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Cisco RV042G Dual Gigabit WAN VPN Router Reviewed

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Dual Gigabit WAN VPN Router
At a glance
ProductCisco RV042G Dual Gigabit WAN VPN Router   [Website]
SummaryPopular Cisco small-business VPN router now finally with Gigabit ports
Pros• All Gigabit ports
• Dual-stack IPv6 support
• Up and downlink priority and bandwidth QoS
• 50 IPsec tunnels
Cons• No L2TP support
• Mismatched uplink/downlink throughput
• Does not support subscription content filtering option

Typical Price: $166  Check NewEgg  Check Amazon

Introduction

Updated 8/8/12 - Added switch chip info

Doug Reid does most of SNB's VPN router reviews and he always dings products that don't include Gigabit Ethernet ports. So when he reviewed Cisco's last version of its go-to small business VPN router, the RV042 v3, that was among his few complaints.

Well, Doug and other Cisco RV042 fans can finally rejoice because Cisco quietly started shipping a Gigabit version last month, aptly named the RV042G Dual Gigabit WAN VPN Router. If you didn't look closely, you would mistake it for the 10/100 RV042. The only difference is the product name and number subtly screened on the top and front of its black plastic front panel bezel.

Otherwise, the RV042G is the same, measuring around 5" X 8" X 1.5" and with the same lights and ports shown below and power jack on the side. Cisco uses the same graphic for both the RV042 and RV042G in its manuals, so it's good enough for me.

RV042/RV042G front and rear panels

RV042/RV042G front and rear panels

There is still no cooling fan and there are still wall-mount screw slots on the bottom of its grey metal case.

Inside

The 042G's board is shown below, with the 042 v3 below it for comparison.

RV042G board

RV042G board
Updated 8/8/12 - Added switch chip info

The CPU and switch heatsinks are firmly attached, so I also need info from Cisco to identify the switch. Since a Broadcom BCM52612E 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet Transceiver is visible, I'm guessing there is a Broadcom 5 port Gigabit switch handling the other five ports, a BCM5387, perhaps? Cisco said it's a Broadcom BCM53125M.

  Cisco RV042G Cisco RV042 v3
CPU 300 MHz Cavium CN5010 300 MHz Cavium CN5010
Switch Broadcom BCM53125M + BCM54612E Realtek RTL8309G
RAM 128 MB 128 MB
Flash 32 MB 32 MB
PLD Lattice LCMX0256C Lattice LCMXO2-256
Table 1: RV042G / RV042 v3 component summary

Note that both RV042s have two Mira RAM chips; the other one is on the bottom of the board.

RV042 V3 board

RV042 V3 board

Features

The G's admin GUI provides access to the same feature set that Doug described in his v3 review. The v4.2.1.02 firmware dating from January 2012 has all the IPv6 features Doug described baked in.

Here's a rundown of the RV042G's features:

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, Transparent bridge WAN types
  • DHCP server with MAC address reservation and multiple subnets
  • VLAN support with multiple subnets (4 port-based, no 802.1q support)
  • Dual-WAN with failover and load balance modes
  • Many-to-one and one-to-one NAT modes
  • Built-in Dynamic DNS client ((DynDNS, 3322)
  • Static and dynamic routing
  • SPI firewall disable, multicast, WAN ping and IDENT filtering and Proxy, Java, ActiveX and Cooking blocking
  • Static port forwarding: 30 single ports or port ranges, no scheduling
  • Triggered port forwarding: 30 single ports or port ranges, no scheduling
  • 50 schedulable access rules each for IPv4 and IPv6
  • Schedulable domain and keyword website blocking
  • HTTPS admin access
  • Incoming, outgoing, system onscreen log access
  • Syslog support
  • Email alerts
  • Uplink and downlink QoS, priority and bandwidth limit modes
  • 50 IPsec site-to-site and 50 client-to-gateway tunnels
  • DES, 3DES, AES-128, AES-192, AES-256 encryption
  • MD5, SHA1 authentication
  • IPSec NAT-T supported for gateway-to-gateway and client-to-gateway tunnels
  • 5 PPTP tunnels

A few missing features deserve some highlighting so you don't miss them. Neither the static nor triggered port forwarding features let you specify source and destination ports and L2TP VPNs aren't supported. So you'll need to use either Cisco's free but often-frustrating QuickVPN utility or grab third-party VPN client software such as TheGreenBow instead of using Win 7's built-in VPN options.

I was surprised to find that the RV042G is the only RV0XX series router to not support Cisco's optional ProtectLink Web feature. So you'll need to make do with the domain and keyword blocking features.

Since the G has Gigabit ports, I've shown the port setup screen below. Note that you can force speed to 10 or 100 Mbps full or half duplex. But if you want Gigabit operation, you need to leave the Auto Negotiation box checked (the default). Note also that there are no jumbo frame controls. I didn't check for jumbo frame operation because they aren't really necessary any more with today's computer architectures and network adapters.

RV042G Port Setup

RV042G Port Setup

The Firefox admin GUI problems Doug pointed out in his review were fixed long ago and I had no problems accessing the admin interface with Firefox 14. Since Doug didn't provide a lot of admin screenshots in his review, I've put some of the key screens and commentary in the gallery below.




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