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Performance and Closing Thoughts

I used IxChariot to measure the 200's throughput. Since IxChariot wasn't handled by any of the 200's proxies, I had to make the measurements using NetExtender. I tested in the recommended "one arm" mode with the 200's x0 port plugged into my LAN switch and one client connected via NetExtender.

Since the NetExtender client gets a different IP address assigned than its normal LAN address, I was able to ensure that I was measuring performance through the 200 and not just directly from client to client. Figure 11 shows the results for simultaneous Local > Remote and Remote > Local tests.

SSL-VPN 200 throughput - NetExtender
Click to enlarge image

Figure 11: SSL-VPN 200 throughput - NetExtender

I tested using the IxChariot throughput.scr script using TCP/IP and its default 100,000 Byte file size and throughput appears to vary quite a bit with a total average of 4.1 Mbps measured. I also ran each direction separately and found similar results. I thought it odd that there was such a large difference between throughput in each direction. So I also ran a test with the "Local" client plugged into one of the 200's x1 ports, but obtained similar results and next checked with Sonicwall. Although they didn't have IxChariot at their disposal, the FTP method they used also found a noticeable difference in throughput for the two directions.

Note that the Netgear SSL312 had better throughput around 6 Mbps. But more significantly, the SSL312 had just about equal throughput in both directions.

Summing up, I had expected to find that the 200 and Netgear SSL312 were more similar than different. And while both products do support proxy and VPN-like secure remote connections, each has different strengths and weaknesses. Sonicwall has an edge in that its NetExtender client can be downloaded via Mozilla, Firefox, Opera and Safari in addition to IE, where the Netgear download works with IE only. The Sonicwall is also in better shape than Netgear with respect to Vista, if that's on your must-have checklist.

But the 200's unbalanced throughput, higher cost and requirement to purchase support after the first 90 days could tip the scales back in Netgear's (or other vendors') favor for buyers who aren't yet ready for Vista and who don't mind using IE to launch a VPN tunnel when needed. ("Dynamic 8x5" support will run you $105 for 1 year.) Neither product has it all, so your selection of either will depend on which compromises you're willing to make.

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