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Wireless Reviews


Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

As described in our New To The Charts article on the RV 120W, at just shy of 90 Mbps, routing performance isn't the highest we've tested, but perfectly adequate for many broadband connections.  While spec junkies may like having a router with hundreds of Mbps throughput for bragging rights, all that extra throughput doesn't do anything when used with slower Internet service.

Figure 14 is a screenshot of the Router Charts' WAN to LAN benchmark, filtered to show only Cisco and Linksys routers, so you can see where the RV 120W ranks.

WAN to LAN throughput chart

Figure 14: WAN to LAN throughput chart

Table 2 lists the router performance for the Cisco RV 120W along with the Cisco E1000 and E3000, as well as two IPsec VPN routers, the Draytek 2130n and the NETGEAR FVS318G

Total Simultaneous
Maximum Connections
Cisco Linksys E3000 218.4 249.4 257.5 12,277
Cisco RV 120W 86.7 86.6 136.3 12,086
Cisco Linksys E1000 89.5 90 88.1 8,192
Draytek 2130n 638.2 691.1 765.7 16,384
NETGEAR FVS318G 22.5 22.9 25.8 200
Table 2: Routing Throughput comparison

The RV 120W beats the NETGEAR across the board, but lags way behind the Draytek, which has Gigabit WAN and LAN ports. Note, however, that the 2130n provided a little over only 1 Mbps of 3DES encrypted tunnel throughput.

We've tested only one other VPN router with built-in 802.11n radio, again the Draytek 2130n. So that's what's compared in the Wireless Performance Table in Figure 15.

Wireless performance comparison

Figure 15: Wireless performance comparison

The Draytek and Cisco have similar downlink throughput. But the Draytek is faster running uplink with a strong to medium signal. The RV 120W is the winner in 40 MHz bandwidth mode because the 2130n doesn't support that mode.

Closing Thoughts

There are a lot of Linksys/Cisco routers in the wild and I've worked with many different models.  So, I found the configuration and feel of the RV 120W familiar and intuitive.  Moreover, testing the RV 120W was a pleasure.  The manual is relatively clear and the RV 120W functioned as the manual and specs said it would.

Cisco has loaded the RV 120W with some significant strengths.  I love the fact that IPv6 is included and the firewall is highly customizable.  I also found the VLAN functionality solid, and the VPN capability easy to configure and use and stable in use. The single-band 802.11n wireless is an overall plus with its four SSID support, even if its uplink throughput is a bit weak. And routing and VPN throughput will make the most of bandwidth available to many small business users. The main downside on the wired side is the 10/100 Ethernet ports. But that's nothing that a small uplinked Gigabit switch can't solve.

Table 4 highlights features and pricing details for the RV 120W and NETGEAR and Draytek routers previously compared. 

  IPsec tunnels Gigabit Ports WAN Ports Price
Cisco RV 120W 20 No 1 $134
Draytek 2130n 2 Yes 1 $180
NETGEAR FVS318G 5 Yes 1 $129
Table 4: Price comparison

It's obvious that the RV 120W looks like a pretty good deal, especially when you consider that the NETGEAR doesn't have wireless built in and includes only one license for its IPsec client.

Bottom line, the Cisco RV 120W has the right mix of performance, features, support, ease of use and, let's face it, the Cisco name that will make it a popular choice for many small businesses in need of a reliable and easy-to-use IPsec router.

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