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Cienen VPN Review

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20th April 2015


This week I reviewed Cienen VPN to see how good of a value their VPN service was.


  • unlimited bandwidth
  • up to 7 connections
  • 7-day money back guarantee
  • fast connection


  • customer service slow/unresponsive
  • limited number of servers
  • no referral program

Overall Score:  58/100

This score is much lower than the 97/100 scored by our top rated VPN – Express VPN.

Cienen VPN is a pretty good deal overall. However, they lost points for unreliable customer service and having a very small network of servers.

To get Cienen VPN, sign up here: Cienen VPN


Get Cienen VPN Now


As the applications for the internet continue to expand, more and more of our lives are becoming digital and streamlined. This convenience comes at a price though.

With so much of our personal information always travelling through cyberspace, many of us are at risk of becoming victims of things like identity theft and fraud.

One simple way to protect your personal information while using the internet, online apps, and software is to use a VPN.

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, provide their users with an encrypted connection over a secure server, allowing them to access the internet privately and securely.

In addition, VPNs can get you through geographical content restrictions, even in countries where the government censors online content.

By changing your IP address, a VPN can get you around content blocks and give you access to blocked sites and services.

There are tons of VPN providers out there, and it can be really difficult to know which ones are worth the money.

Here I’m going to review Cienen VPN, and show you how to shop smart for the protection of a VPN.


First, Will Cienen VPN Work on My Operating System?

When you start shopping around for a VPN, the very first thing you want to look at is their operating system compatibility.

While most VPN connections can be set up on just about any device, the software itself that handles the set-up is usually only compatible with a select set of operating systems.

This is definitely the case with Cienen VPN.

Though you can manually configure any of your devices’ settings and connect to one of their servers, their software itself is only actually compatible with Windows systems.

How much this affects your purchasing decision really depends on how tech savvy you are, and how much time you’re willing into adjusting your connection settings.

Rating: 1/5 – Software only compatible with Windows


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What Kind of Features Does Cienen VPN Have?     

The next thing you’ll want to look at is the rather broad category of the VPNs features.

These can vary quite a bit, so pay close attention to which ones a VPN company has to offer, so you can ensure you’re getting the best deal for your money.

Feature #1: Multiple Connections

This refers to the ability to set up more than one connection at a time, on multiple devices, without having to purchase an additional service plan.

The reason this is so important is because if you’re like most people, you use more than one device to stay connected.

By using a VPN that allows multiple connections, you can protect yourself (and even others in your household) on all of your devices.

With Cienen VPN’s plans, you actually get up to seven simultaneous connections! It’s more common that you get two or three, so this is really great for families that use a lot of Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Rating:  5/5 – Up to 7 connections!


Feature #2:  Money Back Guarantee

This is a feature that needs little explanation. Any time you buy something, it’s important to make sure that you can get a refund if things don’t work out.

Cienen VPN offers their customers a 7-day money back guarantee, so you have plenty of time to give the connection a workout and decide if it’s right for you.

Rating:  5/5 – 7-day money back guarantee


Feature #3:  Number of Servers

The way a VPN works is by routing your connection through one of their servers, rather than the one dedicated to your usual internet connection.

It’s therefore important that the company have a wide selection of servers to choose from.

The more servers, the more locations you’ll be able to use the VPN in, and the more control you’ll have over picking a faster, less crowded server.

Cienen VPN doesn’t have a very large number of servers – only 20 across six countries. Most of their servers are located across Europe and North America, with the exception of one in Singapore.

Overall, this isn’t a very large number of servers, and in times of high traffic, you may have a hard time finding a fast server.

Rating:  2/5 – Few server options


Feature #4:  Referral Program

This isn’t a feature you’ll see very often, so when you do, make a mental note of it.

Believe it or not, there are a few VPN companies out there that will offer you perks, like free service, for referring their service to new customers.

It’s a small benefit, but if you have friends or family that are interested in protecting their information, this may be a feature to really pay attention to.

This isn’t something Cienen VPN offers their customers though, so if you sign up for their service you won’t receive any free service for referrals.

Rating:  0/5 – No referral program


Feature #5:  Data Logging

One big draw of using a VPN is the anonymity it gives the user.

Since your IP address is changed and you’re routed through a remote server, there is little chance that someone will be able to trace your activity back to you.

That being said, make sure you select a VPN that’s going to give you privacy, and not log any of your data.

Cienen VPN stays true to their word of private browsing, never logging any of their users’ data or activity.

You’ll be able to access any content you want, without having to worry about your activity being traceable back to you.

Rating:  5/5 – No data logging


Feature #6:  Bandwidth

This category refers to the amount of available capacity of the connection.

The more bandwidth a server can handle, the more users and information it can support, and the faster the connection will be.

Many VPN companies put bandwidth caps on their users to keep their servers from getting overloaded, which can restrict the amount of web content you can access at times.

Cienen VPN is great for people that do a lot of high-bandwidth activities, like stream Netflix or download music.

They offer unlimited bandwidth with all of their service plans, so you can download and stream to your heart’s content, without having to worry about hitting a limit.

Rating:  5/5 – Unlimited bandwidth


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How Secure Is It?

For most people, the security that a VPN provides is the biggest draw.

You’re selecting a company to protect you and your personal information, and it’s important that they have the credentials and technological capacity to do a good job of it.

Cienen VPN offers their customers several security protocols, as well as 128-bit encryption.

Though 256-bit encryption is more secure, the extent of that kind of encryption can sometimes slow down your connection, and 128-bit is more than sufficient in most cases.

Rating: 4.5/5 – 128 bit encryption


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What’s the Set Up Process Like?

Since the majority of people shopping for VPNs have never used one, it’s important that they be very user-friendly.

A fast, simple set up gets you off to a great start, and avoids unnecessary frustrations and calls to customer service.

Cienen VPN’s software is very simple to set up. All you do is go to the link on their website, click to download, and then install.

However, if you’re using Cienen VPN on a system other than Windows, you’ll need to follow their set up guides to manually configure the connection.

Though the process is straightforward enough with the instructions to guide you, it’s definitely more time consuming without the software.

Rating:  4/5 – Simple set up for Windows


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Is it Easy to Use?

Once you set your software set up, or the connections configured on your device, you’ll need to log in, select a server, and connect.

The best VPNs make this process simple and straightforward, while the worst make you jump through hoops and sort through tabs and menus to get to the settings you need.

Cienen VPN is pretty easy to use. Even if you’re using their software though, you won’t have a window open all the time.

To connect to the VPN on a Windows device, you’ll have to go into your notification area icons, and right click on your internet access.

From there, just select connect, and you’re in business. It’s not set up quite the same way as other VPN software out there, but it is very easy to use.

Rating: 4/5 – Simple to connect, just no software dashboard

Logging In

You’re initially prompted to log in to Cienen VPN when you first set up the software. From there, the connection stays in place in your Internet Access panel, and you won’t have to do it again.


Changing Servers

Changing servers is pretty easy with Cienen VPN – again, it’s just not as straightforward without a software dashboard.

To select a different server, just go back in to your notifications menu and click on the internet access icon. Then, right click on your VPN connection, and select properties.

From there, just select a server from the VPN Destination drop down menu.


Get Cienen VPN Now


What If I Need Help?

One important thing to look for when using any online service is great customer service.

No matter how great the software, between glitches and users that are new to the concept, at some point or another you’re likely to need tech support.

24/7 Support?

The best customer service is service that is available any time, day or night.

If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that most of us are always on the internet, and technical problems don’t wait for business hours to occur.

Though Cienen VPN claims to have 24/7 support, both times that I tried to contact their customer service via phone, I was unable to get a service representative, and just got the answering machine.

Rating:  3/5 – 24/7 support…so they say



The more ways you can get in touch with customer service, the better. This makes it more convenient for you, and allows you to set the pace of just how quickly you need a response.

Typically, VPNs offer some combination of phone, e-mail, and live chat support. Cienen VPN offers phone and e-mail support through their website.

Keep in mind that the phone number for customer service is a New York number and not toll free, so long distance charges may apply if you’re using a land line.

Rating: 3/5 – No live chat feature


Get Cienen VPN Now


Customer Support Test

There’s no better way to gauge a company’s customer service department than by putting it to the test.

I did just that with Cienen VPN, contacting them at two different times of the day by both phone and e-mail.

I wanted to see how their response time and service quality varied both during peak and off business hours.

E-mail Support Test #1 – Tuesday/10:48 p.m.

I sent my original request for assistance around 11 o’clock in the evening, with a simple inquiry about connecting to a different server.

Within 5 hours I had received a response. Service at this time of night wasn’t the fastest, but it was very polite and helpful.


E-mail Support Test #2-Wednesday/5:45 p.m.

I sent my second request for assistance at a more reasonable hour, in the hopes of getting a faster response.

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t get any response. 24 hours later, I had still received no response to my inquiry.

Result: No response

Rating: 0/5 – Never got a reply


Phone Support Test #1 – Tuesday/3:30 p.m.

I first tried contacting Cienen VPN’s phone support in the later part of the afternoon, to gauge their wait times during typical peak business hours, but I never even got the chance.

I was greeted by an automatic recording, stating they were currently unavailable, and inviting me to leave a message. So much for 24/7.

Result:  No response

Rating: 0/5 – Got answering machine


Phone Support Test #2 – Tuesday/11:14 p.m.

I tried contacting Cienen VPN’s customer service a second time, this time much later in the evening, and well outside standard business hours.

In theory, if their customer service is 24/7, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, once again I was greeted with an answering machine.

Result: No response

Rating:  0/5 – No answer

Overall Support Rating:  0/15    No Support


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How Fast is Cienen VPN?

The problem with some VPNs is that their amazing encryption can really slow down the connection.

If all of that security means your internet is slow, it doesn’t do you much good for the day to day online activities.

Since Cienen VPN does 128 rather than 256 bit encryption, I wanted to see if that made their connection any faster.

I ran two speed tests, one with my standard internet connection, and one through their L2TP VPN protocol.


Without Cienen VPN


With Cienen VPN

Surprisingly, the connection was actually faster with the VPN than with my home server!

Most VPNs that I use run just a couple Mbps slower than my standard connection, so I was very surprised to see that this one was actually faster.

This coupled with the fact that 128-bit encryption is more than secure, makes Cienen VPN really stand out in this category.

Rating: 5/5 – Very fast connection


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How Much Does Cienen VPN Cost?

Fortunately, VPNs are usually pretty cheap. Most pricing models are set up as monthly rates. You can typically pay a higher rate month to month, or get a discount for purchasing more at a time.


Cienen VPN runs their pricing models a little differently, with monthly rates that vary based on the amount of access and security you get.

Prices range from $10-$15 a month, which is the high side of mid-range for a VPN cost.

Rating: 3.5/5 – Affordable, but not the cheapest


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The X Factor

The X factor isn’t really one specific trait of a VPN, but more of your general impression of the company and their product as a whole.

It’s like the feeling you get when you buy a cheap pair of shoes from China, versus some nice boots made in America – you either feel like you’re getting a deal, or like you’re settling.

The thing I noticed the most about Cienen VPN was that a lot of their major selling points were full of technical jargon that may be difficult for a lot of customers to interpret as good or bad.

All of this information really complicated what they were trying to sell me. It comes down to marketing, and in this case I think it could be a lot simpler and better explained to the customer.

Rating:  4/10 – Lots of technical information


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There are a lot of things to check out when you shop around for a VPN.

With so many companies that offer so many different features, it’s good to go through a breakdown like the one we just did, and really evaluate whether you’re getting the most for your money.

Let’s recap:

Pros of Cienen VPN:

  • connection can be set up on any device
  • up to 7 simultaneous connections
  • 7-day money back guarantee
  • unlimited bandwidth
  • no data logging
  • simple set up
  • easy to use
  • affordable monthly rates
  • 24/7 e-mail support
  • very fast connection


  • software only compatible with Windows
  • no referral program
  • limited number of servers
  • unresponsive phone support
  • plans difficult to differentiate due to technical details


Overall Score:  58/100

For a fast connection on all of your devices, head over to their website to sign up for a service plan if Cienen VPN sounds like a good deal to you.

To get Cienen VPN, sign up here: Cienen VPN

To see the highest rated VPN that scored a 97/100, click here:   Express VPN.

7.1 Total Score
Cienen VPN Review

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Lyndon Seitz News maker and gatherer. Editor-in-Chief of Secure Thoughts.

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