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LAN & WAN Reviews

Introduction

Linksys RV042

At a Glance
Product Linksys 10/100 4-Port VPN Router (RV042)
Summary Multi-featured dual-WAN VPN router supporting 30 IPsec tunnels
Pros • Dual WAN ports
• 30 VPN Tunnels, good throughput
• Support for IPSec and PPTP Tunnels
• XP and Vista supported
Cons • WAN Fallback/PPPoE stability
• No Gigabit LAN support
• Inconsistency in documentation on VPN Tunnel quantities

The RV042 is the entry-level member of Linksys' line of wired business-class VPN routers. Linksys has three models in this lineup: the RV042, RV082, and RV016. All three are VPN and Dual WAN capable routers, with the main differences being the number of available LAN/WAN ports and VPN tunnels.

The RV042 has four 100 Mbps LAN ports and two 100 Mbps WAN ports on the rear of the unit. We reviewed the RV082 here in 2004, with its eight 100 Mbps LAN ports and two 100 Mbps WAN ports, all on the front of the unit. The largest model in this lineup is the RV016, with a total of 16 physical ports in front. The RV016 is interesting in that two ports are WAN, one is a DMZ, and of the remaining 13, eight are LAN, while five are configurable as WAN or LAN ports.

Front Panel

Figure 1: Front panel of the RV042

Rear Panel

Figure 2: Rear panel of the RV042

The RV042 has a somewhat unique shape: deeper than it is wide, measuring 5.1" across the front, 7.9" from front to back, and 1.5" high. The indicator lights are on the front, as well as both the Linksys and Cisco logos, reminding us of Cisco's 2003 acquisition of Linksys.

The specific RV042 I'm examining in this review has been in use in my network since February 2006. I have used it to successfully connect to multiple ISPs, establish site-to-site VPNs with multiple different brands of routers, establish remote client VPNs, leverage port forwarding, and provide security for my network, all successfully and reliably.

I've updated the firmware multiple times (currently at 1.3.8.2) and modified configurations countless times without hanging it or having to paper clip it. In short, I can report the RV042 is a stable and reliable device based on over 18 months of use.

With all this information available on our web pages, the goal of this review is to cover some new ground and highlight functionality not previously covered. For example, the firewall menus of the RV042 are the same as that of the RV082 as described in the 2004 review, so I won't repeat that discussion.

Check out the slideshow See the slide show for a look at the RV042 mainboard, a few configuration screens and some performance plots.

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