Nowadays you can buy (DSL) Routers from Netgear, D-Link, Linksys and others at the supermarket. But what features do really count in a business environment? Here are my top list of features, which you can not read on the fancy cool looking packing at the supermarket.

Note: This list of features is nothing special for real business routers with a much higher pricetag. This is a list for consumer products that may be used in a small office.

1. VPN capability

Router can act as a VPN Endpoint for IPSec/L2TP/PPTP? Got a “Basic Interop” Cert (VPNC)? This information is somewhat easy to find. But better hidden and often crippled are the “VPN Pass Through” features. There are often limitations on which types of VPNs are supported and HOW MANY concurrent connections are possible. There are routers on the market that do not support more than one PPTP VPN connection! Others support up to 100 or 200 concurrent connections but only with one VPN endpoint or of the same VPN type (IPSec, PPTP or PPTP). (e.g. AVM Fritzbox, some Netgear Routers)
2. Logging features

Syslog and sometimes SNNP Support is available. But the format and usefullness of the logs vary a lot. What can be logged, what format is the output? (e.g. for easy database import) (Netgear, AVM, D-Link)
3. QoS and Traffic Shaping

these features are important for traffic like VoIP and VPN traffic. This traffic needs higher priorities to be usefull on a loaded system. there are IEEE Standards like 802.11p or 802.11q for this (also some vendor specific solutions).

4. Firewalling

often a basic firewall ist required. This belongs only to OUTGOING traffic, almost every router blocks all incoming connections by default. A typicall installation would allow a “block all” rule and a white list of specific services allowed (port based). This “block all & whitelist” is not possible on every router! (e.g. WPNT834)