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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

The RV110W is Wi-Fi Certified and properly defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth mode on power-up. I successfully ran a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) session with my Win 7 client by entering the WPS code found on the router's bottom label. The WPS session completed quickly and resulted in a WPA2/AES secured connection with the same WPA2 pre-shared key. All tests were run with this secured connection using our latest wireless test process.

The 2.4 GHz downlink chart in Figure 8, filtered to show single band routers only, shows the RV110W ranking near the bottom of the top third and slightly above the RV 120W and below the Linksys E1500.

RV110W Performance rank - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink
Figure 8: RV110W Performance rank - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

So I pulled those two, plus another VPN router, the Draytek Vigor 2130n into the Performance table in Figure 9 for a closer look. The Draytek doesn't support 40 MHz bandwidth mode, but in 20 MHz mode, it's the best of the bunch running uplink.

All the Ciscos are more alike than different, although the RV 120W consistently turns in the weakest strong signal uplink performance. The 110W's highest throughput of 63.9 Mbps was obtained in Location A running downlink in 20 MHz bandwidth mode. Note that the same test in 40 MHz bandwidth mode yielded about the same, i.e. 62.3 Mbps.

Wireless Performance table
Figure 9: Wireless Performance table

Using bandwidth-hogging 40 MHz bandwidth mode doesn't provide higher throughput for a single connection. But I was able to measure 80 Mbps total throughput when running a simultaneous up and downlink test. Using 40 MHz mode also seemed to help the abysmal 20 MHz mode uplink performance in weaker signal Locations D and F.

The IxChariot throughput plot summary in Figure 10 shows some large throughput dropouts during the stronger signal level runs, which I encountered during multiple retries. You can see this also in the 40 MHz mode downlink plot linked below.

IxChariot plots - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink
Figure 10: IxChariot plots - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Here are links to the other plots for your reference:

Closing Thoughts

I've flipped back and forth in my feelings about the RV110W during my time reviewing it. But in the end, I think it's a good addition to the range of options for connecting remote users securely back into their home or office LANs. Cisco's QuickVPN method is, for the most part, quick and easy to get working. And you'll never have to futz with a single IPsec setting, something that has been known to drive perfectly sane people to the brink.

As long as you understand QuickVPN's limitations, which Cisco should make more clear—perhaps in a whitepaper (nudge, nudge)—you might even grow to prefer it over using a standard IPsec client.

Cisco has really squeezed a lot out of Broadcom's router SoC, including managing to get 5 Mbps of 3DES encrypted VPN throughput, VLANs with routing among multiple subnets, priority based up and downlink QoS, 100 Mbps wire-speed routing, and decent—although not outstanding—802.11b/g/n wireless. Doing all that and getting it on store shelves for way under $100 could make the RV110W the product to bring easy-to-use VPN to the masses.

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