DrayTek’s new Vigor2860ac is something of a jack of all trades. It’s a VPN-capable security router nominally targeted at (and priced for) small business, but it also includes a number of features that might appeal to technical home users as well.
Let’s start with the hardware first: it’s a router with a DSL modem built in as well as an Ethernet WAN port; there’s a six-port gigabit LAN switch and triple-antenna 802.11ac wireless support up to 1300mbps.
The combination of DSL modem and WAN port is potent, giving you options for future connectivity – and the DSL port supports both our current ADSL standard as well as VDSL2, which is one of the many possible avenues that our new Multi-Technology Mix NBN network may go down (fibre to the node installations will likely use VDSL, for example).
The two USB 2.0 ports on the router can also support a 3G/4G modem for additional connectivity; they support storage as well, with file sharing via SMB or FTP (but no DLNA media sharing, sadly).
But it’s more than just the generous port allocation that sets this apart from a typical consumer level router.
The firmware is packed with business-ready features: virtual LAN segmentation, multiple SSIDs, advanced user controls, connection load balancing and routing rules (if you have, for instance, both WAN ports connected to different networks), centralised support for up to 20 wireless access points (with load balancing across access points), highly sophisticated signature-based content and application filters, centralised VPN management and more.
We particularly liked the ease with which we could add access points to the managed network – it made setting up a distributed wireless network that much easier.
The VPN support is capable. It can act as both a server and LAN to LAN client, with up to 32 tunnels connected at once. Its support for PPTP and IPSec is absolutely solid, but the same can’t be said for its support for OpenVPN/SSL.
Sure, it supports SSL VPNs, but it’s clearly a tacked on feature and disabled by default. Indeed, switching it on prompted the router to give us a warning that it’s insecure!
As you might expect from a security router, the user interface doesn’t come with the kind of user-friendly burnishes that you’d find in a full consumer router. In fact, there’s no hand holding at all, so if you don’t know what a VLAN is, or load balancing, and all that stuff about VPN support sounds like gibberish, this probably (definitely) isn’t the router for you.
The performance of the router, we were pleased to see, was very solid. We tested the wireless copy performance using a Linksys WUMC710 client bridge, and found the copy speeds more than acceptable.
At 15m, through two plaster walls, it had an average throughput of 29.8MB/s. For comparison, in the same environment, a Netgear D6300 hit 27.7MB/s.
Ultimately, the DrayTek Vigor2860ac is a very capable small business security router. It has far more sophisticated business features than you’d normally expect at its price, and it has capabilities that actually might appeal to some consumers, including an integrated modem.
There’s even a slightly different model of the router – the Vigor2860Vac – that has integrated VoIP with PSTN failover.
It does have its shortcomings like its limited SSL and USB support, but if you’re prepared to face a very technical interface and play around with it, there’s an awful lot under the hood here.