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LAN & WAN Reviews

VPN Performance

I tested the FVS318N's VPN performance with iperf using default TCP settings, with a TCP window size of 8 KB and no other options.  I ran iperf on two PCs running 64-bit Windows 7 with their software firewall disabled.  All tests were done over a Gigabit network.   (Running a simple iperf throughput test between two PCs uses the command iperf -s on one PC and iperf -c (ip) on the other PC.)

Table 2 shows my VPN throughput measurements over the four various tunnel types on the FVS318N.  The table is missing LAN-WAN throughput measurements on the SSL and L2TP connections as it seems the FVS318N either proxies or NATs the SSL and L2TP VPN connection to the remote client, preventing a direct LAN-WAN iperf connection.

Throughput Type

WAN – LAN Throughput
(Mbps)

LAN-WAN Throughput
(Mbps)

IPsec Site to Site 33.1 45.8
IPsec Client to Site 13.6 19.2
SSL Client to Site 1.23 **
L2TP Client to Site 4.31 **
Table 2: VPN throughput summary

As you can see, the IPsec throughput on the FVS318N is greater than that of the SSL and L2TP connections.  The SSL connection speed is the lowest, which is consistent with NETGEAR and Cisco routers using Cavium Processors and Virtual Passage SSL VPN technology. 

I put together Table 3 comparing tunnel capacity and WAN-LAN VPN performance of the FVS318G, FVS318N, the Cisco RV120W and Cisco RV220W.

  FVS318N FVS318G RV120W RV220W
IPsec Tunnels 12 5 10 25
SSL Tunnels 5 0 0 5
PPTP/L2TP Tunnels 5 L2TP 0 0 10 PPTP
IPsec Mbps 33.1 2.72 26.6 38.3
SSL Mbps 1.23 - - 0.72
PPTP/L2TP Mbps 4.31 - - 16.3
Table 3: VPN feature comparison

Clearly, the FVS318N has significantly better IPsec throughput than the FVS318G—over 10x faster!  Further, the FVS318N exceeds both the VPN capacity and throughput of the Cisco RV120W. 

Compared to the RV220W, the FVS318N falls short with IPsec capacity (12 tunnels vs. 25 tunnels) and performance with IPsec (33.1 Mbps vs. 38.3 Mbps), but is just a tad faster with SSL performance (1.23 Mbps vs. 0.72 Mbps).

Closing Thoughts

Table 4 summarizes key differences between the four routers.  Note, NETGEAR reports the FVS318N has a capacity of 6000 maximum sessions.  Tim measured only 25 max sessions, but didn't get a chance to repeat his test before sending the device to me.  I ran our max sessions test multiple times on the FVS318N and the best result I measured was 5004, a bit short of the spec, but an upgrade over its predecessor's limit of 200 sessions.

  FVS318N FVS318G RV120W RV220W
Wireless Frequency Band 2.4 GHz (single band) - 2.4 GHz (single band) 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz (dual band)
LAN Ports (8) 10/100/1000 (8) 10/100/1000 (4) 10/100 (4) 10/100/1000
Jumbo Frame Support Y N N Y
VLANs 64 0 4 16
WAN-LAN Throughput 62.3 22.5 86.7 720
LAN-WAN Throughput 60.1 22.9 86.6 728.4
Total Simultaneous Throughput 60.8 25.8 136.3 1113.1
Max Connections 5004 200 12086 34925
Price $179.00 $117.85 $114.99 $255.00
Table 4: VPN product comparison

The FVS318N is an upgrade across the board over the FVS318G.  But Cisco's RV120W provides stiffer competition. Wins for the FVS318N are its 8 Gigabit LAN ports with jumbo frames, support for more VLANs, faster IPsec performance, and more VPN tunnels including SSL.  But the FVS318N falls short of the RV120W in Wireless performance, routing throughput and price.  The FVS318N is also more expensive.  The RV120W can be found on line for $115, while the FVS318N is up around its suggested list of $179.

Cisco's RV220W ($255) is more expensive than the FVS318N with fewer LAN ports and VLANs. Yet it has higher VPN performance numbers and greater tunnel capacity plus better routing throughput.  (I must also point out the RV220W has an problem with SSL VPN tunnels and 64-bit Windows 7.)

I like that NETGEAR followed my recommendation and added jumbo frames and VLAN capability to the FVS318N.  Perhaps it wasn't on my recommendation alone, but I'm taking credit for it anyway!  In addition, I applaud NETGEAR's addition of wireless N and SSL VPN connectivity. 

Not to be overlooked, I also like the FVS318N's 8 Gigabit LAN ports.  I think that is an advantage over typical four-port devices.  Sure, you can always add a switch for more ports in your LAN, but a switch is another device, another power brick and so forth. 

The fact that jumbo frames are only supported on ports 1-4 is disappointing.  NETGEAR states this is a chipset/hardware limitation, so firmware isn’t likely to resolve this problem in the future. 

Findally, the FVS318N's L2TP configuration on 64-bit Windows 7 renders it's L2TP VPN connectivity useless for me.  I'd stick with the SSL VPN tunnels for remote client connectivity.  NETGEAR has a good track record with its SSL VPN support, going back to the FVS336G. I'd also like to see better menu performance.  It's painful waiting for a screen to refresh after a configuration. 

At the end of the day, I recommend the FVS318N as I did the FVS318G before it, for many of the same reasons. The 318N accommodates a growing network with 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, has a customizable firewall, provides usable VPN options, and now includes wireless and VLAN capability. And don't forget, NETGEAR ProSafe devices have a lifetime warranty!

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