We found voice quality no different to a landline and the router provides QoS parameters to ensure VoIP gets priority over general Internet traffic. However, this doesn’t work so well when traffic starts peaking as we made a call while running a large download and found call quality deteriorated slightly. With a second download to another PC adding to the pressure we found the call started breaking up making it difficult to hear our tester on the landline.
The 2602HW provides a good fare of security features with a standard SPI firewall and basic DoS (denial of service) attack protection heading the list. The integrated VPN accelerator chip goes some way to explain the above average price tag and that the 2602HW supports up to 20 tunnels. Don’t expect any help from the manual though as bizarrely, ZyXEL makes absolutely no mention of this feature. Web site filtering is available but, unlike products such as the Billion MyGuard 7500gl, this is not a managed content filtering service as the router merely maintains a list of keywords that it matches against a requested URL. Wireless security is present and correct with SSID masking and MAC filtering where you can create a list of stations and deny or allow access to the complete list. This is made easier as the router maintains a list of associated stations and their MAC addresses. There’s also support for 64/128/256-bit WEP and WPA encryption (although DSL-Warehouse states it doesn’t support WPA) and the latter can be implemented using 802.1x authentication or a pre-shared key.
Support is also available for authentication using a RADIUS server. Wireless performance proved to be well above average with the open-source Iometer reporting a solid 22.8Mb/sec throughput over an unsecured 802.11g connection using a Proxim OriNOCO Gold Card in a Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook. WPA performance was also impressive with the same test returning a shade under 22Mb/sec with WPA using a pre-shared key.
Now that VoIP has much wider support from the service industry it makes sense for smaller businesses and home users with heavy usage to consider it as it can reduce call costs significantly. The 2602HW provides a good range of wired and wireless features and is easy enough to set up for VoIP, although beware that heavy Internet access will interfere with call quality.