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Introduction

Gigabit VPN Firewall Gateway
At a glance
ProductZyXEL VFG6005 Gigabit VPN Firewall Gateway   [Website]
SummaryInexpensive, Gigabit port PPTP / IPsec router with 3G failover
Pros• 3G WAN support
• High routing and VPN bandwidth
• Up and downlink bandwidth control
Cons• No IPv6
• No L2TP
• Poor documentation

Typical Price: $155  Shop Amazon

The ZyXEL VFG6005 was introduced by ZyXEL last year. But since I recently reviewed TRENDnet's TW100-BRV214—another inexpensive 4 port VPN router—I figured the VFG6005 would make for a good alternative review. As we'll see, however, the VFG has some key advantages.

Take a look at the diagram from ZyXEL in Figure 1, showing key features and use models. As with the TW100, the VFG is a wired-only router. ZyXEL also offers the VFG6005N, which adds an 802.11bgn access point.

VFG6005 use overview

Figure 1: VFG6005 use overview

Two key differences between the VFG and TW100 are immediately apparent.. First, the VFG has Gigabit LAN (4) and WAN (1) ports vs. the TW100's 10/100 ports. (Note, the LAN ports on the VFG are limited to an MTU size of 1500 bytes, thus jumbo frames are not supported.) Second, the VFG has a USB port that supports 3G wireless dongles, making it a dual WAN router.

With that said to whet your appetite, let's first cover the basics. The VFG's black plastic case measures 6.2" X 4.2" X by 1". It has a red front panel with indicator lights on the top, near the front edge of the device. You can see the indicator lights in the picture at the beginning of this article. The front is displayed below.

VFG6005 front

Figure 2: Front view

The WAN, USB WWAN and LAN ports on the back, as well as the power connector. There is no on/off button or switch on the VFG. The VFG has an external power brick at the end of the power cable, is passively cooled and runs silent.

VFG6005 rear

Figure 3: Rear view

Inside

Under the covers is the mainboard, housing a MIPS24K CPU clocked at 384 MHz with 16 MB of flash, 64 MB of SDRAM and an Atheros AR8316 Gigabit switch. As Figure 4 shows, both CPU and switch have ceramic heat spreaders attached.

VFG6005 board

Figure 4: VFG6005 board

Configuration

I found the menus straightforward and responsive. The menu bar (Figure 5) is available on the top right in all configuration screens, making it easy to navigate from one option to another. On the other hand, the manual is a bit sparse, lacking clear explanation and examples on configuration options.

VFG6005 menu bar

Figure 5: VFG6005 menu bar

Each menu item has two to eight submenus. I've laid out the configuration options in Figure 6.

VFG6005 admin menu summary

Figure 6: VFG6005 admin menu summary

Missing from the configuration options is support for IPv6. As I mentioned in my review of the TW100, we in the U.S. may not need IPv6 in our small networks today, but it will likely be needed in the next couple of years.

There are two wizards, one for basic setup, the other for VPN setup. The basic setup wizard simplifies configuration of the admin password, WAN and WWAN, and time settings. With that said, let's dive into the VFG, starting with VPN capability.

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