Review: Cisco RV 120W Wireless-N VPN Firewall - Page 2

By Sean Michael Kerner

January 03, 2011

VPN

Remote access with the Cisco QuickVPN client software is another key feature of the RV 120W, with support for up to 10 remote tunnels and 25 Mbps of VPN throughput.

Getting the QuickVPN actually set up and working isn't however quite as 'quick' as it should be. There isn't one central point for enabling and configuring VPN access. Instead, getting the QuickVPN operational is a multi-step process and not all the required steps are located in the VPN menu either. First, you've got to enable remote management which is found under the Firewall menu after which you go to the VPN menu to add users. But wait, where is the actual QuickVPN client software? It's not linked from the router management interface at all. Instead, it can be found on the installation CD, which isn't really as convenient a place to have it, when it really should be linked somewhere from the router itself.

That said, the documentation for the RV 120W indicates that open source IPsec VPN clients including OpenVPN and Openswan can be used to connect instead of Cisco's QuickVPN client software. Even after doing all that, you'll still need to get a server certificate from the router, downloaded and installed. None of these steps are particularly difficult, but for an entry level VPN device, there may be a few too many steps for some administrators.

Wireless

Though the RV 120W is not a dual-band access point, that doesn't mean you can only have one actual access point. The default configuration provides options for four virtual access points each with their own unique SSID and security settings.

Security settings include support for WEP for organizations that still need to support that unsecure protocol. There is also support for WPA Personal/Enterprise, WPA2 Personal/Enterprise and Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS ).

From a wireless quality of service perspective, there is support for Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM), though the configuration menu is difficult to understand. In terms of power saving, support for Unscheduled Automatic Power Save Delivery (U-APSD) -- sometimes referred to as WMM Power Save -- is included, though it's unclear as to when that feature actually kicks in, or how much power it actually saves.

AP isolation is supported as is an option to configure the maximum associated number of clients. Both those features in tandem can be used to lock down a virtual access point really well from the rest of the network.

Wireless access scheduling is provided via the active time option, though it is fairly basic and only provides the option for one start and stop time for each specific access point. It likely would have been beneficial to have some kind of more robust daily schedule support, including options for specific days of the week. There is a scheduled days option for the Firewall rules, so this is a feature that RV 120W does have in some capacity, but just hasn't extended to the wireless AP profiles.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of configuration options on the RV 120W to keep network admins who love to tweak settings very happy.

Features like the dual-stack IPv6 and IPv4 connectivity and the 25 Mbps VPN firewall are reasonably attractive at this price point as well. This is not the type of router that is intended for the 'plug and play' audience, as the greatest benefits of the device can only be achieved by digging into the settings.

Not all of the settings are easy to understand and the volume of configuration options on this device is definitely a large step up for those used to the more basic functionality of Cisco's consumer-grade Linksys devices. That said, the embedded help screens are helpful in understanding what all the different options are about at a basic level.

Overall the RV 120W is a capable, configuration-rich device that may well satisfy many VPN router and wireless needs.

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