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ZyXEL VFG6005 Gigabit VPN Firewall Gateway Reviewed

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Introduction

Gigabit VPN Firewall Gateway
At a glance
ProductZyXEL VFG6005 Gigabit VPN Firewall Gateway   [Website]
SummaryInexpensive, Gigabit port PPTP / IPsec router with 3G failover
Pros• 3G WAN support
• High routing and VPN bandwidth
• Up and downlink bandwidth control
Cons• No IPv6
• No L2TP
• Poor documentation

Typical Price: $90  Compare Prices  Check Amazon

The ZyXEL VFG6005 was introduced by ZyXEL last year. But since I recently reviewed TRENDnet's TW100-BRV214—another inexpensive 4 port VPN router—I figured the VFG6005 would make for a good alternative review. As we'll see, however, the VFG has some key advantages.

Take a look at the diagram from ZyXEL in Figure 1, showing key features and use models. As with the TW100, the VFG is a wired-only router. ZyXEL also offers the VFG6005N, which adds an 802.11bgn access point.

VFG6005 use overview

Figure 1: VFG6005 use overview

Two key differences between the VFG and TW100 are immediately apparent.. First, the VFG has Gigabit LAN (4) and WAN (1) ports vs. the TW100's 10/100 ports. (Note, the LAN ports on the VFG are limited to an MTU size of 1500 bytes, thus jumbo frames are not supported.) Second, the VFG has a USB port that supports 3G wireless dongles, making it a dual WAN router.

With that said to whet your appetite, let's first cover the basics. The VFG's black plastic case measures 6.2" X 4.2" X by 1". It has a red front panel with indicator lights on the top, near the front edge of the device. You can see the indicator lights in the picture at the beginning of this article. The front is displayed below.

VFG6005 front

Figure 2: Front view

The WAN, USB WWAN and LAN ports on the back, as well as the power connector. There is no on/off button or switch on the VFG. The VFG has an external power brick at the end of the power cable, is passively cooled and runs silent.

VFG6005 rear

Figure 3: Rear view

Inside

Under the covers is the mainboard, housing a MIPS24K CPU clocked at 384 MHz with 16 MB of flash, 64 MB of SDRAM and an Atheros AR8316 Gigabit switch. As Figure 4 shows, both CPU and switch have ceramic heat spreaders attached.

VFG6005 board

Figure 4: VFG6005 board

Configuration

I found the menus straightforward and responsive. The menu bar (Figure 5) is available on the top right in all configuration screens, making it easy to navigate from one option to another. On the other hand, the manual is a bit sparse, lacking clear explanation and examples on configuration options.

VFG6005 menu bar

Figure 5: VFG6005 menu bar

Each menu item has two to eight submenus. I've laid out the configuration options in Figure 6.

VFG6005 admin menu summary

Figure 6: VFG6005 admin menu summary

Missing from the configuration options is support for IPv6. As I mentioned in my review of the TW100, we in the U.S. may not need IPv6 in our small networks today, but it will likely be needed in the next couple of years.

There are two wizards, one for basic setup, the other for VPN setup. The basic setup wizard simplifies configuration of the admin password, WAN and WWAN, and time settings. With that said, let's dive into the VFG, starting with VPN capability.




Related Items:

ZyXEL Shipping Small Business VPN Router Duo
Pretty Cheap VPN: TRENDnet TW100-BRV214 4-Port VPN Router
Cisco RV180 VPN Router Reviewed
TP-LINK TL-ER6020 SafeStream Gigabit Dual-WAN VPN Router Reviewed
TP-LINK TL-R600VPN SafeStream Gigabit Broadband VPN Router Reviewed

User reviews

Average user rating from: 3 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

User Rating    [Back to Top]
Overall: 
 
3.1 Features :
 
3.3 Performance :
 
3.3 Reliability :
 
2.7
 
Ratings (the higher the better)
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Performance*
 
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Comments*
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Stable like a rock

Overall rating: 
 
5.0
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by Branch office
February 15, 2014
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Objective was low traffic IPSec tunnel between two offices that are many miles apart. I needed a dependable product and my ZyXel experience has been good. Two VFG6005's were set up 8 months ago and I have just forgotten about them--they keep humming along. I have been setting up small business routers for 15 years but I still had one or two questions for tech support and their phone response was great. For a home user the GUI interface is more complex than some. Yes, you can get tripped up if you start fooling around with more complex settings. But, all routers can be a mine field if you are inexperienced. This is a world better to work with compared to your enterprise Ciscos,Adtrans, etc.

 

This one is weak- keep looking

Overall rating: 
 
1.7
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
2.0
Reliability:
 
2.0
Reviewed by cyberzeus
April 25, 2013
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After striking out with Cisco's RV180 (see my review there), my search for a solid layer-3 border device continued. My needs are pretty basic: Layer-3 device with solid pps and bps performance (i.e. WAN-->LAN @ >= 600Mbps and\or 50k pps; LAN-->WAN @ 100Mbps and\or 8k pps), awesome logging (including user login attempts), and basic firewall\security functions. As I mentioned, this is slated to be a border device with two main jobs: 1) Act as the front door for the bad guys to bang on but let the good folks through; 2) Distribute traffic to my 3+ WAPs as required (i.e. rather than daisy-chaining WAPs - BAD IDEA).

Based on basic discussions with some folks at Fry's (don't say it) and the official review here, I decided to try the VFG6005 - MISTAKE - at least for my purposes. The unit feels really cheap and the GUI is seriously underwhelming. I will admit that being a network engineer by profession, I do like lots of knobs and such but still, this one is pretty dumbed down.

In addition to the cheap feel and disappointing GUI, the issues I have are mainly logging and security features. Logging is completely anemic and what little is logged in nearly useless because it doesn't really tell you that much. The security is just anemic.

I am sure this bugger has decent throughput but given what I saw in the GUI (I always check that first to save time in the network), it didn't even make it to passing a single packet in my network.

PS: When I purchased the Zyxel, I also picked up D-Link's DIR-836L which so far seems to be a rock-star. I will submit a review for that one once I've made up my mind.

 

Dead-end product, don't bother.

Overall rating: 
 
2.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by TheRouterDude
January 27, 2013
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Feature-wise on paper, looks great for the price.

-VERY buggy code with no updates since 8/2012.
-IPSEC VPN wizard useless in latest code, needs to be setup manually.
-PPTP VPN is only for remote client, NOT site-to-site.
-The couple of logs that work are truncated after one page.
-You can tell Zyxel does not care about this product, nothing in the knowledgebase or forums,
-When we tried to host 5 IPSEC VPN site-to-site tunnels on one unit, the VPN and GUI functionality crashes after 3-4 days and the router needs to be rebooted, consider putting it on a stupid outlet timer to have it powered off nightly..... ;-)
-And finally, not supported by DD-WRT which would have been a great way to get rid of the crappy and buggy code.

BTW, this is NOT a true Zyxel product, it's simply some weird one-of product they OEMed from tiny Abocom in Taiwan, likely their neighbor......

Needless to day, we are not recommending these to any of our customers, dead-end product that we expect will disappear from Zyxel soon, if not already.