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DrayTek Vigor2860ac reviewed by PC&Tech Authority Magazine

If you’re after a bang for buck ADSL modem with Wi-Fi, the DrayTek Vigor 2860ac probably isn’t the unit for you — I’ll get to why, later. But if you need a router with unique enterprise level features like load balancing, QoS,a content filtering and stateful inspection firewall, USB 3G/4G modem support, centralised traffic analysis and management, then you’ll probably have the DrayTek Vigor 2860ac high up on your list.

The DrayTek Vigor 2860ac isn’t exactly cheap, with a street price of around $479. You can get an 802.llac ADSL router like the TP-Link Archer 05 for only $150 or less. What then, justifies the DrayTek’s relatively higher price?

Hardware wise , the 2860ac doesn’t have many standout features . The wireless chipset runs the AC1300 variant of 802.llac , which isn’t top of the class in 2015. But that’s only useful if you’ve got devices on your network with support for the three data streams on 802.llac to reach those marketed speeds. The 6 port gigabit switch built in is a nice change from the usual 4 ports found on most modem & router combos. The only unique hardware features on the 2860ac are support for ITU-T G.993.2 VDSL2 (aka, the poor man’s fibre to the node NBN or TPG’s
fibre to the basement) and two USB ports that allow a 3G/4G modem or external storage to be attached. A nice little detail that underlines the 2860ac’s enterprise qualities, is the fact all the ports & buttons are on the front of the unit and there’s nine status LEDs for various things – making it easy to diagnose on the phone with a non-technical user or just by glancing at it in a comms cabinet.

Where things get interesting however, are in the software. DrayTek has packed the 2860ac full of high-end enterprise level features . To go into them all in this review would take up the entire magazine – but I’ll mention a few highlights here.

The firewall built in to the DrayTek is quite advanced, supporting stateful packet inspection and a content filter. You can filter traffic down to the protocol (i.e: web, P2P, etc.) beyond basic ports, so if someone on your network just uses a blocked service on a different port than standard, you can still block the traffic . Content filtering is another firewall feature that can block specific UR Ls
and domains, even keywords. There’s support for Cyren GlobalView based filtering, which adds the ability to restrict categories of websites , such as shopping or adult sites for example.

DrayTek include its SmartMonitor network traffic analyzer in the Vigor2860ac, giving you a great overview of who’s using what and what services are using the most traffic. It’s only for the wired
portion of the unit though, SmartMonitor doesn’t log Wi-Fi usage. A nifty feature most consumer models won’t support and would be useful even in the home environment.

If you’re deploying multiple 2860ac units – for example in a couple of remote offices – DrayTek has a feature called Central VPN Management, allowing relatively easy VPN setup all from a centralised location . There’s a plethora of VPN options in the 2860ac’s firmware too, even the ability to trunk VPNs over multiple WAN connections for increased bandwidth.

DrayTek also manufacture wireless access points and the 2860ac can act as a centralised management interface for multiple access points spread around a large area. Great feature for extending
a wireless network without a loss of performance, or for balancing a high amount of wireless users over multiple access points to prevent congestion.

My favourite feature on the 2860ac is the ability to load balance and fail over with multiple Internet connections . For example, if you’ve got ADSL that likes
to crap out often, you can connect a 4G modem to the 2860ac’s USB port and configure the router to automatically switch all traffic over to the 4G connection if it notices the ADSL connection has dropped out, then revert back to ADSL when it works again.

There’s no doubt that the Draytek Vigor 2860ac is a serious bit of kit. Specs wise, you’llget cheaper and better elsewhere . The DrayTek’s firmware is a class above most consumer-level models and is the reason it costs a fair bit more than a TP­ Link or Linksys. None, if any all in one units at this price range have the enterprise level features of the 2860ac and an entry level Juniper or Cisco device would not be as straightforward to setup. The 2860ac is a great medium between consumer and enterprise in terms of features, ease of use and price.

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