A Quick Peek Inside
The SSL312 is built on a 200MHz Cavium NITROX Soho CN22X MIPS32 CPU. The VPN acceleration capabilities of the Cavium chip come in handy since 256-bit AES encryption is used to secure the connection to the SSL312. The specifications table on the Cavium Web site shows that the 200MHz Cavium NITROX Soho CN22X MIPS32 CPU is capable of about 20Mbps of SSL VPN throughput.
Our own throughput tests using the Qcheck reported a little over 6Mbps of throughput (both up and down) through an active VPN tunnel. The SSL312 also provided 16MB of FLASH memory and 128MB of SDRAM. Using port scanning tools on the unit, I discovered that the device runs Linux for an OS. According to Netgear, the hardware combination enables it to simultaneously support up to 25 user VPN tunnels. I, like many of my geeky friends, want to know what makes this kind of equipment tick; so, let's open it up, and take a quick peek inside.
Figure 2 shows the SSL312 with the cover opened.
Figure 3 shows its system board in greater detail. You can see the Cavium CPU (large chip in the middle with a heat sink on it), the FLASH/SDRAM chips, the Ethernet controllers, and various other components.