iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






U.S.Robotics Secure Storage Router Pro (USR8200)


  1. Overview
  2. Circuitry
  3. Summary table of device specifications
  4. Excursus to settings
  5. Performance tests
  6. LAN-WAN segment performance, NetIQ Chariot
  7. LAN-WAN segment performance, NetPIPE
  8. IPSec performance, DES encryption
  9. IPSec performance, 3DES encryption
  10. IPSec performance, tunnel scaling, 3DES encryption, two tunnels
  11. IPSec performance, tunnel scaling, 3DES encryption, three tunnels
  12. PPTP performance
  13. PPTP performance, tunnel scaling, two tunnels
  14. PPTP performance, tunnel scaling, three tunnels
  15. File-server feature
  16. 3CR860 and 3CR870 security tests
  17. Availability
  18. Conclusions

Some time ago our lab got hold of a new model from U.S.Robotics – Secure Storage Router Pro. This device is a multifunctional router with the VPN server and client support as well as with integrated functions of a network database. USR8200 also has an embedded print-server (for USB printers).

So many functions in this device protracted the tests, but nothing lasts forever and so I'm pleased to share the results of these tests. The most impatient readers may skip the body (the most informative part) of this article and jump right to the conclusions section. For the rest of you we shall tell everything like it is.

The device is assembled in a stylish plastic black case (traditional color for U.S.Robotics). The front panel hosts 4 green LEDs indicating LAN ports, one LED for WAN port, IEEE1394(Firewire) indicator, and two USB indicators, plus a two-color Power LED.

All interfaces are on the rear panel of USR8200. Except for the traditional 4 x LAN, 1 x WAN, the Reset button and a power connector, you can see 2 x USB 2.0 and 1 x FireWire. They serve to connect external storage systems (NAS, network attached storage) with corresponding interfaces, e.g. U.S.Robotics 250GB USB 2.0 + FireWire Storage Drive. You can also connect USB-Flash disks to the USB port. They obviously cannot be compared with NAS system capacities, nevertheless there already exist Flash disks of several gigabytes.

Having been connected to USR8200, any storage device will be accessible from LAN via SMB protocol (that is via network environment, as in Windows File Sharing) and via FTP server, which is also supported by USR8200.

Besides a storage device, you can also connect a printer to the USB port (if your printer supports USB connection, of course). In this case the print-server imbedded into USR8200 will provide access to this printer for the entire LAN.

The bottom of the device has four lugs with rubber feet to put the device horizontally, but it lacks any holes to fix it on vertical surfaces.

By the way, these feet have another function – they allow to stack the devices in a pile (the resulting construction is quite stable). In the same manner you can place 802.11g Wireless Turbo Multi-Function Access Point (this access point has a smaller case) on USR8200.

Thus you may get quite a high tower :).

The bundle includes a power unit, a quick installation guide, a patch cord, and a CD with detailed documentation (in English) and additional software - Norton Internet Security 2003 (NIS), Norton Personal Firewall 2003 (NPF) and USR iBand.

The latter docks as another toolbar and displays the real time load of the network interface.

VPN server embedded into USR8200 supports IPSec (tunnel and transport modes, with DES/3DES encryption) and PPTP protocols, the latter can be in the server as well as in the client mode. Besides, it can pass corresponding sessions through the router. Such features allow USR8200 to organize distributed networks and connect their segments with encrypted tunnels (via Internet). For example, you can connect several remote offices into a single local network or you can connect remote users (working at home or on business trip) to a company's local network.

It goes without saying that the device has a traffic filtering control interface (filtering by IP addresses/protocols and WEB filtering).

USR8200 Circuitry

As is the case with USR5450, you cannot disassemble the router without damaging its surface appearance – one of the screws is hidden under a sticker on the bottom of the case. And nodoby allowed us to damage the device appearance.

But, according to the information from U.S.Robotics web site, the heart of the system is the Intel IXP422 network processor based on XScale technology. Its XScale core operates at 266 MHz, this processor contains the following embedded controllers: PCI 2.2 bus controller, SDRAM controller, USB 1.1 controller, and two independent 10/100 Base-T Ethernet MAC controllers. Note that USR8200 has two USB 2.0 ports, they are obviously based (like IEEE1394 port) on some external controllers.

Besides the above-mentioned, the network processor incorporates IPsec-enabled Network Processor Engine (NPE) supporting DES/3DES, AES, SHA-1/MD5. According to the datasheet on this processor, the architecture of Intel IXP422 network processor allows encryption/decryption at up to 70 Mbit/sec speed. We are particularly interested how exact this figure is in terms of AES encryption, which is the "heaviest" mode.

USR8200 has 16Mb flash and 64Mb SDRAM, it operates under Jungo's OpenRG, which in its turn is based on Linux kernel (presumably its 2.4.x branch).

USR8200 Specification

Specs for both devices are similar, that's why we publish them in one summary table (differences between the devices are noted in the table).

Case plastic, allows only a horizontal position of the device as well as stacking several devices into a pile
Wireline segment
LAN number of ports 4
auto MDI/MDI-X yes
Block interfaces manually yes, all LAN ports simultaneously
Set MTU size manually yes
WAN number of ports 1
auto MDI/MDI-X yes
Block the interface manually yes
Set MTU size manually yes
connection types supported static IP address yes
dynamic IP address yes
PPTP yes
PPPoE yes
main functions
Access arrangement method Network Address Translation (NAT) and NAPT
NA[P]T features one-to-many NAT (standard) yes
one-to-one NAT unknown, though you can specify several WAN addresses
NAT disable option (router mode) yes, as well as a bridge mode
Device configuration and setup administration web interface yes
native control utility in Windows no
telnet yes
COM port no
SSH no
save and load configurations yes
embedded DHCP server yes
UPnP support yes
Internal clock yes
time synchronization NTP, TOD
Built-in utilities ICMP ping yes
traceroute no
address resolving no
Logging events yes, very detailed
logging firewall rule execution yes, but all at once (dropped packets)
storage in the device yes
in the external Syslog server no
sending to email yes
SNMP SNMP Read support yes
SNMP Write support ?
SNMP Traps support no
Features of the embedded filters and the firewall
Filter types by MAC address no
by IP address src/dst, by range as well
by protocol/port protocol, src/dst port, by range as well
by URL no
by domain yes, but only exact matches (masks are not supported)
content filtering services no
Virtual servers create yes
set different public/private ports for a virtual server no
set DMZ yes
Embedded firewall yes, flexible and functional, you can set up rules for IN and/or OUT traffic for any existing interface (LAN, WAN, IPSec, PPTP)
SPI support (Sateful Packet Inspection) yes
application support (netmeeting, quicktime, etc) yes, (using rule presets or creating custom rules)
action types allow yes, including "allow all packets for this connection (using SPI)"
deny yes
log yes
rule criteria src interface lan/wan yes, as any other existing interface
dst interface lan/wan yes, as any other existing interface
src ip/range yes
dst ip/range yes
src protocol yes, TCP/UDP/ICMP type/GRE/ESP/AH or you may specify the protocol number
dst protocol yes, TCP/UDP/ICMP type/GRE/ESP/AH or you may specify the protocol number
src port/range yes
dst port/range yes
time reference no
VPN features
IPSec server Tunnel types Gateway--Gateway yes, theoretically up to 253 tunnels
remote user access yes, you cannot set up anonymous access (without specifying IP address of a remote user)
authentication types pre shared key yes
certificates yes, locally stored only
hashing algorithms SHA1 yes
MD5 yes
encryption algorithms DES yes
3DES yes
AES no
add records to the routing table of the IPSec tunnel yes, plus RIP support
IPSec tunnel filtering (firewall) yes
L2TP server no
PPTP server yes, using MPPE 40/128-bit encryption
VPN pass through IPSec yes (capability to operate simultaneously with IPSec server is unknown)
L2TP no
PPTP yes (capability to operate simultaneously with PPTP server is unknown)
traffic shaping
traffic shaping not available
Manual records WAN interface yes
LAN interface yes
extra manual records for any existing interface
Dynamic routing WAN interface disable yes
RIPv1 yes, send and/or receive
RIPv2 yes, send and/or receive
LAN interface disable yes
RIPv1 yes, send and/or receive
RIPv2 yes, send and/or receive
extra dynamic routing activation is possible for any existing interface
Additional information
embedded print-server yes, for printers with USB interface
Additional features 2 x USB2.0 and IEEE1394 interfaces to connect external storage devices, data access via integrated ftp-server or SMB protocol
Firmware version 2.6.12 (dated Oct 1 2003 11:06:21)
Power supply external power adapter, 12VDC


Evgeniy Zaitsev (eightn@ixbt.com)
24 August, 2004

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