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LAN & WAN Reviews

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the RV180 using our standard test method and the RV180’s 1.0.1.9 firmware is summarized in Table 3.  The RV180's downlink throughput of 798 Mbps and uplink throughput of 811 Mbps is quite impressive!  These numbers put the RV180 near the top of our Router Charts and above all the other VPN routers listed in this review.

WAN > LAN routing throughput - select VPN routers

Figure 15: WAN > LAN routing throughput - select VPN routers

By comparison, the more expensive RV220W has a downlink speed of 720 Mbps and uplink speed of 728 Mbps.  Total simultaneous throughput on the RV180 was 1,192 Mbps, which slightly edges past the RV220W's 1,113 Mbps.  The RV180's max connection limit wasn't quite as impressive at 10,000, compared to the RV220W which maxed our test at 34,925 sessions.

Product Throughput - (Mbps) Max. Connections
WAN-LAN LAN-WAN Total Throughput
RV180 798 811 1,192 10,000
RV120W 87 87 136 12,086
RV220W 720 728 1,113 34,925
RV042 91 90 91 34,925
Draytek 2920 146 137 147 34,925
Netgear FVS318N 62 60 61 5,004
Zyxel VFG6005 636 150 304 34,925
TrendNet TW100 93 92 140 34,925
Table 3: Routing performance comparison

The composite IxChariot plot in Figure 16 of the three routing tests below shows relatively low WAN-LAN throughput variation.  There is some variation in the readings, but not as high as we've seen in other devices such as the recently review Zyxel VFG6005. Low throughput variation indicates expected throughput of the router is consistent, which is desirable.

IxChariot Routing throughput plots

Figure 16: IxChariot Routing throughput plots

Closing Thoughts

Table 4 summarizes key data from my selected group of VPN routers including IPSec tunnel capacity, LAN features and pricing of the RV180/RV180W.  (Pricing information is from Pricegrabber.com).

Product IPSec
Tunnels
LAN Ports 802.1q
VLANs
Jumbo
Frames
Wireless Price
RV180 10 (4) 10/100/1000 4 Y (RV180W) $141.00
/ $177.00
RV120W 10 (4) 10/100 4 N Y $130.00
RV220W 25 (4) 10/100/1000 16 Y Y $246.00
RV042 50 (4) 10/100 0  N N $146.00
Draytek 2920 32 (4) 10/100/1000 0 Y (2920N) $245.00
Netgear FVS318N 12 (8) 10/100/1000 64 Y Y $179.00
Zyxel VFG6005 32 (4) 10/100/1000 0 N N $113.00
TrendNet TW100 80* (4) 10/100 0 N N $69.00
Table 4: Feature comparison
* The TrendNet TW100 lists support for up to 80 IPSec tunnels, but I question whether it can actually handle that many tunnels due to its limited throughput as noted in the review and in Table 4.

Compared directly to other wired-only routers (Cisco RV042, Draytek 2920, Zyxel VFG6005, and TrendNet TW100), the RV180 at $141 has the fastest IPSec and router throughput yet is more expensive than only the Zyxel ($113) and TrendNet ($69).  However, the RV180 has 802.1q VLAN and jumbo frame capability, which is not included in either the Zyxel and TrendNet.

Compared to the wireless routers (Cisco 120W, Cisco 220W, and Netgear FVS318N), the RV180W at $177 remains the top router in terms of IPSec and router throughput and is only more expensive than the RV120W ($130).

Overall, I like the Cisco RV180.  Clearly, it is a fast router.  But it is also quite solid as a VPN router, with easy Site-to-Site VPN configurations, inclusion of the QuickVPN client and support for PPTP VPN tunnels.  If I could ask for one thing, I would like to see menu responsiveness improved.  In summary, I think a network can never be too fast, and the Cisco RV180 presents compelling performance at a reasonable price.

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