41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2006
I've used two SX41s for over three years on DSL and they are rock solid providing that I don't violate the cardinal rules of operation. The VPN tunnels are easy to set up if you follow the guidelines. First of all you must use a stable firmware. 1.45.7 is the most stable. The latest 1.52.9 is okay, but not as stable. Also you must NEVER set any of the Web Filters to deny or you will have reboots. Generally it is as simple as that.
There are also rules for flashing that must be observed. It doesn't matter whether you use a ver 1 firmware on a ver 2 router or visa versa. Thinking there is a difference is nonsense. What DOES matter is that the router MUST be reset to factory defaults (30 secs on the reset button will do this) before a flash or you risk bricking the router. When flashing with the Web page flashing tool, use IE or you will risk bricking the router. Use the TFTP utility for the SX41 obtainable from Linksys if you wish to use a Mozilla-based browser to flash. After you flash, you should reset once again to factory defaults. There are residual register settings carried over from the previous firmware versions that can cause reboots and other malfunctions.
Even the best flashing procedures can fail, but there are procedures for recovering from a bad flash at DSLReports.com. The recovery rate is probably better than 90% using those techniques. Guidelines for setting tunnels up are also posted there as well as access to the 1.45.7 stable firmware.
Successful operation of the SX41 requires modest intelligence, some networking experience, and following the operating rules. Linksys support hasn't a clue as to what those rules are so don't even bother with them unless you are trying for an RMA for a defective unit. Basically the router has gotten a bad rap from people who don't know how to operate it. Unfortunately they can't learn how to do that from the minimalist manual or from the so-called tech support personnel. Ask for operation help in the Linksys forum on the above mentioned web site if you are struggling with this router.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2003
I bought this in July 2003 just for the firewall capability. The install wizard wouldn't run properly on my machine (WIN ME), so I just followed the setup directions. They are very simple. I left my Mcafee Firewall Plus software running. After a week, I found certain port probes are passing through Linksys and then being caught by Mcafee!
The firmware in my router is 1.44.3 dated 12/24/02. There is no upgrade available on the Linksys website. Linksys customer suport sent me a Beta release of firmware 1.44.7. It installed easily and seems to have fixed the problem.
Reviews say this is the best consumer firewall router on the market. It may be, but don't turn off your software firewall. A copy of Norton internet security products comes with the router. Free updates for virus checking and firewall rules are included for 60 days. After that an annual license must be purchased to stay current. The programs are single use only licenses.
A very useful program to read the firewall log is WallWatcher. It is freeware, source included. WallWatcher runs as a SNMP server and collects events from the router as they happen. Linksys does not include a similar program with the box, but they do have a download available. I didn't try it.
If you play Internet games, you may need to adjust the MTU setting or performance may suffer. Download the documentation from the Linksys site. This is an easy change to make.
Amazon does have the best price for this product. Locally I found it for $$$$$. The router ships with a patch cable, so you don't need to buy anything else.
This is a very good product for SOHO with minimal requirements. For a business, I'd keep looking.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2004
Buyer Beware - I have been using for the BEFSX41 for over six months now. Initially everything was great, easy setup, tests from GRC showed everything looks good. Then it started auto-booting. To say the least it is very annoying waiting for it to come back in middle of web browsing. Testing hasn't produced a consistent pattern. Contacted technical support - their solution is to revert to older firmware version. Old firmware version has known exploitable vulnerabilities, but tried anyway (they are tech support right) which reduced frequency of problem, but has not truly corrected the problem. I then went searching for answers - I'm not the only one seeing this and other problems. Check out [...] Do search on BEFSX41 and read up on their forum. I'm sorry, but I haven't started buying competitive brands to do comparisons so I can't recommend a better alternative. Personally though I'm working on building a Linux based firewall. I know that is not a solution for most people, but illustrates my frustration with Linksys and their parent Cisco in this product and it's support.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2005
I've hooked up about 8 of these units for various clients over the past two years. They _were_ great for creating cheap and user friendly tunnels to Netgear FVS318 VPN end-points and other BEFSX41 VPN end-points. Since Cisco took over Linksys, it seems like they've seriously downgraded to components while increase the firmware tasks. I've attempted to install about 3 Cisco co-branded BEFSX41's with limited success. Two clients required PPPoE for their DSL and neither could use their BEFSX41's to connect - trying various firmwares and power-cycling all components provided no help. I ended up returning the units to the retailer and replaced them with more expensive Netgear FVS318's. The third failed BEFSX41 wasn't using the VPN or PPPoE features and it started loosing about 30% of the packets sent to the WAN interface (measured with Net Chariot software). Eventually the 3rd unit would start flashing error lights and reboot frequently. I tried several firmware versions for the BEFSX41, finally restoring the original firmware. After a couple of days we could no longer even connect to the admin page, much less use the device as a router or even a switch!! Have fun calling Linksys tech support in India! All they can tell you to do is power-cycle your unit, restore the firmware settings to factory defaults, and flash your firmware - save yourself 2 hours on the phone and avoid calling. You'll be lucky if you can even understand what the Linksys tech support is saying - they definitely won't understand anything that isn't on their "tech support walk-through software". I'd rather deal with automated tech support than call Linksys drones - Linksys tech support receives a big fat "F"! Fast food workers are more technically proficient - in fact, that is where Linksys tech support would be working if they lived on this side of the pond. (<--Note: I'm not claiming I could support anyone in another language other than English - I just know enough to not even try). Hopefully Linksys/Cisco will realize if they want loyal cusomters they will eat a little of their bottom line and provide half-decent products and support!!
Okay, 'nuff said - I'd highly recommend you spend two or three times as much and get something better!!!!!!!!
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2004
I'm a "techie" guy. I'm not a professional but I know plenty about computers. I configured the advanced rules on my software firewall myself, I've built computers using other people's instructions and parts lists, and I've programmed in C++ for fun.
However I had never really done any local area type networking. I knew it was something I could do but just hadn't tried, partly because I was kind of intimidated.
It was time for me to get over it though. I wanted a hardware firewall with "Stateful Packet Inspection" for my home system because I just switched to a Vonage phone and I now have to leave my cable modem on 24 / 7 or the 'net phone won't ring. Knowing that this would mean my computer would be more exposed than I was comfortable with, I decided to pick up one of these routers to put the PC behind, and also to permit me to try building a small home network for fun.
So I ordered one of these bad boys. So what did I learn installing this thing? Hardly anything. Why? Becuase the included CD does the whole thing for you! I really couldn't believe it. You pop in the CD, and it examines your net connection. Then it tells you to plug in the router. Presto, you're networked. Repeat for all computers you want hooked up to the net and you're done.
Now - why have so many people had trouble with this thing? Well, I managed to break (and then fix) this thing in about 10 minutes just "fiddling" with the settings. Since I know nothing about LAN type setups, I started experimenting with the router's settings. Cluelessly, I changed the IP address of the router to the internal IP address assigned to my computer by the router. Ah, this screwed everything up instantly. Having done this I could no longer pull up the configuration utility in the router. So I had to unplug all the wires and hold down the "reset" button for 30 seconds to restore the factory settings, then reinstall.
In short: LinkSys may have made networking seem deceptively simple, but that doesn't mean that a n00b can't break the thing. I broke it without hardly trying, and as I said, I'm no n00b.
Once I stopped breaking the thing with my curious-george type antics, there were no problems, no conflicts, not the slightest bit of a stutter. For the more tech inclined: I left Sygate on my system. You know all the "noise" traffic (ie ICMP) that hits your software firewall if you're hooked up directly to the net? Every drop of it is gone, of course, because the hardware firewall is deflecting it and discarding it if it's not relevant.
Tech specs: I'm using a Win 2K machine, p4 1.5 with 640ram, with a Motorola Surfboard cable modem and a 3Com Ethernet card.
So if a friend called me and said: "I need a firewall router, but I don't have anyone to install it for me. Is there a 'For Dummies' book I can get?" I'd tell them to forget the books and just buy this router.
If a techie oriented friend called me and said "You got a favorite firewall?" I'd say this one - with one caveat. The included firewall, while seemingly sturdy, is very limited in it's configurability, especially when compared to Sygate. (Possibly an unfair comparison - I don't know.) For example it only allows the forwarding and blocking of UDP and TCP traffic. I would have liked a firewall that let me work with ICMP too - the firewall seemingly just "deflects" all ICMP.
Regardless: If you'd like a router and improved PC security, I'd highly recommend this thing. You don't need to know a single thing about networking to both improve your computer security ten fold and get up to 4 PC's hooked up online.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2003
So far so good after over a week. The BEFSX41 practically installed itself. Just plugged it in between my computer and the cable modem, and it went to work. Using the "start here dummy" method, I tried to use the setup program on the included CD. Eventually, the process balked and gave me an alert box that said it couldn't configure my system, call the support hotline. I unplugged everything, pressed the reset button on the router, and tried it again. Same result. Then I had a bright idea: Bypass the dummies method, and just use my browser to connect with the interface console embedded in the router. I found that the machine was already configured properly and was working fine. I entered a new password (no dummy!), and that was it. I turned on the router's logging feature, to see what traffic was being passed. I happened to already have a copy of Norton Firewall installed (a trial version comes in the box with the BEFSX41), and with it I could keep watch on what was getting through the router. Nada. Tight as a drum. After a few hours I noticed my email client wasn't getting through to my ISP's mailserver, so I had to make a little tweak in the firewall. Other than that, the router has been perfectly transparent to my online applications. I ran a port scan at Hackerwacker.com, and my system came up absolutely clean.
Easy as pie to install. Works flawlessly. Money well spent!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2003
I bought this router/switch based on PC Magazine's editor's choice rating in the Nov. 19, 2002 issue. Wanted to move my Linksys "network-in-a-box" home network (3 computers, 2 print servers) to high-speed cable, but wanted the extra security provided by the firewall in this router. First, I upgraded to cable access on one of my computers by disconnecting it from the old network and connecting it to the new cable modem. After I got that setup working, I setup the router as directed. I used Linksys' automated setup. It copied over the Internet connection settings from the cable modem/service into the router setup. Bang, it worked. High speed access through the router. I used that access to download the most recent firmware for the router and installed that without a hitch. I then set up the other two computers as the directions dictated in just a few minutes, making sure to use the rounter to automatically assign IP address (it is a DHCP server, too). It all worked. No problems. Amazing. I use three of the four 10/100 ports on the router/switch for the computers and the fourth to attach to the Linksys 5-port switch I had left over from the old network. Through that I connect to Linksys and HP print servers to get to HP LaserJet and OfficeJet (duplex printer/fax/scanner/copier) printers. I just plugged this stuff in, followed the set up directions and it worked. I have had very good luck with Linksys equipment. My only complaint is that it would have been nice to have an eight-port rather than a 4-port 10/100 switch with all the other features of this device. A very minor complaint.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2006
... and unfortunately the firmware sucks! Google "BEFSX41 firmware upgrade problems" and see what you get. I had mine running a stable (but vulnerable) firmware and decided to download the latest firmware from Linksys' site to close the security hole. Unfortunately it wasn't until numerous problems began (router reboots, disconnects, no internet connection) that I checked for firmware issues and found problems via Google. There are NO WARNINGS on that Linksys download site. They are essentially providing software to BREAK your product! It got so bad, I couldn't connect to the internet anymore. I had to go to work to download an older firmware (unfortunately Linksys DOES NOT provide these!) from dslreports. They fixed most of my problems, but there is a list of bugs that still have not been fixed. Fortunately, I don't use the features that trigger those bugs. I'm providing the link so that someone who has purchased it can upgrade their firmware at THEIR DISCRETION! Otherwise, I would say do not buy this product! It's unnecessary headaches when other routers will work just as well. (Though I hear D-Link products also have problems)
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2002
I'd agree with others that the router offers fast setup, etc - but this is not exactly unique among SOHO routers these days.
My problems are with stability. On a regular basis the router loses it's programming. Web interface to the router becomes garbled and it appears that the machine is scrambling its memory (IP addresses in date fields, etc). Within a few minutes - it's out for the count.
Firmware flashes and all don't seem to solve it - and don't bother going to the website for support - it's slim at best and you'd think no one ever had an issue.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2006
A hardware firewall is very useful when you have an always-on internet connection because a blocks many categories of incoming attacks from even seeing your computer.
I had the BEFSX41 for several years and it worked great, so when I needed one for a new network connection, I ordered the newer model, BEFSX41 v. 2. After connecting it my internet connection became highly erratic -- some sites did not load at all, email downloaded very slowly, etc. A firmware upgrade to the 1/11/2006 firmware fixed this problem, and now it is working well again. The firmware upgrade is available from the Linksys web site, but it is disappointing that it worked so poorly out of the box.
Also, the firmware upgrade process is flawed. When you try to upgrade via the browser interface, it seems to work, if you check the version using the browser interface, you still have the old version. To really upgrade, you have to use the upgrade utility that is available on the same support page of the Linksys web site.
Yet another pitfall to watch for is the product version. There is a v.1 and a v.2 of this device, and if you use the v.2 firmware with a v.1 box (as I did), you end up with a paperweight.