DrayTek Vigor 2850n review
802.11n dual band, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Draytek’s Vigor 2850n is the first router we've seen which supports the VDSL2 standard, which is needed for high-speed copper connections such as BT Infinity. It also supports ADSL2+, its fourth Gigabit Ethernet port doubles as a WAN port to connect to another modem or router and you can even attach a 3G modem dongle to its USB port to provide a third internet option. You can configure the Vigor 2850n to default to a specific connection method, such as 3G, if one of the other connections goes down.
Even though the Vigor 2850n’s built-in configuration utility has a quick-start menu, this is a router for more experienced users such as IT technicians at commercial premises or home users in need of greater networking flexibility than that provided by their ISP’s router. The Vigor 2850n’s configuration menus are clear, uncluttered and easy to navigate, but they present little in the way of advice or explanation, expecting the user to know what the options mean.
In addition to the four Gigabit Ethernet ports, you can connect to the Vigor 2850n using Wi-Fi. We initially tested it using our Centrino 2 laptop on the 2.4GHz band and achieved data rates of 42.8Mbit/s at a distance of one metre, 34.3Mbit/s at 10 metres and 12.8Mbit/s at 25 metres. These rates aren’t exceptionally fast, but they’re certainly above average. We then switched to the less congested 5GHz band and enabled channel bonding. The rates increased dramatically to 59.9Mbit/s at one metre, 61.5Mbit/s at 10 metres and a remarkable 31.9Mbit/s at 25 metres. The 1m and 10m 5GHz scores are beaten by those of Belkin’s N600 DB (see What's New, Shopper 290), but its rate of 31.9Mbit/s over 25 metres is the best we’ve ever achieved when using our Centrino 2 laptop's built-in Wi-Fi.
When we switched off our Centrino laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi adaptor and plugged in DrayTek’s own Vigor N65 Wi-Fi adaptor (£35 from www.dabs.com) we achieved exceptionally good results. We saw 68.1Mbit/s at 1m, 59.9Mbit/s at 10 metres and 8.6Mbit/s at 25 metres on the 2.4GHz band. When we switched to the 5GHz network and enabled channel bonding we achieved the phenomenal rates of 119.8Mbit/s at 1m, 101Mbit/s at 10m and 30.3Mbit/s at 25m. The Vigor N65 Wi-Fi adaptor and the Vigor 2850n combine to produce the best Wi-Fi speeds we've ever seen, and is definitely worth the extra money.