably, these plug entirely into the wall socket, unlike the clunky first-generation boxes that connected to the PC on one side and to the wall socket on the other.

Wireless security for the Siemens 2524 is standard 64-bit and 128-bit Wired Equivalent Privacy and a configurable password for your network name or Service Set Identifier. You can allow only specific clients to connect wirelessly by predefining low-level Media Access Control addresses, and restrict Internet access to a subgroup of users, whether they connect via HomePlug or wireless.

For HomePlug security, Siemens offers a network password for each client. Encryption isn’t crucial as it is for wireless; should your neighbor have HomePlug equipment and somehow manage to plug into your network (from a backyard outlet maybe?), the password is enough to keep him out.

Overall, the Internet access controls are well done. You can set up groups and control their Internet access separately, so children can be restricted from certain defined services like ICQ, newsgroups and FTP. Unfortunately, the URL filtering tool doesn’t work with groups, which means blocking for kids means blocking it for everyone.

There’s a firewall to protect against denial-of-service attacks, but it’s overkill since these are rarely launched against home networks. Universal Plug and Play Services are enabled by default, and you can either specify IP addresses for each client or rely on the included DHCP server.

We’d like Siemens to include more information on its Web-based router Status page, such as number of users and throughput. Siemens offers more than its competitors, however; users enjoy a dashboard view of the network’s health, and vendors could oblige them easily.

Wireless speed, using a NetGear WAB501 Dual Band Wireless Adapter (802.11a/b) was impressive. File transfer throughput, even with 64-bit encryption turned on, regularly hit 5M bit/sec (based on the throughput dialog screen on the wireless client), which is close to the practical top end for 802.11b. Powerline speeds were comparable. For the full report, go to