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LAN & WAN Reviews

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the VFG using our standard test method and 2.07(VFE.2)B0_20110804 firmware is summarized in Table 3. Downlink speed of 636 Mbps is pretty impressive, but uplink at 150 Mbps is significantly lower. The VFG maxed out our simultaneous connection test at 34,925 sessions, however.

Test Description VFG6005
Throughput - (Mbps)
WAN - LAN 636
LAN - WAN 150
Total Simultaneous 304
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 34,925 (test limit)
Firmware Version 2.07(VFE.2)B0_20110804
Table 3: VFG6005 Routing throughput summary

The composite IxChariot plot in Figure 18 of the three routing tests below shows a good amount of WAN-LAN throughput variation. Although it's hard to see in the composite plot, WAN-LAN variation still remains high in the simultaneous WAN-LAN / LAN-WAN test.

VFG6005 routing throughput

Figure 18: VFG6005 routing throughput

Note that, as is our standard practice, the tests were run with all defaults except to put the LAN-side IxChariot client in DMZ. So this means that the Hardware Accelerator was enabled for these tests and could be causing the high variation.

To investigate this theory, I ran my own set of throughput tests using iperf. I got 206 Mbps WAN-LAN and 159 Mbps LAN-WAN with the VFG's hardware accelerator enabled. The WAN-LAN result isn't as high as the IxChariot 636 Mbps result. But that's probably because iperf's measurement resolution isn't as high as IxChariot's and the averaging effect brought down the result. The LAN-WAN number is more closely matched, because its variation is nowhere near as high as downlink.

Switching off hardware acceleration yielded 133 Mbps WAN-LAN and 135 Mbps LAN-WAN. These more equal throughput numbers seem to indicate that high WAN-LAN throughput variation is caused by the hardware accelerator.

Use the Router Charts to run more comparisons.

Closing Thoughts

ZyXEL positions the VFG against the Dlink DIR-130 and the NETGEAR FVS318. We haven't reviewed the DIR-130, so I've excluded it from Table 4. But I did include the other four routers compared in the VPN section of this review.

Product # IPsec tunnels GRE SSL PPTP L2TP
ZyXEL VFG6005 32 N N Y N
TRENDnet TW100-BRV214 80 Y N Y Y
Cisco RV042v3 50 N N Y Y
Draytek 2920 40 N N Y Y
Table 4: VPN feature comparison

The ZyXEL falls toward the low end for the number of supported IPsec tunnels, but 32 is a respectable number nontheless.

Table 5 provides overall comparisons, including throughput and maximum connections taken from the Router Charts.

Product WAN ports LAN ports Gigabit WAN-LAN Throughput (Mbps) LAN-WAN Throughput (Mbps) Max Simultaneous Connections Price
ZyXEL VFG6005 2* 4 Y 636 150 34925 &83
TRENDnet TW100-BRV214 1 4 N 93 93 34925 $68
NETGEAR FVS318G 1 8 Y 23 23 200 $118
Cisco RV042v3 2 4 N 91 90 34925 $146
Draytek 2920 2* 4 Y 148 137 34925 $245
Table 5: Router summary comparison

The single asterisk next to the ZyXEL and Draytek's WAN ports indicate these two routers support 3G WWAN connections via a USB interface, which is not supported by any of the other routers.

ZyXEL rates the VFG at 300 Mbps throughput. Looking at the IxChariot test results would seem to back this up. But they also reveal high downlink throughput variation with hardware acceleration kicked in, which it is by default.

With hardware acceleration enabled or disabled, the VFG stands out when you consider its price/performance. A check of the price links below, as I write this, shows lowest prices in the $80 range. With hardware acceleration enabled, the VFG is the fastest and least expensive VPN router in this group. Even with its hardware acceleration disabled, routing throughput of the VFG is second only to the more expensive Draytek router and more than adequate for the service bandwidths it is likely to be connected to.

In all, I found the VFG6005 stable and easy to use. The IPsec and PPTP VPN options work as advertised and it has Gigabit ports, fast throughput, 3G failover and a nice low price. For these qualities, I rate the VFG6005 a winner!

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