|At a Glance|
|Product||Zyxel Zywall 2 Plus (K28388)|
|Summary||Zippy IPsec VPN endpoint router supporting two VPN IPsec tunnels and lots of options for use in multi-router networks|
|Pros||• Extensive routing and firewall configuration features
• Built-in 32 user authentication
• Plenty of routing and VPN tunnel throughput
• Lots of documentation
|Cons||• Easy things aren't easy
• Documentation lacks useful examples
• No bundled IPsec client
• Only two tunnels
I've been getting requests lately for recommendations on routers that include VPN endpoints. But when I checked my past reviews, I found that the last time I looked at one of these products was back in 2004. Yikes! So one of my (early) new year's resolutions is to get back to reviewing wired routers, starting with this review.
Zyxel's Zywall 2 and 2 Plus are the entry-level products in Zyxel's Security Appliance portfolio. Both are four port 10/100 routers with SPI firewalls and IPsec endpoints capable of supporting two tunnels, with feature sets supporting use in larger networks behind multiple layers of routers. The key differences between the two products are summarized in Table 1 below.
|Spec||Zywall 2 Plus||Zywall 2|
|CPU||Intel IxP 422 266Mhz||Samsung 2500 166Mhz|
|Flash/SDRAM||8 MB / 32 MB||2 MB / 16 MB|
|Firewall performance||24 Mbps||12 Mbps|
|VPN performance||24 Mbps||2.2 Mbps|
|Key Features||Zywall 2 feature set plus:
- Bandwidth Management
- Bridge mode
- VPN High Availability (HA)
- IPsec VPN endpoint
- Content Filtering
- Dial Backup
- 4-port 10/100 switch
Table 1: Zywall 2 and 2 Plus comparison
The router has the footprint of a typical plastic DVD box and stands about two such boxes high. The enclosure is plastic and there are two screw slots on the bottom cover for wall mounting. Figure 1 shows the complement of LEDs on the front panel, which are bright and viewable from a wide angle.
Figure 1 : Front panel
Figure 2 shows the available ports, which include two RJ45 sockets supporting serial port connections to a console device and analog modem (remember those?) for dialup failover.
Figure 2: Rear panel
Figure 3 is a photo of the 2 Plus' board, which is built around a 266MHz Intel IXP422 CPU with 32MB of SDRAM and 8MB of FLASH memory. A Marvell Link Street 88E6060 6 port Fast Ethernet Switch rounds out the essential components.