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on June 19, 2012
The VFG6005N is a mixed-bag. On the one hand, my internet speeds, wireless speeds, and wireless range increased when switching to the VFG6005N from a DIR-655. This router features a NAT "Hardware Accelerator," and while I do not have any hard data on performance with and without the accelerator, anecdotally, webpages are noticeably faster than on the DIR-655, which is a great router in and of itself. It was worth noting, however, that enabling bandwidth management or PPTP will disable the accelerator. The router also provides useful charts on data usage and open sessions, and is natively compatible with OpenDNS. Additionally, site-to-site IPsec (Openswan based) and PPTP worked flawlessly, and the VPN performance was significantly better than the previous VPN routers I had used (FVS-318 v3, DIR-130, WRV54g, BEFVP41). On the other hand, though, the router has some rather serious issues.

With routers it is important to note the firmware version, and my VFG6005N came with version VFG6005N_V2.07(VFN.1)A0. I could not find an upgrade on ZyXEL's website (an example of a poorly designed website), but I have read on some forums that a newer firmware is available upon direct request to ZyXEL. I put in an email to customer support but am yet to hear back. I will update if I receive new firmware.

Here are my issues with firmware VFG6005N_V2.07(VFN.1)A0. First, I cannot choose the wireless mode: B/G, B/G/N, N-only. The drop-down box, although appearing in the instruction manual, is missing from the "Wireless - Basic" options. Second, there is no static routing. While this is a somewhat advanced feature, almost every router I've had in the past 5 years had it. Moreover, it becomes of critical importance on a VPN router in passing traffic between multiple subnets. It appears the router automatically establishes routes for site-to-site IPsec tunnels and PPTP users, but the router threw an error in the log when attempting to automatically add a route for a road-warrior IPsec tunnel. Because this is allegedly a entry-business-grade VPN router, the omission of static routing is somewhat alarming. Third, the router does not have a admin page which clearly identifies whether a VPN is connected. Even worse, I have found that the IPsec page will show a tunnel as disconnected when it is, in fact, connected. Forth, while both the instruction manual and the firmware offer L2TP tunnels, based upon the router logs, the L2TP server (an l2tpd implementation) starts but does not respond to incoming requests. Fifth, the status page (the default and most useful page) has an advertisement for BitDefender. Unless ZyXEL wants to sell the VFG6005N at a discount because it is ad-supported, I find this advertisement to be in poor taste. Sixth, and this may be unique to me, but I could not get the VFG6005N to sync with my DDNS account. A critical issue for remote access. Finally, there is no HTTPS page for administration of the router.

Given the router's excellent speed, I hope that future firmware fixes these issues, but at present, I struggle to recommend the VFG6005N for anything other than a basic wireless-N router. Given its $100 price tag, a dual-band router from Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, or ASUS would probably be a better.

----------Update 6/20/12-------------

ZyXEL customer support responded to my email. The support personnel pointed me to a Box.com account with the most recent firmware: v2.07(VFN.3)A0_20120607. This firmware fixed my DDNS issue but removed the option of a L2TP VPN, even though L2TP never worked in the first place. I also am now able to select between B/G, B/G/N, and N-only wireless. While the updated firmware does not really help my opinion of the VFG6005N, it does give me hope that ZyXEL will continue to improve its product.

----------Update 10/03/12-------------

ZyXEL released new firmware for the VFG6005N on September 10, 2012: v2.07(VFN.3)A0_20120718. Although ZyXEL has no change log or release notes for the update, the firmware seems to address some stability problems which had presented since I put the router into service. Before the update, the web administration for the router stopped functioning every couple of days even though internet traffic would still pass. A reboot typically fixed the issue, but sometimes the router would hang on reboot and fail to pass traffic. Since the update, the router has been stable. As for other features, I have not seen any changes, and without release notes, it is difficult to tell. The road-warrior IPsec does seem to be more reliable. However, this is anecdotal at best.

----------Update 10/23/12-------------
After the stability improvements from September firmware update, I began using this device as my primary firewall. This increased usage has made apparent several of the routers significant flaws. The lack of HTTPS support for the web administration is practically unforgivable on a entry-level SOHO router. Further, the list of compatible USB 3G devices is abysmal, and a recent email with ZyXEL customer support indicates that the chance of expanded compatibility (i.e. adding more 4G devices) is unlikely in the future. That same email with ZyXEL customer support also indicated that XAUTH will not be added to the IPsec server. Finally, while the recent firmware did improve things, the web administration still crashes from time to time, requiring a reboot. In fact, when writing this review, the web administration would not load.

----------Update 5/17/13-------------
The firmware has not been updated since September of 2012, and the product has been moved from ZyXEL's "On-going" product line to its "Legacy" product line.
77 comments|34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 21, 2012
I've had the VFG6005N wireless firewall router working fine for more than 6 weeks now.
The basic configuration works fine. Port forwarding works fine; I've confirmed
via nmap on Windows 7 that the DMZ works fine. I've contacted Zyxel twice by phone
and the support is good. I would have given the product 5 stars but I think the
documentation could be better by explaining things more thoroughly and clearly -- but you can
get the background info you need by googling the web and reading wikipedia --
although even that assumes you are fairly computer literate.
As just one example, the documentation fails to say that the ACL will only restrict outgoing traffic,
not incoming traffic meeting the same criteria.
Nonetheless, it is very easy just to get the router up and running with a basic configuration --
no special knowledge needed there.
Zyxel does have a new version of the firmware available upon phone request -- it does not show up
on their website downloads -- and it is not reflected in their documentation and there are
no release notes. So, once again, under documentation. But I am still pleased that
I bought it -- it works fine. Incidentally, the new firmware is v2.07(VFN.3)A0_2012_02_09
-- note the date of the firmware.
11 comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 7, 2012
For starters, I am a IT Consultant with over 15 years experience.

I purchased 2 of these routers for a customer looking for an affordable wireless router that had Site to Site VPN capability. They replaced a more expensive but featured limited netgear model. I have been using ZyXEL WAPS a lot lately and they have been working great so I though I would give this unit a try and I wasn't disappointed.

Install was simple, though the GUI isn't as polished as the latest netgear or linksys routers. Setup of NAT port maps was straightforward and worked as expected. Setup of the VPN was also pretty simple but I was a little confused by the GUI showing two red "lights" seemingly indicating the VPNs were not connected. In fact I couldn't find anywhere in the GUI that shows the status of the Site to Site VPN connections. I had to run a ping to the remote subnet to ensure everything was working. Overall I would say I am happy with the device considering the price.

Pros:
Simple to setup
More options than standard "home" routers
Site to Site VPN works great

Cons:
No static DHCP control
GUI basic, no very polished
No indication VPN is connected
Can't find firmware updates (though no need for one)
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on February 5, 2016
In my ham radio shack I had a lot of 2M radio noise from my old firewall router. This one provides fast Wi-Fi signal delivery and no spurious rf noise. While most folks are not concerned with stray rf in a normal home environment, in a ham radio studio it is imperative that no stray rf is present or it creates bad noise in the radios. This was a great choice.

Quiet, fast, well constructed.
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on October 4, 2011
At the time of this writing, reviews on this product were few and far between. I went ahead and gambled on the purchase. This unit has replaced an older USR8200 VPN router, a small Gigabit hub and a B/G WiFi access point. That was my intent, to replace 3 devices with one while upgrading to wireless n. The unit was easy enough to configure for someone that knows what they're after although I wouldn't call it a no brainer. After a few months of being up and running, the unit has proven stable and reliable. So like any new tech, you may have a couple headaches getting everything up and running the way you want it but once configured, this little unit seems to be a solid performer. I have not yet connected my USB modem so I cannot comment on how well that fail-over feature works.
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on December 18, 2015
This is a lousy VPN router. Everything works fine except for the VPN ! The IPSec implementation is crippled -- it doesn't support xauth nor does it support arbitrary networks, which means you can only tunnel the network that your router is configured for. You can't, for example, tunnel your internet connection through the VPN. To top it all off, the IPSec implementation isn't stable. After a short time, you eventually get into a point where the tunnel disconnects, and you can't reconnect to the router because it thinks you're still connected. At that point, you're basically locked out until you power cycle the router.

On the bright side, its bandwidth management functionality seems to work quite well, and the hardware has enough muscle to handle the bandwidth you throw at it. The disappointing part is that the maximum bandwidth that this router supports is 50mbps, so if you have an internet connection of 80 mbps, the router can only push 50 through its bandwidth reservation/throttlling functionality.
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on April 17, 2013
I've gotta admit that I'm probably barely scratching the surface of what this can do. I moved into a 3 month vacation rental property and several of my computers started doing strange things... Windows firewall shutting down, anti-virus shutting down... all sorts of weirdness. You never know how someone else configured the network and it isn't mine, so I can't go mucking about with someone else's network. I pulled the computers off the network and got things cleaned up, but before reconnecting to the world, I bought this little guy. After a quick 10 minute configuration/setup and patching this into the rental property's router, I had a new wireless network behind the built-in firewall. No problems since!

When I start traveling again and get to a permanent home, I may set up the VPN, but for now I'm happy knowing that I'm a bit more protected.
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on April 22, 2015
This has been solid since I received it. I have a few VPN tunnels to customer locations and have seen no issues with those either - they are always up and available and do not seem to slow my internet speeds at all. Would purchase another in a heartbeat. Actually, now that I think about it...I should have purchased more than one since used ones are now selling for double what I paid new 2-3 years ago.
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on January 29, 2013
This is such an innovative VPN router, with great throughput. I really like the hardware NAT accelleration. It can handle numerous simultaneous NAT sessions. With that said, the user interface regularly stops responding when there's even the slightest usage. Zyxel hasn't released any new firmware for this device. They don't seem interested in fixing it. Overall disappointed, as Zyxel used to be the way to go. Now I believe there are better options.
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on January 27, 2015
I bought this item as a spare for the office, as in our experience, firewall routers periodically wear out. To avoid downtime, I got one of these firewall routers, having had good luck with one before. However, when I attempted to install it, it did not work. It was DOA. I tried everything to get it to work, including a dedicated ethernet line to the router alone, but to no avail. Its an expensive paperweight and the warranty period expired long ago. If you buy one as a spare, make sure it works right away and don't assume that it works. Silly me, as I relied on ZyXel's reputation rather than good sense.
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