|At a glance|
|Product||Cisco Dual WAN Gigabit PoE VPN Router (RV345P) [Website]|
|Summary||Dual-WAN 16 port Gigabit business VPN router with 802.3at PoE support|
|Pros||• Supports PPTP, IPsec, L2TP and SSL VPN|
• Supports USB WWAN dongle
• Easy to configure
• Supports application and web filtering
|Cons||• Security feature and SSL license fees (both router and client side)|
• No OpenVPN support
• Slow web admin
Typical Price: $380 Buy From Amazon
It's been awhile since I've reviewed a Cisco small business router, going back to the RV320 in 2014. Cisco released their newest RV34x series routers back in early 2017. The lineup includes the RV340 dual WAN/4 LAN port, RV345 dual WAN/16 LAN port and the RV345P dual WAN/16 LAN port router with 8 Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports. In this review, I'm going to look at the RV345P.
An executive summary of the RV345P's features is bulleted below. The full feature list can be found here.
- 2 WAN ports (RJ-45) allow load balancing and resiliency
- 16 LAN ports (8 data and 8 PoE ports, up to 30W per port
- 2 USB ports for 3G/4G modem or flash drive
- VPN functionality (IPSec, L2TP, PPTP, SSL)
- Support for Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client
- Dynamic web filtering
- Internet access policies
- Limited lifetime warranty and 1 year support included
The RV345P has a metal case measuring 11" x 1.75" x 6.75". It includes rubber feet for desktop use and comes with rack mounting hardware. As shown in the below image, the WAN and LAN ports are all on the front of the RV345P. The power connector and on/off switch are on the rear, with USB ports on the front and right side of the chassis that can be used to connect a flash drive or a 3G/4G WWAN modem for additional redundancy.
Cisco RV34P FrontThe RV345P is passively cooled, even though it supports eight PoE ports. It probably helps heat management that the power supply is external. A shot of the main board is below.
Cisco RV34P Mainboard
The board contains 256 MB flash, 1 GB RAM, and according to Cisco, "the most powerful processor(s) we have ever used (on the RV series)". All heatsinks were firmly attached, so I didn't remove them and risk damage. The unmarked processor is located under the heatsink circled in the above image. Cisco, however, said all RV34X series products are based on NXP's dual core ARM Cortex-A9 based QorIQ LS1024 and switches from Realtek.
The table shows key components for three RV series routers.
|Cicso RV34X||Cisco RV320||Cisco RV042 v3|
|CPU||NXP QorIQ LS1024A @ 900MHz||300 MHz Cavium CN5020||300 MHz Cavium CN5010|
|Switch||Realtek||Broadcom BCM53125M||Realtek RTL8309G|
|RAM||1024 MB||256 MB||128 MB|
|Flash||256 MB||64 MB||32 MB|
Table 1: Cisco RV series key component comparison
Cisco lists the firmware for the RV345P as Linux based. However, the RV345P is configured via browser-based Graphical User Interface (GUI). The GUI is similar to previous models of Cisco RV routers I've used, so I found it intuitive and easy to use. As in previous Cisco RV routers, there remains a lag between clicking "Apply" on a configuration and the action's completion, as well as when navigating between screens. A "Please wait..." message, shown below, is presented. In other words, the web GUI is pretty poky. Unfortunately, the GUI is your only administration option; the RV34X series does not support command line administration.
Configuration LagThere are twelve main menus, including Getting Started, Status and Statistics, Administration, System Configuration, WAN, QoS, LAN, Routing, Firewall, VPN, and Security. Each menu has 3-14 different sub-menus. Below is a screenshot showing the main menus.
My test device came with the latest firmware, v1.0.01.17, so there was no need to use the GUI's Administration-File Management sub-menu to update firmware.
The Setup Wizard has a simple five-step process to set up the WAN connection, set the time on the router, and edit the WAN MAC address if necessary. I ran this Wizard and quickly had the router passing traffic to and from the Internet.
The RV345P is a Dual WAN router, with two additional USB ports for connecting a 3G/4G modem to connect to WWAN services for additional WAN redundancy. The default config on the RV345P is for WAN1 to be the priority, WAN2 to be second priority, USB1 third, and USB2 as fourth as shown below.
I connected both WAN1 and WAN2 to different Internet connections and set up a continuous ping to the Internet. I then physically disconnected WAN1. One ping dropped before the RV345P failed over to WAN2. I reconnected WAN1 and traffic eventually routed back over WAN1 without interruption, validating the RV345P's Dual WAN capability.
More advanced Dual WAN management can be applied to load balance or distribute traffic over both WAN connection, as well as apply policies to direct specific traffic types over one or the other WAN connection.
With 16 LAN ports, the RV345P provides a convenient all-in-one router and switch solution for a small network. The RV345P LAN menu provides options for enabling Port Mirroring, PoE, VLANs, DHCP servers, 802.1X authentication and IPv6 support.
In two steps, I had tagged VLANs running on the RV345P. First, I simply added a VLAN (VLAN 7). The RV345P conveniently made all ports untagged members of VLAN 1 and tagged members of VLAN 7. Second, I used the step-by-step DHCP menu to add a DHCP server on VLAN 7 using the 192.168.7.0/24 network. Below is a screenshot showing VLAN1 and VLAN7 configured on the RV345P.
I connected an 802.1Q-capable access point to port 1, with SSIDs configured for both VLAN 1 and VLAN 7. I was able to connect to both VLANs and get IP addresses from the correct subnet based on the SSID I attached to, validating the RV345P's VLAN tagging capability.