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DrayTek Vigor 2860n Plus review

Gordon Kelly

By

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

6

Pros

  • Industrial, rigid design
  • Integrated VDSL modem
  • Detailed activity lights
  • Comprehensive security settings

Cons

  • Poor wireless performance
  • No automatic wireless channel detection
  • Complicated, outdated setup
  • Aged settings user interface
  • USB limited to FAT32 drives

Key Features

  • 802.11abgn 2.4GHz & 5GHz WiFi
  • ADSL/VDSL modem
  • 6x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • 1x WAN
  • Manufacturer: Draytek
  • Review Price: £229.99

What is the DrayTek Vigor 2860n Plus?

DrayTek specialises in business focused routers and the ‘2860NP’ is its new, premium dual-band 802.11n router, which it hopes will keep it at the top of companies’ wish lists. For the uninitiated who just did a double take at the price for a router lacking 802.11ac, the reason is DrayTek’s famous focus on reliability and security as well as its integrated modem. With 802.11ac yet to be officially ratified don’t expect to see it on a DrayTek router any time soon.

As such the bigger question is, in a time where reliability and wireless speeds are rising rapidly in cheaper consumer products, is the premium paid for a DrayTek device still worth it?

DrayTek 2860NP

DrayTek Vigor 2860n Plus – Design

It would be fair to say style is not at the forefront of DrayTek’s design decisions, but for what the 2860NP sacrifices in looks, it makes up for in build quality and practicality.

Put succinctly, the 2860NP is rock solid. At 240.96 x 165.07 x 43.96 is one of the largest routers we’ve seen in recent times, though at 600g not one of the heaviest. Despite this it doesn’t feel hollow like most routers due to the thick casing, something it can offer since it ships with three external antennas.

Unlike most consumer orientated routers the 2860NP also puts its ports on the front for easy access, rather than at the back with the power socket. This makes a great deal of sense and is something we’d prefer more manufacturers did since trailing cables behind a router is inconvenient and messy.

DrayTek 2860NP 3

DrayTek Vigor 2860n Plus – Features

Still looks never sell a DrayTek router, so what can the 2860NP do? The aforementioned dual-band 802.11n is obviously at the forefront along with backwards compatibility with 802.11abg but its integrated modem is arguably more interesting as it supports both ADSL and VDSL fibre optic broadband, including BT Infinity.

So what about all the ports on the front? For starters DrayTek addresses something we’ve long called for in consumer-focused routers: more Gigabit Ethernet ports. The 2860NP has six rather than the usual four and it is joined by a Gigabit WAN port should you wish to connect it to a cable modem. There are also VDSL/ADSL jack and dual USB ports, though they are limited to USB 2.0.

Meanwhile the rash of activity lights gives indicators for just about anything you could need: USB, wireless bands, DSL, Quality of Service (QoS), power (ACT), cable Internet (WAN2), web content filters (WCF), denial of service protection (DoS). There is also a physical button to toggle WPS / Wi-Fi on/off and the factory reset pinhole.

DrayTek 2860NP 4

Additionally out of the ordinary functionality includes the ability to have up to four wireless SSIDs with numerous secure Guest modes, heavily customisable firewalls based on combinations of users, rules and restrictions and the ability to selectively apply QoS to specific users. There’s the option to create an ‘isolated VPN’ too, which prevents connected users from communicating with other users connected via a VPN. In short, privacy options are incredibly high.

There is also the ‘Commtouch filter’ that can block a variety of categories like nudity, drugs, games, social media and dating websites. The catch is to apply a blanket filter requires the ‘DrayTek GlobalView Web Filtering’ software, which runs from £24 to £85 per annum and we’ve seen consumer rivals like Smart Wi-Fi from Linksys offer similarly smart filters for free.

Elsewhere you’ll find more typical options such as support for WPA/WPA2 security and IPv6 and the USB ports can support the installation of 4G dongles, though there is a limited array of compatible models.

Prem Desai

January 23, 2014, 10:23 pm

Very surprised (and frustrated) by this offering from DrayTek.

They're usually a step behind the competition in terms of new technology, but then again they do implement it correctly and are consistently reliable.

I have owned more than 20 routers in the last 5 years and I know that I will only be buying DrayTek in future (unless their ethos changes).

I don't mind the 'aged' interface - allows me a lot more options than the 'flashy on the surface but nothing underneath' interfaces sported by many recent routers.

Also, this is aimed at a different market than the routers found in Currys / PC World type of establishment.

Not disputing this review - merely expressing my frustration at DrayTek.

Keith

January 23, 2014, 11:17 pm

I'm like you Prem Desai, I got fed up of replacing SOHO routers, and would never buy anything else now. Netgear / Belkin etc, can make there fancy speed claims / slap on some fancy GUI, but at the end of the day the internals will overheat & likely in a years time when the warranty has run out.

Saying all this, @Gordon has made some valid points, DrayTek need to get there software R&D working overtime, it's OK having good hardware, but in this day and age software also sells the device.

Also worth noting, Draytech has hardware VPN, IOW: so working from home, or connecting multiple offices is built in. No need to set up tunnelling on all your devices.

dourscot

January 24, 2014, 9:24 am

Love Drayteks because they always work but the configuration options are antediluvian and responsiveness (e.g. rebooting) can be slow.

A real shame because on the fundamentals they walk all over the better-known brands.

Prem Desai

January 24, 2014, 9:34 am

I'm with you on this. DrayTek routers have some awesome functionality but the interface could be better.

This is a hard thing to do without losing the power and hence my frustration at DrayTek for not rising to the challenge.

Having said that, a score of 6/10 does not reflect the power and reliability of this product.

Anonymous User

January 24, 2014, 10:31 am

I think the reviewer is used to reviewing more consumer level routers which can make everything warm and cosy but would not provide the flexibility that a professional product needs... and if the interface changes, users who have used it for years and know it inside out are upset so evolution on the interface has to be subtle and only where necessary. Of course the setup is complicated if you want to do complicated things; make it all too easy and you kill the flexibility. And WCF does not cost £89!

MikkaMakkaMoo

January 27, 2014, 10:20 am

I would be inclined to agree. Although the review states quite clearly that it's aimed more at the advanced user or small businesses, I would like an alternative score for people who are in the market for this type of router. As a longterm owner of a DrayTek 2820n, I would certainly look at buying another DrayTek should the need arise.

Gordon Kelly

January 27, 2014, 10:34 pm

An interesting discussion. Apologies for the late reply.

I believe I went into some detail explaining the differences in audience and functionality for this router. Making something usable is not to be sneered at as a 'warm and cosy' consumer option. Intuitive, well designed UIs should be in every product aimed at every sector in 2014.

You'll find most people who buy DrayTeks have bought DrayTeks for the last 10 years because "consumer routers are so unreliable and I just want the reliability and consistency of a DrayTek."

This is like choosing a Nokia in 2014 because in 2004 Microsoft Windows Mobile phones were sooooo unreliable. Times have changed and given that I test and live with many consumer routers over the course of a year it is frustrating to see the same outdated arguments made time and time again.

By all means buy a DrayTek if you truly need its advanced functionality - many large corporations do, but do not justify spending 3-4x the price for a router with an outdated UI, insecure setup process and aged wireless performance because "it's more reliable" to justify some antiquated dogma.

FYI the score is for both business and consumer. It is a 6/10 router. Just because it has virtually no competition in the business side does not mean it deserves 9/10 by default. The setup and UI are poor, the wireless technology under performs, the limited USB drive support is poor. 6/10 is purely earned because of its advanced functionality.

PS baffled by the comment above. At no point do I say WCF costs £89, I said: "‘DrayTek GlobalView Web Filtering’ software, which runs from £24 to £85 per annum".

Julian Wilkinson

February 12, 2014, 7:36 am

Hi Gordon -
I deploy Draytek's to all the businesses I support - But I think that the decision to drop the third antenna has affected wireless performance - As I found that the performance from the 2850n gave better throughput.
I have yet to find any other router that gives me tools like the bandwidth tracking and a data flow monitor that are invaluable for doing IT support though, and certainly, I have Draytek 2800's that are still going 6-7 years after being deployed and haven't skipped a beat.

milano

February 15, 2014, 10:41 pm

sincerely, I do not find a modem router better than draytek vigor, I possess the 2820vn the 2850vn and I just ordered the 2860n if you have an alternative modem router ......

Anonymous User

February 17, 2014, 12:21 pm

Well, you appeared to consider the Vigor2860 a "consumer-focused router" - you called it that three times and used the phrase another 5 (though sometimes as distinction, which is fair enough), whereas it's quite obviously not. If you had that so embedded in your mind, no wonder you came to the conclusion you
did. I do use a Vigor 2830 as a consumer at home but I do use it for work related stuff. It's primarily a business/professional router. Most domestic users are happy with a cheap and cheerful ISP supplied device which they never access or use because they're just using it for facebook/iplayer/ebay etc. They're not going to use 80% of what a professional product can provide, and a simple user would find the simple stuff (that said, the WCF is tedious to set up and should be improved).

I simply disagree with you about the UI, or at least the quantum of your objection. It's your opinion but I can't see how it could be dumbed down without losing the flexibility, nor do I see many users on the forums asking for that.

I would suggest that the mass of real-world users' opinion (not
scientifically measured, I accept) is more or just as valid in this respect that a reviewer who quickly dips his toes in for the purposes of a review,

having not used it before. I expect things could be improved ( it's hard to know what you didn't like or didn't find intuitive). Actually, the Vigor2860 UI seems to have changed quite. I don't have that control panel on my Vigor2830, but it still has a familiar style to avoid annoying experienced users (evolution not revolution).

I don't agree with your Microsoft/Nokia analogy; that's not what I was suggesting at all.. More like Windows 8 getting rid of the start button to

make people happier who say that Windows 7 was outdated. We all know and love the Windows start button - it does what it should, why change it (that's as far as the analogy works). Sure, I have a vested interest, I'm not impartial so will defend it, but I'm also trying to be objective because the products certainly aren't perfect and I wish them to be, so constructive criticism with specific explanation is probably the best way to get improvements.

The USB support isn't high; that's true - it's a chipset limitation I believe but it's really only there for convenience, not a serious NAS tool and to be honest things like dropbox have made its usefulness far less these days. It was added years ago when it was more useful. I don't think anyone would miss it (well, someone would and it's not doing any harm!).

Personally, I use a Vigor2830 not a Vigor2860 (I will when I move) so if you consider the wireless performance not as good as you'd expect, that is of concern to me. Mine is fine (on the Vigor2830) so it would be useful if you gave more testing info (client device, chipset, drivers) so that they can respond or fix.

WCF costs between 40 and 45 depending where you get it

http://www.dabs.com/products/d...

Why do you describe the setup as insecure? (It might be in the article but I couldn't find it just now).... why do sites have to spread reviews over so

many pages - is it just to sell more banner ads ?

Guest

February 24, 2014, 3:07 pm

The 2860 does support automatic wireless channel selection. It's in the channel list Instead of selecting 1-12, you select 'Automatic' and then it (presumably) just selects whichever has the least traffic or clients or weakest signal etc.

Guest

February 24, 2014, 3:13 pm

" most people who buy DrayTeks have bought DrayTeks for the last 10 years because [they] just want the reliability and consistency of a DrayTek." "

This is an incorrect (made up) and misinformed prejudice. Sure reliability and consistency is important, but the product also needs to be usable and perform adequately! To assume that most users only bought a DrayTek product ONLY because it's reliable, ignoring all other usability and performance is just plain silly, and insulting. My wireless is fine too but also not a 2860. Were you using an ipad?

Andrew

February 25, 2014, 1:00 am

Strange review... its a review of a router, but there are no router throughput benchmarks, no VPN encryption benchmarks, or discussion of features such as SSL VPN. The Draytek is an excellent product. The interface could use some improvements, but that's not why you buy a Draytek. You buy it for the features that make a difference.

morles

July 11, 2015, 1:40 am

Terrible review. Whats hard about setup? if you're a simpleton, click the wizard and fill in username and password?

The GUI interface is fantastic, particularly when you look at it remotely, the dashboard gives you a virtual view of whats plugged in etc. Traffic graphs and bandwidth monitoring give you an instant snapshot of performance.

Features such as smart bandwidth management crap all over competition... and one of the few router you can setup intelligent bandwidth control and VLANing on different SSID. Amazing for limited bandwidth or multi-tenant situations. Set and forget.

Consumer? no.
Prosumer/Light enterprise - absolutely. 8/10. if you were reviewing the non-wireless model 9/10.

the only thing i can agree with, the Draytek wireless is generally poor across all their range. i tend to deploy a non-wireless Draytek and separate wireless access point

ChannelSixtyNine69

September 21, 2015, 6:09 pm

Who gives a fuck what it looks like?

I don't buy a router to put on my mantle piece.

"Still looks never sell a DrayTek router"

Well you laboured on an entire paragraph worrying about it.

Nothing wrong the UI either. Unless of course you can't read or don't like horrible texty things.

Gavin Cole

November 21, 2015, 12:25 pm

Curious, what separate wireless access point do you use?

morles

November 21, 2015, 1:22 pm

depends on the application/range. on serious and large areas i would go Ubiquiti UniFi... home/small business maybe a mid range dlink or even apple airport extreme. im a big fan of cabling as much as possible and wifi is for convenience and mobility only.

Gavin Cole

November 21, 2015, 1:56 pm

Thanks. My thoughts exactly. WiFi is only for mobiles and tablets.

Peter Hubberstey

March 15, 2016, 11:02 am

This is certainly not a "trusted review", it is factually incorrect and full of subjective, ill conceived points. It is one of the worst pieces of writing I have read in years.

The angle of the review is very much consumer focused.

That's like reviewing the latest BMW Mini and saying it isn't up to the job because it can't carry a cargo container.

I have a 2820 that's over 8 years old and has never caused a single issue. Ever. I will not even bother looking at the competition if/when it breaks or the packet routing rate becomes insufficient.

Buy cheap, buy twice.

Drayteks are strong. Drayteks are highly competent. Drayteks are a complete no-brainer for any "pro"-sumer or small business who do not desire to pay for a Cisco and their associated CCNA/CCNP training course.

All the WiFi points are moot. It was supposed to be a router review. The wireless is merely an ethernet bridge / access point; nothing to do with actually routing packets.

Wireless standards are ever changing and most chipset manufacturers (maybe even the IEEE) are focused on ephemeral consumer devices / mass market.

1. Ignore this review.
2. Buy a Draytek router.
3. Buy a "disposable" access point from the likes of Belkin et al.* **

* When it breaks, the IEEE standard will have been superseded in any case.
** If you choose to ignore step 3 and buy two devices combined; accept you may need to sacrifice some of the performance and/or benefits.

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