D-Link SecureSpot DSD-150

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D-Link SecureSpot DSD-150
  • D-Link SecureSpot DSD-150
  • D-Link SecureSpot DSD-150
  • D-Link SecureSpot DSD-150

Pros

  • Blocks unwanted sites, pop-up windows and Web advertisements; comes with a 1-year McAfee anti-virus subscription for up to four users, has a spam filter that can be used for POP3 email programs, comprehensive security logs, can store and encrypt personal information

Cons

  • It's a little cumbersome to set up, its 'Parental' filters are too broad, it's not fully compatible with Windows Vista yet, Windows Live Messenger was unable to connect

Bottom Line

In the end, the SecureSpot was satisfactory at performing its intended duty, but it did require a bit of fiddling in order to provide us with a smooth Web browsing experience. However, if time is dedicated to set it up correctly, it's definitely a convenient way to secure small networks, especially in a small office, and prohibit access to Web sites that might be conducive to procrastination.

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Implementing a secure networking environment at the office or at home, should be a top priority. But it can be a chore too, having to constantly update separate anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as maintain a firewall and content filters, for each machine. D-Link's SecureSpot DSD-150 contains all of these services and more. It's a small device that acts as an intermediary between a modem and a router and it can shelter up to four connected computers (wired or wirelessly, it doesn't matter). However, it can be a little fiddly to set up.

It works by sending all Web site requests through the 'securespot.besecure.com' domain, which then blocks any sites that have been flagged as inappropriate for viewing by the administrator. Inappropriate sites are determined by the filters that have been enabled in the unit's 'Parental' section, which can be accessed via a Web interface. This section offers broad filter terms such as 'R rated', 'Undesirable content' and 'Criminal intent' to name a few, and any Web sites that fall within any of the marked criteria will be blocked by SecureSpot.

However, these filters can be bypassed if the user has an administrative password for the SecureSpot. Because of the broad nature of the 'Parental' filters, we had a little trouble getting Youtube videos to play; it was a matter of trial and error to find out which one was causing the blockage (it had nothing to do with 'streaming media') and each change required us to restart the device.

By default, the SecureSpot will block many popular Web sites such as Flickr and Facebook (which is perfect for offices that have champion procrastinators), and if users on the network don't have administrative access, they won't be able to get past these blocks. The unit's firewall settings can be used to restrict instant messaging clients, too. But this worked a little too well, as we couldn't get Windows Live Messenger to work at all during our tests, despite our efforts to unblock it. Messenger's own trouble-shooter told us everything was fine, and we even opened up many common ports that Messenger uses, without success. Bittorrent traffic is also blocked by default, but we were able to get around this by unblocking ports that were specific to our bittorrent client.

Unfortunately, the firewall settings and the 'Parental' settings are located in different sections on the Web interface, through a two-level menu structure, which makes it a bit of a chore to efficiently manage the SecureSpot. There are also sections for setting anti-spyware and pop-up blocking options. We'd like it if all the sections were a bit quicker to access, and not so segregated. The SecureSpot can also block Web advertisements and a spam filter can be enabled for POP3 email accounts. For the moment though, SecureSpot will only work on machines running Windows XP. We tried it on Vista and experienced very slow anti-virus scans and Web page loading.

In the end, the SecureSpot was satisfactory at performing its intended duty, but it did require a bit of fiddling in order to provide us with a smooth Web browsing experience. However, if time is dedicated to set it up correctly, it's definitely a convenient way to secure small networks, especially in a small office, and prohibit access to Web sites that might be conducive to procrastination.

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