The Vigor2850 is not your average router – the fact that the Getting Started guide runs to 36 pages tells you that instantly – but it is impressively powerful.
The very fact it supports all the UK’s various ADSL standards plus the VDSL standard used by BT Infinity makes is highly unusual. What is pretty amazing is that you can use both ADSL and VDSL at the same time if you have the connections. You can also add in another Wan connection via an Ethernet port to say a cable modem and even add in a third using a 3G USB modem (you have to supply this). It comes fitted with a Four-Port Gigabit Ethernet LAN Switch and if that wasn’t enough also comes with Dual-Band wireless. This allows use of the 2.4ghz or the 5ghz band for WiFi but unfortunately not at the same time.
The wireless depending on model supports up to 802.11n and allows up to four independent wireless SSID’s to be set up. This allows you to say set up one for guests to just browse the internet and another that allows access to your media.
WiFi performance was really good and I actually managed to achieve over 100Mbit/s when using the 5ghz band with Wireless-N
Each LAN port can be set up as a separate virtual LAN again giving incredible flexibility. As does the ability to shape the traffic using Quality of Service settings.
If I just lost you with the jargon then we have hit the one issue with using this Router in a home environment – with great flexibility comes complexity and you are really going to need to understand some networking terminology to get the real benefit out of this device. This is not really surprising as the device is targeted at Small to Medium enterprises who would probably have some form of network support.
We consider this to be a real ‘pro-sumer’ device though and the learning curve may be worth the reward. Certainly the ability to isolate my media devices on one VLAN and keep them separate from Web Browsing has huge performance benefits when streaming. In fact the flexibility and performance of this router make it the perfect choice for a sophisticated media environment.
Unfortunately I did not have a VDSL line to test the performance over that protocol but performance over ADSL2+ was very good, if you have the ability to go to ADSL2+ and your current router only provides ADSL then the upgrade may be worth the admission price alone. The Vigor2850 seemed to handle the poor (8) signal to noise of our test line as well giving a top speed of 3163kbps on a 2mbps rated line.
Being able to use up to 4 internet connections is really useful if for example your ADLS broadband fails but you have access to a 3G network. The Wan connections can also be used to provide load balancing – effectively allowing you to say use both an ADLS connection and a Cable connection to share your internet load.
The Vigor has a very sophisticated firewall and also supports Content Filtering. This latter allows the use of third-party service to provide blocking of access to web site based on their content – this is the ultimate parental control and worked very well although it does require a subscription (we had a voucher for one month of the Commtouch solution in the box)
Setting this up seemed quite tricky and perhaps Draytek should offer slightly more guidance. Generally Draytek are very good at providing guidance and their website has a very useful FAQ section which goes a long way to explain a lot of the networking technology. http://www.draytek.co.uk/support/router_faq.html
One really nice feature which I used to create a multi-home network is the ability to set up LAN to LAN Virtual Private Networks(VPN). This is a method of linking two local networks over the Internet. For example you could set this up so your Parents could see your network and access your music collection (perhaps an unlikely real world occurrence but you get the idea). VPN handling on the Draytek is exceptional with
The 2850 is pretty future proof and supports IPV6 although unfortunately not when using multiple WAN ports for load sharing. I know IPV6 support is very important to some of our readers and for those interested Draytek have provided a comprehensive breakdown of the IPV6 support at http://www.draytek.com/.upload/file/PDF/Vigor2850%20IPv6%20highlights_Version%203_6_0.pdf
Overall we really like the 2850, although we cannot recommend it to the novice user, for the more sophisticated user who wants to go above and beyond the standard fare supplied by their broadband provider or by the likes of PC World this is an excellent choice.
Features and pricing
Feature set from the DrayTek website http://www.draytek.co.uk/products/vigor2850.html:
- VDSL, ADSL, 3G and Broadband Router
- Simultaneous operation of a VDSL and ADSL line – New!
- VDSL with compatible BT Infinity™
- Quad-WAN ports : VDSL, ADSL and cable modem or 3G
- IPv6 Ready – See below for feature support – New!
- 802.11n Wireless LAN (‘n’ models)
- Switchable Dual-Band WiFi (2.4 or 5.8Ghz))
- V3 Firewall with huge flexibility
- Four-Port Gigabit Ethernet LAN Switch
- Wireless Guest Portal
- Multiple Private LAN Subnets
- SMS (Text Message) Alert – New!
- User Password Access Control
- Up to 50,000 simultaneous NAT sessions
- Up to 4 VLANs (Port or IP based)
- VLAN Prioritisation & 802.1q
- Twin VoIP ports with PSTN passthrough (Vigor2850Vn)
- IGMP v3 MultiCast
- Content Filtering (by matched keyword or data type)
- Globalview Web Filtering (Subject to subscription)
- Ethernet and WiFi VLANs (common/distinct groups)
- QoS (Layer 2&3, 802.1p & TOS/DCSP)
- Up to 32 VPN tunnels for LAN-to-LAN or teleworkers
- VPN Trunk/Backup to remote sites – New!
- SSH and HTTPS/AES Access to WUI
- USB Port for Printer, Logs or 3G Modem
- Operation on any one of the WAN ports (ADSL, VDSL, Ethernet or 3G)
- Connectivity to direct native IPv6 ISPs
- Built-in tunneling to 3rd party IPv6 brokers
suppporting TSPC or AICCU methods
- Default stateful firewall for all IPv6 LAN Clients/Devices
- DHCPv6 Client or Static IPv6 Client
- DHCPv6 & RADVD for client configuration
- IP Filtering Rules
- QoS for IPv6 with DiffServ
- Router Management over IPv6 (Telnet/HTTP) with IPv6 Access List
- Simultaneous (concurrent) operation with IPv4 (“Dual-Stack”)
- Other router features are available on IPv4 only currently
Street Price approximate £180 to 250 depending on model