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Linksys RVL200

At a Glance
Product Linksys 4-Port SSL/IPSec VPN Router (RVL200)
Summary 10/100 VPN router supporting one site-to-site IPSec and five SSL tunnels
Pros • SSL VPN connectivity
• Stability
• VLAN 802.1q trunk capability
• Multiple QoS options
Cons • VLAN DHCP server inconsistency
• 10/100 instead of gigabit
• Documentation and menu confusion

I’m looking at the Linksys RVL200 in this review, my first chance to look at SSL VPN technology. I've done quite a few reviews of other VPN endpoint routers, with a consistent theme being the difficulty of getting IPsec VPN Clients to work.

The Linksys RVL200 addresses this problem by using a technology that requires no client-side configuration, minimal configuration on the router and works with most major operating systems, including Vista, XP, Linux, and Mac OS.

On the surface, the RVL200 appears to be similar to other 4-port VPN gateway routers. It has capabilities like WAN support for Cable and DSL services, Firewall and NAT functions, DHCP server, Dynamic DNS, a configurable DMZ, and basic logging.

Physically, the router is very lightweight, and can be wall mounted, laid flat, or placed vertically with the included plastic stands. It looks like Linksys gave the RVL200 the same housing used with the RVS4000, reviewed back in April.

However, a closer look reveals functions that differentiate the RVL200, in particular SSL VPN and VLAN support, as well as an array of QoS options. Internally, these functions are run through a Cavium CN225 Processor tuned for VPN functionality, mated to 64MB DRAM and 16MB Flash.

Check out the slideshow Check out the slide show for internal photos and admin page screenshots.

Not counting the menu pages for the summary, wizard page, and a support page with buttons that bring up Linksys' web support and the manual, there are over 48 pages of configuration options for the RVL200. Those pages include Setup, DHCP, System and Port Management, QoS, Firewall, VPN, and SNMP/Logging configurations.

The focus of this review will be to dive into the more unique features of the RVL200 and explore their use and performance. It's great to see new functions offered in a small network product, but more importantly, they need to work! Let's take a look.


SSL connection screen
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: Router SSL connection screen

VPN support is becoming more common in small network routers, as well it should. This standardized technology is very useful for securely extending a network across the Internet to mobile employees or to remote offices, or for the home user wanting to securely access devices on their network from afar.

VPNs come in Client-Gateway and Gateway-to-Gateway forms. Client-Gateway VPNs are most useful for remote access to a network for mobile or work-from-home employees, while Gateway-to-Gateway VPNs are useful for connecting physical offices over the Internet.

The RVL200 supports both VPN tunnel types, with capacity for five SSL Client-to-Gateway tunnels and one IPSec Gateway-to-Gateway tunnel. What makes the RVL200 unique is the use of SSL VPN technology for Client-Gateway tunneling instead of IPSec or PPTP.

Other Linksys VPN routers such as the RV042 and RVS4000 use Linksys’ IPSec-based QuickVPN client software to ease the pain of setting up Client-to-Gateway tunnels. The RVL200 has eschewed the QuickVPN software for the newer SSL VPN technology.

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