Review: Cisco RV220W Wireless-N Network Security Firewall

By Sean Michael Kerner

April 26, 2011

Addressing the shortcomings of the RV120W, the Cisco RV220W adds Gigabit Ethernet, better antennas and more robust security features, but falls a little short when it comes to dual-band 802.11n support.

Price: $279.99

Pros:

  • SSL-VPN
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • IPv6
  • Support for up to 16 VLANs

Cons:

  • Selectable Dual Band Wi-Fi (not continuous)
Cisco RV220W Wireless-N Network Security Firewall

The Cisco RV220W is one of the newest routers from Cisco and was officially announced earlier this year. The RV220W is a step-up in terms of features, performance and price over the Cisco's entry level small business wireless firewall, the RV120W.

With the RV220W, Cisco is delivering a device for small businesses that need more control and power for LAN, WLAN and VPN users.

RV220W Specifications

Measuring 8.66 inches wide x 1.54 inches high x 6.69 inches deep, The RV220W is a larger device than its entry level peer, the RV120W. The router includes one WAN port and a built-in four port 10/100/1000 Mbps auto-sensing switch. The Gigabit Ethernet ports are an improvement from the Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) that the RV120W offers. Part of the height of the device enables three rows of indicators lights to visually identify the 10/100/1000 connection speed. There are also indicator lights for a DMZ and DIAG (Diagnostic light that blinks when firmware is being updated), which are new to the RV220W.

All configuration of the RV220W is done via a robust browser based interface that includes really helpful menu-specific help menus throughout. Once again, Cisco is relying on Linux as the underlying operating system for this device. The RV220W leverages a Linux 2.6.21 kernel.

System status screen
The Cisco RV220W's system status screen

RV220W WLAN Capabilities

The Wi-Fi capabilities of the RV220W are also greater than the RV120W. Instead of being limited to just two antennas, the RV220W has two, 2 dBi gain, omni-directional external antennas and one 6.6 dBi gain, directional internal antenna. The total wireless bandwidth for 802.11n is rated at 270 Mbps on either the 2.4 Ghz or 5 GHz bands.

This router is a dual-band device supporting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, though not at the same time: This is a selectable dual-band device, not a continuous dual-band device. That means that users need to choose one band or the other and cannot run both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz at the same time. Yes, this is a shortcoming for this device as it likely limits the usability of having the 5 GHz band. Forcing all Wi-Fi users to be on one band for all use cases isn't always possible, for any number of reasons.

That said, the RV220W does support up to four virtual access points (just like the RV120W). Each of the virtual APs, can have their own security settings including WPA2, WPA, WEP (or no settings, if you configure an open network), as well as unique SSIDs, AP isolation and scheduling availability options. As was the case with the RV120W, the scheduling is limited to one 24 hour period and does not enable multi-day scheduling.

Each virtual AP also can have its own WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) settings which are intended to help prioritize multimedia content delivery. There is also support for WDS (Wireless Distribution System) which is a form of repeater mode that enables the wireless interconnection of access points.


The Cisco RV220W's AP profiles screen
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