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LAN & WAN Reviews

QoS

The TL-R600VPN allows you to create bandwidth control rules to provide a minimum and maximum bandwidth for LAN devices accessing the WAN. Rules are defined based on source IP address, destination port and protocol, and bandwidth.

To measure the effectiveness of this feature, I measured my Internet connection speed through the TL-R600VPN via speedtest.net. My Internet connection speed measured 12.68 Mbps down and 560 kbps up. I set the TL-R600VPN to limit my PC's bandwidth to 3 Mbps down and 300 kbps up, as shown in the screenshot below.

Running a speedtest with this rule in place produced a result of 2.3 Mbps down and 210 kbps up. I tried several other rule settings, each producing actual throughput below the values I entered in the rule. Thus, it appears the TL-600VPN effectively limits bandwidth usage per PC, but you may have to play with the settings to get the desired limit.

Bandwidth Rule

Bandwidth Rule

Firewall

Common firewall options that are supported include Port Forwarding, Port Triggering, DMZ and UPnP. Firewall rules can be created to allow or deny traffic from specific MAC addresses; to/from specific IP addresses or range of IP addresses; to domain names; by port, protocol (All, ICMP, TCP, UDP) or application (DNS, FTP, GOPHER, HTTP, NNTP, POP3, PPTP, SMTP, SOCK, TELNET); and by schedule based on day of week and time of day.

As a test, I set up a rule to block traffic from my PC to smallnetbuilder.com. Firewall rules on the TL-R600VPN require you to configure a source object, destination object and either use the default anytime schedule or create a schedule object. My rule is displayed in the below screen shot. With the rule enabled, my PC was blocked from accessing only smallnetbuilder.com, other PCs were not restricted.

Firewall Rule

Firewall Rule

Other Features

From a network standpoint, the TL-R600VPN supports a single subnet on the LAN. As mentioned earlier, port based and 802.1Q VLANs are not supported nor is IPv6, as previously noted. Common network options exist for reserving a DHCP provided address for specific hosts on the LAN, mapping MAC addresses to specific IP address, and Dynamic DNS. Supported Dynamic DNS providers are dyndns.org, oray.net, comexe.cn, and no-ip.com. As mentioned earlier, I successfully configured a domain from dyndns.org to resolve to the WAN IP address of the TL-R600VPN.

Administration security is also basic on the TL-R600VPN. For example, it only supports a single user name to access the router, and there doesn't appear to be an option to adjust the timer to log out an idle session. Thus, you remain logged in to the router, even if you're no longer actively configuring it.

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the TL-R600VPN v2 loaded with firmware 1.2.2 build 140422 and using our standard test method is summarized in Table 3. Interestingly, TP-LINK's ratings for the TL-R600VPN, as listed in their product specs, are lower than our measurements. TP-LINK rates NAT Throughput on the TL-R600VPN at 12.0 Mbps and Concurrent Sessions at 10,000.

Test Description TL-R600VPN
WAN - LAN (Mbps) 249.3
LAN - WAN (Mbps) 374.5
Total Simultaneous (Mbps) 372.1
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 31,064
Firmware Version 1.2.2 build 140422
Table 3: Routing Throughput performance

Our throughput tests for unidirectional download and upload speeds are shown in the composite IxChariot plot, which shows steady uplink throughput, but large variation in downlink.

Unidirectional Throughput

Unidirectional Throughput

The Simultaneous up / downlink plot below shows that downlink traffic stopped around 5 seconds into the one minute test. This wouldn't be very helpful in real use!

Bidirectional Throughput

Bidirectional Throughput

When we reran the test with throughput limited to 100 Mbps, we got VERY smooth and equal results as shown in the plot below. So it looks like hitting the TL-R600VPN full blast may overload the routing engine. This could explain TP-LINK's NAT Throughput rating of 120 Mbps.

Bidirectional Throughput - 100 Mbps Send rate limit

Bidirectional Throughput - 100 Mbps Send rate limit

Closing Throughts

The TL-R600VPN is comparable in features to several other single WAN VPN Firewall routers that I've reviewed, including the NETGEAR FVS318G, Cisco RV180, Linksys LRT214 and TRENDnet TW100-BRV214. I've summarized key performance numbers and prices for bunch in the chart below. (Pricing is from pricegrabber.com.)

Router Throughput (Mbps)  
WAN-LAN LAN-WAN Max_IPSec Price
TL-R600VPN 249.3
374.5 20.93 $61.99
NETGEAR FVS318G 59.2 58.3 6.39 $118.98
Cisco RV180 798.3 811.2 50.9 $101.41
TRENDnet TW100-BRV214 92.8 92.2 3.32 $65.20
Linksys LRT214 697.0 732.9 63.0 $155.53
Table 4: Comparison summary

The TL-R600VPN lacks some of the features of the other routers in this group. For example, FVS318G has eight LAN ports and both the Cisco RV108 and Linksys LRT214 support VLANs and IPv6. On the other hand, the TL-600VPN is significantly less expensive than the Cisco, Linksys and NETGEAR. Further, the TL-R600VPN is a few dollars less than the TRENDnet and much faster.

As with previous TP-LINK products I've tested, I found the TL-R600VPN stable and its features easy to configure. Clearly, the TL-R600VPN is another TP-LINK product that beats the competition in a key area: Value.

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