DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn review

18 May 2012

A low-cost router that offers WAN redundancy features with support for both VDSL and ADSL2+

Price when reviewed: 
232exc VAT
5

With the new Vigor 2850Vn router, DrayTek has not only brought together all the features that so impressed us with the 2830Vn, it has taken things a step further. This curvy white device adds IPv6 support to the mix, plus multiple WAN ports with load-balancing and failover options.

It has a dual-function VDSL/ADSL2+ port on the front that’s capable of handling both types of connections. Ignore the misleading graphic on the website; there’s only one port, and the box includes an xDSL splitter plug to use both types together.

Along with these two options, you can also use the front USB port to connect a 3G modem, and the fourth Gigabit port is capable of functioning as either a LAN or WAN connection.

Initial setup is wizard-assisted, during which up to eight WAN load-balancing policies can be created. The combined VDSL/ADSL port is the first WAN link, the fourth Gigabit port can be set aside as the second, and a USB 3G modem is the third. The router can be set to use any of these three as a primary WAN link and fall back to a designated secondary link. Only if all three are active can you use load-balancing policies, but these can contain rules for directing specific traffic and protocols to selected interfaces.

The Vigor 2850Vn, with its three prominent aerials, supports dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi operations, but alas it’s only selectable dual-band. This means you have to choose between either 2.4GHz or 5GHz operation – the router can’t maintain both concurrently.

You can have up to four different SSIDs; each can have its own encryption scheme, and they can be isolated from each other. Traffic-rate controls can be applied to each SSID, and guests can be directed to a different web portal for each one.

DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn

For VoIP services the router has a single phone port, but two handsets can be attached simultaneously using the included port-doubler module. A PSTN port is also provided for standard analog line connection, and dialling plans can be used to choose between the two for outgoing calls. The USB port can present storage devices as CIFS shares or as an FTP site, and users each have their own home directory with read and write privileges.

It’s only a USB 1.1 port, so speeds are dreadfully slow: our tests using the FileZilla FTP client returned dismal read and write speeds of 2.1MB/sec and 1MB/sec. In terms of wireless performance, we recorded transfer rates of up to 15MB/sec when copying large files at close range over a standard 2.4GHz Wi-Fi link.

Disappointingly, Gateway antivirus and anti-spam services are still absent from DrayTek’s portfolio, but the optional Commtouch web-filtering service is good value and performs well enough: the useful app-enforcement feature allows IM users to log in and send messages, for example, but blocks file transfers and games.

Internet usage can be controlled more tightly with the user management feature. You can create up to 200 profiles that define authentication, and these are selected in firewall rules, so specific users and groups can have their own QoS settings, time schedules, web access and app-enforcement rules applied to them where necessary.

All things considered, the DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn is a good choice of router for any small business that wants top WAN redundancy, and already has gateway antivirus and anti-spam measures in place.

Best of all, its dual support for ADSL2+ and VDSL connections means when you come to do a line upgrade in the future, you won’t have to replace your hardware or even change your security settings.

Details

Price ex VAT £193

Ratings

Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5

Warranty

Warranty RTB years 3

Physical

Server format Desktop
Server configuration Desktop chassis

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 5