Draytek’s Vigor range of SME business routers has a reputation for stability, but the sheer range of features of a typical business router can be overwhelming. The Vigor2710Vn has more than most too, with built-in and easy-to-use VoIP handling over SIP which allows it to be used to route up to 4 simultaneous calls to VoIP phones on your network. Other features include a comprehensive VPN configuration option, DDNS, and QoS.
In addition to the usual URL, keyword and category based website blocking, you can block P2P and internet messaging for specific clients and protocols. You can even allow some features, such as messaging under MSN, while blocking others, like video messaging or games.
There’s no quick setup utility, so you have to configure everything yourself. Menus are laid out clearly, but there’s little documentation to explain unfamiliar concepts to less capable users. Configuring your ADSL settings is simple enough, as the fields in the PPPoE/PPPoA screen should match closely with the information provided by your ISP. Wireless networking is enabled but unsecured by default.
The Wireless LAN General Setup screen looks intimidating at first, but includes some unusual and potentially useful features, such as the ability to configure up to four separate SSIDs (visible wireless connections), each with different security and web filtering configurations. This means that you can easily set up a guest network for visitors or less trusted users.
Unfortunately, Draytek has opted to remove the usual advanced wireless settings menu from the router’s web interface, so you can’t easily change the router’s channel-bonding settings from the default two channels to a more stable single-channel system. You have to use a command-line Telnet client to log into the router to change this. You only need one command – wl ht bw 0 – and it is documented in the router’s Telnet help interface, but users shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to apply a common setting.
What makes it worse is that with channel-bonding enabled, we could only maintain a connection to our Centrino 2 laptop at distances of under 5m. Once we’d disabled channel-bonding, we got much better results over distance. Our Centrino 2 tests achieved transfer speeds of 20.5Mbit/s at 10m and 15.6Mbit/s at 20m. 10m results were ever better using Draytek’s own Vigor N61 wireless adaptor, but dropped off to just 6Mbit/s at 20m.
You can connect a USB disk or a printer to the router’s USB port, but we weren’t impressed with its compatibility. The router mounted our 1GB portable flash drive without a hitch, but was unable to see our 120GB portable hard disk.
The Vigor2710Vn is a basically well-designed device with a feature list as long as our arm, but issues like the lack of easy control over channel-bonding, will make the router less approachable to many small business users who handle their own IT. If you can live without VoIP, Billion’s BiPAC 7300N is still our favourite for SME.