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You are here: Security Security Reviews Cisco RV180 VPN Router Reviewed - VPN Features, VPN Performance

Cisco RV180 VPN Router Reviewed - VPN Features, VPN Performance

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VPN Features

The RV180 supports Remote and Site to Site VPN tunnels.  Remote tunnels are supported via PPTP and IPSec.  PPTP is not included in the RV120W, so it is nice to see in the RV180.  Remote IPSec can be established with Cisco's free QuickVPN client or with other IPSec client software.  I was able to use PPTP, QuickVPN, and Site to Site connections simultaneously.

I tested remote client access to the RV180 with PPTP and the QuickVPN client.  PPTP is the easier of the two options, as setup on the router involves checking a box to enable PPTP, adding a user name and password, and selecting PPTP as the protocol, shown below.

PPTP setup

Figure 6: PPTP setup

I like PPTP tunnels because the client software is built into Windows 7, and as I recently discovered, is also built into the Apple iPad.  Thus, there is no software to install on the end device.  I tested both devices with the RV180 and found each to work without issue.  Configuring Windows or an iPad for PPTP is quite simple.  Take a look at our recent review on the Zyxel VFG6005, where we've listed the steps for setting up a Windows PC and an Apple iPad for PPTP connections.

A small issue I had with the RV180 is a lack of a status screen for PPTP connections.  The only indicator on the RV180 of an active PPTP connection is a small section on its Dashboard.  As shown in Figure 7, the RV180 VPN Dashboard shows one active Site-to-Site tunnel, one PPTP User, and noQuick VPN Users. 

The Site-to-Site count is accurate, but the PPTP display is misleading and the Quick VPN display is incorrect.  The PPTP display is simply a count of users created in the RV180, not a status on the number of PPTP connections.  I found the dashboard showed one PPTP user whether the PPTP user was connected or not.

VPN Dashboard

Figure 7: VPN Dashboard

At the same time I took the above screen shot, I also had an active QuickVPN connection, although the dashboard showed no QuickVPN Users.  Fortunately, there is a specific status screen on the RV180 for QuickVPN user connections (Figure 8).

Quick VPN connection status

Figure 8: Quick VPN connection status

Configuring a QuickVPN connection on the RV180 is as simple as for PPTP.  It is a matter of adding a user name and password for the remote connection and selecting the QuickVPN option for the protocol.  The key difference is the QuickVPN software has to be installed on a PC.  The software is included on the disk that comes with the RV180, and is available for download on Cisco's website.  I had no trouble installing Cisco's QuickVPN on a Windows 7 Pro PC.

I found Site-to-Site configuration on the RV180 straightforward.  There are no VPN configuration wizards in the RV180, but there is a basic VPN configuration page for creating an IPSec VPN tunnel.  The basic configuration on the RV180 creates an IKE and VPN IPSec policy with default values including AES encryption and SHA-1 authentication.  These configurations are easy to edit via the advanced VPN configuration page.  All typical IPSec VPN options are supported, such as 3DES and AES encryption as well as MD5 and SHA-1 authentication, .

I had no problems setting up a 3DES/SHA-1 Site to Site tunnel between the RV180 and my usual site-to-site test device, a NETGEAR SRX5308 high performance VPN router.  With the correct configurations on both routers, the connection came up immediately.  Below is a screen shot of the established IPSec tunnel with the SRX.

IPsec connection status

Figure 9: IPsec connection status

VPN Performance

Cisco rates the RV180 capable of 50 Mbps for IPSec VPN throughput with either 3DES or AES encryption.  I measured the RV180's IPSec throughput with Cisco's QuickVPN software.

I tested the RV180's VPN performance with iperf using default TCP settings, with a TCP window size of 8 KB and no other options.  I ran iperf on two PCs running 64-bit Windows 7 with their software firewall disabled.  (Running a simple iperf throughput test between two PCs uses the command iperf -s on one PC and iperf -c (ip) on the other PC.)

Table 2 shows a VPN throughput table comparing the RV180 to the previously mentioned Cisco routers (RV120W, RV220W, RV042) as well as several other VPN routers I've reviewed in recent years.  Note, you can click on the model number listed in the table to go to the review for each device.

Product IPsec Throughput - (Mbps) PPTP Throughput (Mbps)
Client - Gateway Gateway - Client Client - Gateway Gateway - Client
RV180 39.7 50.9 5.98 6.49
RV120W 23.1 21.2 NA NA
RV220W 38.3 49.3 16.3 14.1
RV042 37.1 47.5 10.8 9.7
Draytek 2920 17.8 17.8 19.9 19.9
Netgear FVS318N 33.1 45.8 NA NA
Zyxel VFG6005 5.9 5.6 10.8 6.54
TrendNet TW100 3.32 2.85 8.95 7.61
Table 2: VPN Performance comparison

The RV180's IPsec numbers of 39.7 Mbps client to gateway and 50.9 Mbps gateway to client put it at the top of the chart for all devices listed and are pretty close to Cisco's 50 Mbps rating.  However, I was surprised to see the RV180's PPTP numbers of 5.98 Mbps client to gateway and 6.49 Mbps gateway to client put it at the bottom of that ranking.

Nevertheless, ~6 Mbps of throughput is pretty reasonable for a remote connection.  More likely, the available bandwidth at the remote location (such as hotel, airport, coffee shop) will be less than 6 Mbps, meaning the PPTP connection will not be the limiting factor.




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User reviews

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Average user rating from: 11 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.

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Overall: 
 
2.2 Features :
 
2.3 Performance :
 
2.4 Reliability :
 
1.9
 
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No IPv6 firewall

Overall rating: 
 
2.7
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by Doug
October 19, 2013
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It advertises itself as having IPv6 and a firewall. In fact, the firewall can only filter on IPv4 and is very limited. Which means, unless you get and additional firewall, you can't safely use it for IPv6.

 

Crap firmware

Overall rating: 
 
1.0
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by Dan
August 29, 2013
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This is by far the worst router I have ever used. It doesn't even work right when using it just as a basic 4 port router. For example, even with just ONE computer running, if open a lot of tabs in the web brower it starts blocking or losing content. And the only fix seems to be to just remove the RV180 from the loop.
Very slow and very buggy firmware. And the router is very easily overloaded.

Pure crap!

 

Disappointing - not a firewall

Overall rating: 
 
2.3
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by frank
July 26, 2013
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I bought this because it was advertised as a firewall that has vlan support. Only when you actually try to set it up you realise that it DOES NOT support VLAN to VLAN firewall settings. Not only that, it doesn't even allow you to set different WAN firewall settings per VLAN. The only firewall functionality is an overall WAN in/out setting, and even that is clunky.

 

Good value and features.

Overall rating: 
 
4.0
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by steve powell
May 21, 2013
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I bought this based on the review here, but not user reviews. I additionally read a ton of reviews on Amazon.com which varied widely. I get that some reviews are old and based on earlier firmware.

After a few weeks, I am still happy and impressed with this router. I got it on Amazon and it was really inexpensive for the feature set and very compact.

- the Slow UI - I don't get it - sure, it is not blazing fast, but getting around the menus is perfectly functional and no big deal.
- VPN - no idea, we don't need VPN so I have not set it up - can't comment on that.
- Port Forwarding/triggering - I had to open a few ports for XBOX360 and it worked immediately with no fuss. That said, ultimately I enabled UPnP fod the XBOX and that works even better.
- Sonos - we have 5 Sonos devices on the net - they work fine. 3 wired, 2 wireless.
- ISP is Comcast, but we are not using IPv6 so lack of IPv6 DHCPv6-PD support has not affected us.
- Ooma Telo connected - working fine. Have this on a VLAN with QOS and it works great.
- Several PCs, Droid RAZRs, iPad, Blu-ray players, AVRs, Security Camera, etc. connected and working well.

WAN connections seem quite fast; Internet speed tests easily get the 50/10 that Comcast is providing.

For a home business router, this router is working well - and its compact size fits well in the structured wiring center. For those who like the features and are scared off by the negative reviews, I recommend giving it a try if business level gear with less consumer friendly configuration doesn't bother you. The features and the speed have been impressive so far.

 

FLAKEY

Overall rating: 
 
2.0
Features:
 
2.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by cyberzeus
April 24, 2013
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This device is awesome - for the FIRST FEW HOURS. Very short honeymoon indeed as once it gets settled - like so many mail-order brides we've heard about - this thing just goes seriously off the rails. I will only hit the highlights which, when coupled with the other reviews, should give you enough to make up your mind.

First, the GUI really is horribly slow - even when directly connected via short cat-5 at 1g-Full, it still takes forever to load almost all pages. Next, logging is useless - yeah it dumps stuff in there but it's so freakin' cryptic you seriously need the Cisco source code andor dev guide to understand what she's putting in there.

But worst of all is just that it's flaky. As background, I had two wireless routers hanging off of the RV180 - each wireless WAN connected via a short cat-6 run to one of the RV180's LAN ports. Next, the WAN went to my Comcast DOCSIS-3 modem. The wireless routers were serving DHCP in dedicated scopes, DNS proxy was OFF all around, I spoofed the RV-180 WAN MAC to ensure I got the desired IP, and both wireless and the RV-180 were doing PAT. That's it - extremely simple network. So the issues I had were basically that the RV180 started bouncing it's LAN ports (WAN for the wireless routers) every 5m or so.

Additionally, it would randomly start blocking traffic on the WAN side - but no logs re: any of this whatsoever. As web-pages started dropping, ping and trace became my old trusted friends to help figure out where the drops were occurring. Also, the firmware was the latest from Cisco - and I bounced the device seevral time. In addition, I tried going direct from my PC to the RV-180 LAN and even completely disabled the security features and opened up the firewall - all to no avail - this thing is just plain FLAKEY!!! Mine is going back TODAY and my search will continue...

 
 
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