We've been using the Cisco/Linksys RVS4000 Small Business Router in our Montreal office, which has suited our needs for some time.

Recently, we upgraded our Internet connection to a lean 100Mbps/100Mbps fiber connection from Openface here in Montreal.

Once the new connection was installed, we fired up a speed test to see just what our router can handle. As we somewhat expected, the results were a little underwhelming. It seemed as though our router just couldn't handle the load. We confirmed this by observing the average ping times during the speed tests (since we hadn't set up SNMP monitoring to get any kind of CPU or memory readings off the router).

While the router was idle, we'd get a nice 0.9ms ping time. During the speed tests (which effectively push the router to its limits), we observed ping times between 30-60ms. This clearly indicated to us that the router was struggling. Attempting to load the web administration interface during this time also confirmed our assumption as the pages would load very slowly, if at all.

Here was the best speeds we saw over a week period:

Given that the speed test server we did our tests with was our ISP, Openface, we knew the router had to be the limiting factor.

We scoured the web looking to see if anyone had pushed this router beyond 20Mbps. We found numerous mixed reviews scattered on the web, many of which complained about this exact issue.

We decided to review the router's configurations. We realized we hardly use any of the router's features, many of which were turned on by default and were forcing it to do unnecessary work. Firewall, NAT, DHCP is about all we actually need. We have other systems in place to handle things like VPN, etc...

Here's what we did:

  • Install the absolute newest firmware (1.3.2.0 at the moment). This rules out any known bugs which we may have been facing.
  • Disable logging and email alerts of all kinds. We weren't using them anyways.
  • Disable SNMP monitoring. If something happens with the router, we'll notice faster than SNMP, trust me ;)
  • This is the big one: Disable IPS. With the firewall and other security measures we have beyond the router, we felt this had to go if we were going to get top speeds.

The result:

Wow. What a difference it makes. We haven't seen reports of anyone getting speeds as good as this using the RVS4000. Not bad for a $129.99 CAD router.

We realize this isn't a permanent solution, but we're more than happy with it while we search for a replacement router with more "beef" to it. Additional features like One-to-One NAT and dual-WAN will be a nice improvement when we do switch to something a little more "enterprise" grade.

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