Review of the Intertex IX66+PF DSL
For December we tested Intertex's
IX66+PF DSL modem. The question coming into this review was, "the spec
cheet on this DSL modem is pretty loaded with all kinds of
features/gadgets/cool technology. Can is ite true that it can be a swiss
army knife of DSL modems??"
This Intertex modem is a very small
until, much smaller then the standard Alcatel, and Speedstream DSL modems.
Nice compact design, nothing flashy, nice small LED's that are ledgible on
the front. There is a nice LED screen as well, which is nice, shows the
security setting. The back of the unit is equally well laid out. Yes
there is a power button! The layout for the USB, 2 ethernet ports, analog
phone port and DSl rj11 phone line jack are nicely laid out as well.
Nice simple straight forward design, and well labelled (much better then
the netopia design). The whole line of Intertex DSL modems share the same
basic chasis/case, with the appropriate jacks punched out at the back.
Sorry I didn't take it apart like most of the othe modems I've tested...
(its not nice to send back a product to the manufacturer in parts) so I
can't give you the low down on what it looks like inside, but I suspect it
to be a nice compact design.
The instructions are pretty easy and
straight forward. Nice simple clean crisp instructino manual, well done.
Nothing fancy, just clear consise instructions. The Intertex Support Site is
pretty good, lots of useful informatino, drivers, manuals and a good
question and answer section. I especially like the "SIP" section, very
well done. Not many know about SIP so its nice to see a plain english
section describing SIP.
With easy to follow instructions this
should be an easy modem/router to configure right? Well it wasn't to hard
for me to configure, but for the average SOHO user or residential DSL
user, it would be difficult since there are things your ISP knows that you
as an end user wouldn't (VPI/VCI etc..). This little router can
essentially be taken anywhere in the world and it will work (except that
you need power adapters for certain countries). I was very impressed by
the number of alreayd preset options for different DSL providers, very
good job.. The one thing I would of liked to see would of been a little
"quick start" script that just prompts the user for information, and does
the configuration from there... That would be a good feature for the
residential market, although for the ISP market where you have highly
skilled network admins configuring routers for corporate DSL customers, it
really doesn't mean a lot.. Nice feature but not a neccesity. I'm quite
sure for a large ISP, Intertex could ship them routers with a stripped
down software version, essentially just what they need and no extra
settings for other ISP's.
As to performance, nice fast speeds, nice solid connections, and to top
it off my favorite feature, Line speed indicator! I love router companies
who include this option, it really shows a well designed, well engineered
product when you get features like this included. The Intertex, much like
the King of the Hill Cisco 827
doesn't just show the line speed, it also
shows the attentuation and all kinds of other information only an
electrical engineer would understand. With the security setting set to
high, I did notice ICQ and MSN messanger having an issue connecting, but
no big deal, you shouldn't be chatting on MSN or ICQ while at work eh??
Somewhat related, I wold not suggest changing the security settings on the
router while you have some telnet or SSH sessions open, I did that and
killed my sessions and had to reestablish the sessions, no big deal.
With many routers on the market you don't get much in terms of access
lists and logging but with the CIsco 827 and this Intertex router you get
some good debugging and logging, which is great! You can even export to a
syslog server, that amazed me, nicely engineered. Only one knock against
this router, I couldn't find an SNMP section which surprised me.. It's
either hidden or is set to some default.. I'm quite sure this router is
SNMPable, I might give tech support a call and see what they say and add
that into the review in a bit.
At the beginning of this review I asked if this can be a swiss army knife
of DSL modems... Well my answer to that question is no, this is not a
swiss army knife of modems, this is a full blown, fully capable router
with a DSL modem built in. What sets this apart from routers is not just
all the features and ease of use, but the overall well engineered design.
At roughly $399 (US dollars) this is much cheaper then the King of the
Hill Cisco 827 to which the Intertex is comparible and can actually hold
when compared head to head vs the Cisco 827. If this router was brought
to market 2 years ago with a bit of marketting this product would of
easily beat the likes of Netopia, Linksys, Netgear and SMC down in the
competitive DSL CPE world, and yes it could of challenged Cisco in the DSL
CPE market. Great well priced, well engineered little router, way to go!
Great performance!, built in security is a great feature. Power the unit
up and it automatically connects, unlike the Netopia which won't dial
until it sees traffic, this Intertex connects immediately.
Logging, access lists, and a good company supprt site, nice job.
Ease of Use/Configuration:
This router comes standard with templates for many many large (mostly
european ISP's), but it can be configured for any ISP on the planet with
the right information. This may not be the easiest thing for someone new
to setting up routers to do but nothing is ever easy the first time you do
Pretty good web based interface for configuring this router, not the best
web interface in class but a pretty good design, a couple of small tweaks
in making it more logical would be perfect.
This router will work anywhere on the planet with any ISP and any IP
network. USB and Ethernet connections make it even more versatile.
Do I have enough room in this section for features?? SIP (which I didn't
even hardly say a thing about), the muliple interfaces (USB, Ethernet),
seeing the line speed in the router, and all the usual, NAT, DHCP, DMZ
etc.. make this one feature packed loaded router.
I opened the box up thinking I was testing and reviewing a simple
DSL modem, boy was I wrong. This is no DSL modem, this is a full blown
router, and not a simple SOHO or residential router like a linksys, but
this router has shown it can run with the leaders in the DSL CPE router
Well designed, well built, well thought out product. Intertex did not
just do their homework and copy other routers in their market segment,
they went and built an exceptionally well priced, feature laden product.