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LAN & WAN Reviews

VPN Router
At a glance
ProductCisco VPN Router (RV180)   [Website]
SummaryPPTP / IPsec VPN router with Gigabit ports and high routing throughput
Pros• Fast routing throughput
• Decent IPsec throughput
• Gigabit ports
Cons• Slow admin GUI
• Low PPTP throughput
• Basic web filtering features

Typical Price: $249  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

Cisco's small business router lineup has quite a few models.  I've reviewed the RV120W, the RV220W and the RV042 over the past 18 months. This review will cover the RV180 wired version.  The is also an RV180W, which is basically the same as the RV180, plus a 2.4 GHz 802.11bgn radio. It supports four VLAN-based SSIDs, WDS bridging/repeating and WEP/WPA/WPA2 consumer and Enterprise wireless security.

In terms of features, the RV180/RV180W falls between the RV120W and RV220W.  Like the RV120W, the RV180/RV180W provides firewall functionality and supports up to 10 VPN connections, but has faster interfaces and higher throughput with its Gigabit WAN and LAN ports.  The RV180's 10 VPN connections are fewer than the RV220W's 25 connections and it does not have SSL VPN capability.

Cisco positions the RV180 for small businesses, remote office, and home networks looking for security, remote access and simple configuration.  Figure 1 depicts a high level view of the RV180 and its intended uses.

RV180 in use

Figure 1: RV180 in use

The RV180 is enclosed in a black plastic case measuring 5.9 in x 1.2 in x 5.9 in.  It is passively cooled so runs completely silent.  On the front of the device are the indicator lights (Figure 2).

RV180 front panel

Figure 2: RV180 front panel

On the back are the Gigabit WAN and LAN Ethernet ports, power port, and power button (Figure 3).

RV180 rear panel

Figure 3: RV180 rear panel

Inside

The RV180 is based on a Cavium Econa 300MHz CPU along with 64 MB of RAM and 16 MB of flash memory.  Ethernet ports are provided by a Broadcom BCM53125 7-Port Integrated GbE Energy-Efficient Ethernet Switch.

RV180 board

Figure 4: RV180 board

Configuration

The RV180's configuration menus are similar to the other members of the Cisco RV series.  Menus are selectable from a menu bar running down the left of the web GUI, each with multiple sub-menus for viewing status or applying configurations.  I've laid out the configuration options in Table 1 below.

RV180 menu structure

Table 1: RV180 menu structure

There is a single configuration wizard that simplifies initial setup, and I appreciated the help screens available from the RV180 menu.  I found clicking help in the top right corner of any screen brought up some useful information.  The manual provides more configuration support, but could use configuration examples.

Booting the RV180 takes up to three minutes before the device is fully functional.  Also, I found navigating between screens and applying configurations a bit slow with Figure 5 often appearing.

Waiting

Figure 5: Waiting

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