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Performance - more

Figure 12 shows the SSL VPN throughput performance, with maximum throughput approaching 5 Mbps. It appears the RVL limits outbound (LAN>WAN) traffic when there is an inbound (WAN>LAN) tunnel established, as depicted by the drop in outbound traffic at the 5 second point on the X-axis.

SSL VPN throughput
Click to enlarge image

Figure 12: IxChariot chart showing throughput SSL VPN performance

Table 1 shows the routing throughput levels of these four routers. The RVL200 doesn't have the horsepower of the RV042, or even the ZyXEL Zywall 2 Plus reviewed last December. However, for a satellite office with a Cable or DSL connection, the RVL200's throughput is sufficient.

Product WAN-LAN LAN-WAN Total Throughput (Mbps)
Linksys RV042 54 80 59
ZyXEL Zywall 2 Plus 55 55 50
Linksys RVL200 37 39 39
NETGEAR FVS124G 13 12 12
Table 1: Router throughput comparison

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I liked the RVL200's implementation of SSL VPN technology. SSL VPN technology appears to be a promising solution for all those frustrated small network administrators supporting remote users with tricky VPN software client applications. I'm tempted to say that SSL VPN configurations are easy enough for non-technical end users, but I'll leave that up to you.

Linksys is targeting the RVL200 at the small business market, grouping this product with its other small business-grade router / VPN products. With online pricing as I write this as low as $148, the RVL200 is in the same neighborhood as Linksys' RV042 ($146) and NETGEAR's FVS124G ($140) and ZyXEL Zywall 2 Plus ($147).

However, both the RV042 and FVS124G are dual-WAN routers, with capacity to run significantly more Gateway-to-Gateway and Client-to-Gateway tunnels. The ZyXEL Zywall 2 Plus supports only two VPN tunnels and limited client VPN capability. None of these three products utilizes SSL VPN technology, however.

Having tested IPSec VPN clients from SonicWALL, NETGEAR, Linksys, and D-Link, I can confidently say that Linksys' SSL feature was the easiest to configure and implement. In fact, I found an SSL VPN to be just as easy as PPTP VPNs, with the advantage of IPSec levels of encryption.  And don't forget the advantages of OS independence and ability to work from locations where IPsec and PPTP traffic is blocked.

But I'd like to see Linksys combine the strengths of the RVL200, RVS4000, and RV042 into a single product. In my opinion, an SSL VPN router with gigabit LAN ports, dual WAN connections and multiple Gateway-to-Gateway tunnel capacity would be a very cool product.

The RVL200 has some shortcomings, notably the VLAN DHCP flakiness and errors in the menus and documentation. But on the plus side, the router was stable throughout my testing, without one lockup or freeze. I hope that firmware updates can resolve the problems. 

All things considered, I was impressed by SSL VPN technology and its simplification of client VPN setup. I'd say the RVL200 gives Linksys a pretty good hand in the small business router game.

Check out the slideshow Check out the slide show for internal photos and admin page screenshots.

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