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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Features

The 2830n plus' wireless feature set is surprisingly rich. You can step through the various screens in the gallery below to get a feel for the options, which are among the most complete I've seen.

But that doesn't mean that everything works. I was unable to perform a Wi-Fi Protected Setup connection despite multiple attempts. My notebook with an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN card normally detects routers with WPS active and asks me to enter the PIN code. But even after verifying that WPS was enabled on the 2830n, my client never detected it.

You should also note that the 2830n plus is not Wi-Fi Certified and does not default to 20 MHz bandwidth mode when the radio is set to the 2.4 GHz band.

Wireless Performance

I tested the 2830n plus using our wireless test process with a WPA2/AES secured connection in both bands and in 20 and 40 MHz bandwidth modes. I generated Performance Tables for both bands (Figures 15 and 16) and included another VPN router for comparison, the Cisco RV 220W.

Highest 2.4 GHz throughput of 68 Mbps was measured in Location A running uplink with the client set to 20/40 mode. Running a simultaneous up and downlink test yielded 87 Mbps in the same location and condition. So running multiple clients will get you somewhat higher total throughput.

The two routers appear evenly matched in 2.4 Ghz performance with stronger signal levels. But in the weak signal locations E and F, the RV 220W clearly dominates, particularly in 40 MHz bandwidth mode.

2.4 GHz wireless performance table

Figure 15: 2.4 GHz wireless performance table

For the 5 GHz band, best case throughput of 73 Mbps was again found at Location A, running uplink in 40 MHz bandwidth mode. This time running up and downlink tests simultaneously didn't boost throughput as much as it did in the 2.4 GHz band, with only 78 Mbps measured in Location A.

Once again, the RV 220W seems to do better than the 2830n plus overall. But neither could reach into the weak signal test locations E and F, where only one 5 GHz router / AP, the D-Link DIR-665, has gone before.

5 GHz wireless performance table

Figure 16: 5 GHz wireless performance table

Figure 17 shows the IxChariot throughput plot for the 2.4 GHz band, 20 MHz bandwidth mode, downlink. Throughput stability was pretty good.

IxChariot throughput plot, 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Figure 17: IxChariot throughput plot, 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Here are links to the other plots if you'd like to check them out.

In general, the 2830n has the best performing and featured wireless section of the Draytek wireless routers we've tested.

Closing Thoughts

The Vigor 2830n plus is the most feature-rich VPN router we've seen yet from Draytek with flexible WAN connection options, firewall features typically found in routers costing much more and wireless capability that is well-suited to small-business use.

But I share Doug's frustration with Draytek's documentation, which doesn't appear to have improved much since last December's review. The 2830n's manual has a few application examples, but none that helped me set up a successful IPsec connection using Draytek's free SmartVPN client. The Smart VPN client - WinXP to Vigor Router - IPSec - Smart VPN Client online app note wasn't much help either and didn't reflect the settings available in the latest 4.0.0.4 Smart VPN version.

In all, I'm not as enthusiastic about Draytek as some of their fans in the forums are, especially for U.S. customers. While the feature set may be broad and reliability reportedly good, they are still essentially single-sourced from one web vendor ($362 from VoIPon.com) and support comes out of Taiwan via email.

I understand from Draytek that they are in the process of trying to reorganize their U.S. resources, which are a confusing mix of websites (us.draytek.com and draytek.us take you to two very different places). But I seem to have heard this story for a few years now and nothing has seemed to change.

If you want a lot of business class router for a very competitive price and don't mind incomplete and confusing documentation and emailing support resources many time zones away, then Draytek should be on your VPN router short list. But if you want to be able to pick up the phone and get help or overnight warranty repair turnaround, then you'd best stick with Cisco or NETGEAR.

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