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Cisco RV220W Network Security Firewall review

Verdict

The optional web filtering isn’t up to much, but it’s a solid, low-cost wired and wireless security router

Review Date: 2 Aug 2011

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £164 (£197 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Cisco’s RV220W offers small businesses an affordable wired and wireless security router, but with support for both IPsec and SSL VPNs. It ups the performance over previous models by moving to Gigabit LAN and WAN ports all round, and adding support for 2.4GHz 802.11bgn and 5GHz 802.11an wireless modes.

It doesn’t support simultaneous dual-band, so you can only choose either 2.4GHz or 5GHz at any time. What you can do, though, is create up to four virtual access points, each with its own security settings. Each one has a profile defining encryption, authentication and SSID masking.

SSIDs can be switched off during certain parts of the day, and you can restrict the number of clients that can associate with each one. For secure wireless guest access, the isolation option on a virtual AP stops its wireless clients from seeing each other.

Installation is a swift process, with the web interface providing wizards for LAN, WAN and WLAN setup. The router supports up to 25 site-to-site links for IPsec VPNs, along with the same number of remote client connections.

Cisco makes light work of setting up IPsec VPNs with its freely available QuickVPN software. After creating VPN users on the router, you select the QuickVPN option as the user type. Remote users then load the utility, enter a username and password plus the IP address of the router, and QuickVPN handles the tricky bits for you.

Cisco RV220W Network Security Firewall

The router supports up to five SSL VPNs, which can have custom portals with LAN services declared for remote users. Encrypted tunnels and port-forwarding to specific resources, such as mail or web servers, are supported, and an ActiveX cache cleaner clears out session details after logging off.

Cisco also offers its optional ProtectLink Web service for content filtering. Costing around £75 exc VAT per year, this Trend Micro cloud service provides more than 80 categories that can be blocked or allowed. Alas, performance is poor. With the games and gambling categories blocked, it failed to stop us getting through to more than 20% of the test sites visited. Cisco would be better off moving to a service such as Commtouch, which we’ve always found to be far better value and much more effective.

The RV220W also offers basic web browsing controls – you can apply global black and white URL lists, and use domain name and URL keywords. These are configured in the SPI firewall rules, which also offer plenty of controls for other services.

Along with specifying port zones, sources, destinations and services in firewall rules, you can add QoS controls where one of five priority settings may be applied to a service. The router also supports a DMZ, but only allows one IP address to sidestep the firewall.

Bandwidth profiles offer more QoS controls. These define either one of three priorities, or minimum and maximum bandwidth rates. Profiles can be applied to either an IP or MAC address, a service, a VLAN or a wireless SSID.

The RV220W is easy to install and its VPN features are a cut above the rest, even if we wouldn’t recommend its optional web content filtering.

At only £164 exc VAT, the Cisco RV220W is priced just right for small businesses that are looking for a simple wired and wireless security router.

Author: Dave Mitchell

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