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Wireless Reviews

Configuration

The menu structure of the RV220W and RV120W are nearly identical, with menu options listed along the left side of the GUI and some menus having multiple sub-options.  There are several additional features in the RV220W, as well as some differences, which I've listed in Table 1.

Main Menu SubMenus
RV220W RV120W
Status Interface Statistics X
Status Active Users X
Status SSL VPN Connection Status X
Networking Jumbo Frames X
Wireless X WPS
Cisco ProtectLink New Feature X
VPN SSL VPN Server X
VPN SSL VPN Client X
VPN PPTP Server X
Administration CSV File Import X
Table 1: RV 120W and RV 220W menu structure comparison

To begin, there are three new sub-menus in the Status menu.  The Interface Statistics sub-menu provides a packet count on the WAN and LAN, while the Active Users sub-menu shows all the logged in users, whether they are an admin user configuring the router or a remote SSL VPN user.

The SSL VPN Connection status sub-menu seems misplaced, however.  It would make more sense to me if it were with the other SSL VPN menus.  Nevertheless, it provides a useful display of active SSL VPN connections, as shown in Figure 3.

SSL Connection Status

Figure 3: SSL Connection Status

Another menu that seems misplaced is the port forwarding configuration page for the RV220W.  Initially, I thought port forwarding was omitted from the RV220W, because the port forwarding sub-menu on the RV120W is located in the Firewall menu.  On the RV220W, the port forwarding sub-menu is located in the SSL VPN menu.  The RV220W does allow port forwarding by application instead of specifying a port, possibly simplifying the configuration, if you look for it in the SSL VPN menu.

A carryover from the RV120W to the RV220W is the need to reboot the router to apply various configurations, such as enabling IPv6.  Rebooting the RV220W is slow, it takes 150 seconds before you can log back in, and even more time for the router to re-establish its WAN connection and pass traffic.

Differences

There are two main differences between the RV220W and the RV120W for your internal network. One, the RV220W LAN has Gigabit Ethernet ports. And two, the RV220W WLAN has a dual band wireless radio. These two additions allow for higher data speeds between devices on the wired and wireless networks.  Other than these two additions, wired and wireless LAN configuration options are virtually identical on the RV220W and RV120W.

I was pleased to see the RV220W had 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports plus jumbo frame capability supporting up to 9000 byte frames. This is lacking on the RV 120W, which has only 10/100 ports.

There is one more minor difference between the RV220W and the RV120W wireless options.  WPS (WIFI Protected Setup) is not supported on the RV220W, even though the feature was available on the less expensive RV120W.  But as Tim noted in his review, this is not surprising, given the business focus of the product.

Security

Firewall and security options on the RV220W and RV120W are also nearly identical and covered in the RV120W review.  There is one big difference, though.  As I noted in the menu differences above, the RV220W has a new subscription based security feature called Cisco ProtectLink.

Cisco ProtectLink is provided through a partnership with Trend Micro.  Cisco has a couple of versions of this feature.  The version of ProtectLink offered with the RV220W is the Gateway version.  Features of ProtectLink Gateway include:

  • Email spam blocker including virus and antiphishing protection
  • Web/URL content filtering with more the 80 categories of website types
  • Web threat protection for blocking malicious websites and monitoring accessed websites

Although ProtectLink works with the router, it is really a cloud-based service.  When activated and properly configured, email and web traffic requests from clients behind the router are sent to email and web servers at Trend Micro.  Replies to those requests are filtered or sent back to the clients, as depicted in Figure 4.

Cisco ProtectLink diagram

Figure 4: Cisco ProtectLink diagram

The advantage to this approach is the CPU intensive work of filtering traffic is performed by Trend Micro, not the router.  An additional advantage is the database of spammers and web sites is maintained centrally instead of requiring the router to download regular updates.

ProtectLink email protection is targeted at networks with an internal email server that can reroute their email MX (mail exchange) record to Trend Micro.  Once your MX record is pointed at Trend Micro, all email sent and received from PCs behind the RV220W is filtered by the Trend Micro service.

Web filtering doesn't require any changes on your network, however.  Web filtering is performed by Trend Micro, but you can enable and disable it, as well as define what is filtered on the RV220W.  Web categories that can be filtered include Adult, Business, Computers/Bandwidth, Computers/Communication, General, and Social.  Each of these categories has multiple different subcategories for a total of 80 filtering categories. 

I enabled the entire Social category and tried to go to Facebook, and got the message shown in Figure 5.

Web filtering block message

Figure 5: Web filtering block message

I played around with different categories to see what would be blocked.  For example, enabling the subcategory labeled Computers/Internet under the Business category blocked access to smallnetbuilder.com!

Different websites can be filtered based on different times of day based on time schedules created on the RV220W.  You can define two schedules: one labeled Business hours, the other Leisure hours.  The times you don't define as Business Hours will be considered Leisure hours.  Thus, you can block Facebook from 8am-5pm M-F, but allow it outside those hours.

Controls within the RV220W for ProtectLink include defining various clients by IP address to exclude from web filtering.  A whitelist of URLs can be entered for websites that should not be filtered.  Last, you can enable Web Reputation, a feature to protect against malicious websites. 

There is a 30 day free trial of ProtectLink, activated through sending an email and receiving a code.  A 1 or 3 year license can be purchased through various vendors on line.  For 25 email users and a 1 year license, the cost is $277.98.  For 25 email users and a 3 year license, the cost is $455.98.  There are also 100 email user licenses for 1 year and 3 years at $525.98 and $839.98.

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