Superfast broadband has just become available in our area so its a good time to upgrade my service and my router. Unfortunately in a rather timely manner we have been reminded of the dangers of the Internet as we have just experienced a rather nasty incident which has necessitated police involvement. The result is that I'm not only thinking about the technology, but also appropriate parental controls to protect younger family members.
I currently have a basic ADSL modem, a Cisco 877 router which acts as a firewall and VPN endpoint for work as well as a couple of D-Link 613's running DD-WRT acting as an APs and an extender-bridge.
No 1. shouldn't be too difficult to sort - in theory. I spent a while doing a bit of research and it would seem that a new router with VDSL2 support should do the trick. If I upgrade with my current ISP, I will automatically get an Openreach VDSL Modem to which I can connect my router via Ethernet cable. With BT (who appear to have a good deal at the moment) you get a HUB5 which does away with the need for an Openreach Modem as it has VDSL2 built in.
However, I am then told that ISP's like BT and Sky lock their routers and link down so that you cannot connect another router to the line. So, I need to understand exactly what they do and how it restricts me as it would seem that if I went with their package, buying another router would seem to be pointless as I would be stuck with whatever facilities they lock me in to.
No2. appears to be a more difficult challenge. For this to work, I would need to be able to apply parental controls only to specific devices, with a more relaxed policy for mysef and wife. Is seems that such a service would need to exist iat a central point on our home network so the router seems the obvious place. After a bit of research I find that most routers - even very expensive ones - have only very basic options that apply a single filtering policy to every device on the home network. But in fact, my ISP already does the same thing as does OPenDNS. Some routers (e.g. Linksys) have an offering that you need to subscribe to at considerable extra cost. Then I discovered that ASUS routers can apply filtering policies on a per device basis using the mac address which seemed ideal. I was then told by the PC World rep that they are unreliable and since the model I was looking for (Asus RT-AC87U) was not in stock, they sold me a Netgear router instead (Nighthawk X6) assuring me that it would do the same thing. While this router undeniably has excellent WiFi facilities, for parental control it uses OpenDNS which I could have subscribed to for free instead of paying £189 to buy a router, and whoch can pnly apply on filtering policy for the entrire household. What;'s more, you have to regularly update the dynamic IP address your BB provider assigns whoch seems to change every few days. What is even worse, is that this router reveals passwords in clear text on both the router and the Genie application as well as featuring a bypass option. I cannot have confidence that this is likely to be secure. so no thanks - its going back today.
I have also tried K9 and the Microsoft parental controls built in to Windows 7. K9 unacceptably slows down the PC. The Microsoft tool seems to have become very basic in nature. There used to be categories that you can select, but all you get now is an option to block 'unacceptable sites'. There seems to be no explanation as to what this actually means although there is also a blacklist option, but this would require me to list every site site I can think of, with the possibility that the ids would find others as a workaround.
Does anyone have experience of the ASUS routers and the parental control tool on them?