More than your average internet router
Low-end broadband routers tend to be much of a muchness, offering little beyond basic Internet sharing, network ports and a firewall.
Vigor 2820 products from Draytek, however, are available with an array of additional features designed to address the needs of the small business.
One of the most important features is a choice of ways to connect to the internet.
Available on all versions, these start with a built-in modem for use with both ADSL and more recent ADSL2+ services, such as those offered by unbundled (LLU) service providers.
There’s also a separate Ethernet Wan port for connection via an external ADSL or cable modem, and a USB socket that can be used to connect via a 3G mobile internet adapter or phone.
More importantly, any of these can be used to provide the primary internet connection with one other configured as a backup should that link fail.
Choose the ADSL and Ethernet connections, and traffic can also be load balanced across the two, while the USB port can be used to attach a shared printer if wireless connectivity isn’t required.
There’s plenty of choice on the Lan side, too, with a built-in four-port switch offering three 10/100Mbits/sec ports and a single Gigabit port for high-speed server attachment.
On the wireless-enabled model we tested, a built-in wireless access point adds support for both 802.11b/g and 802.11n Draft 2.0 Wifi, with the usual array of security options including Wifi-Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption, along with the ability to isolate users on both the wireless and wired networks.
Of course, most small business will want to give users remote Lan access. A hardware VPN server is included for this, which can handle up to 32 encrypted tunnels using a range of protocols. There’s also Network Address Translation (Nat) available and a good stateful inspection firewall with optional Surfcontrol website filtering.
The review unit also came with optional Voice over IP (VoIP) facilities, with two ports available for use with Sip (Session Initiation Protocol) services. One of these allows a pair of handsets to be connected via the port doubler provided, while the other lets you route calls over the public switched network (PSTN).
Rules to route calls based on cost are available as standard and a model with a pair of basic rate ISDN interfaces is yet another option.
We found the hardware itself to be well made and, although a slightly unusual shape and prone to getting quite warm, the device is easily hung on the wall or can be rackmounted using an optional kit.
In terms of management, there’s the usual web-based interface. This isn’t the most intuitive we’ve seen, but it’s common to this and other Draytek products and relatively easy to master.
We had no trouble getting our Vigor 2820Vn to work the way we wanted as there are lots of tools available supported by plenty of clear documentation both in the box and on the UK distributor’s website.
On the downside, we weren’t convinced that many customers will need the VoIP facilities, but they only add £10 to the price, and there’s no need to buy them if you don’t. That apart, there’s no doubt most buyers will find the Vigor 2820 in all its forms to be a great little internet router that goes a lot further than most others to meet the needs of the small business.
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Pros: Multiple Wan interfaces for load balancing and failover; 802.11n Wifi; hardware VPN server; optional VoIP support Cons: Management interface not as intuitive as some Overall: Offers a lot of really useful features of value to the small business, which aren’t found on most other internet routers
£183.30 (£156 ex Vat)
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