The DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn is the second router we've reviewed the natively supports BT's Infinity broadband, which uses the VDSL standard. AVM's Fritz!box 7390, which is slightly cheaper at £210, is also a VDSL router. Both routers will also work with ADSL and ADSL2+ and a splitter is included in the Vigor's box for simultaneously connecting to VDSL and ADSL lines at the same time.
In fact, the DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn modem router can support up to four internet connection simultaneously and apply load balancing, or use the extra connections as failovers. One of the four LAN ports doubles as a gigabit WAN port, while the third WAN connection is through a USB port, to which you attach a compatible 3G dongle. If necessary, you can use a 3G dongle as your main connection. See also: Group test: what's the best wireless router?
If that's not required, you can attach your USB printer to the DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn and share it across the network, or plug in a USB drive and allow up to six users to access its contents via FTP simultaneously.
Windows NTFS-formatted disks aren't supported – only FAT16 and FAT32, so the DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn is no substitute for proper network attached storage. At least it's a USB 2.0 port, unlike a previous model - the Vigor 2830 - which inexplicably had only a USB 1.1 port.
There are two extra ports on this ‘Vn' model (the DrayTek Vigor 2850n omits them) for analogue phones. You can connect two phones to the DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn's left-hand RJ11 port (a splitter isn't included) for both VoIP and standard BT calls (you dial #0 if you don't want to make a VoIP call). See also: Group test: what's the best modem router?
The second RJ11 port is for the connection to your analogue line. Using the DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn router's admin interface, you can set rules so that local calls can be routed via your analogue line and international calls via VoIP, for example.
The DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn's admin interface includes a quick setup wizard, but the rest is designed for a sysadmin that knows which settings to make – there's little in the way of help.
There are more features than most small businesses will need, including an SPI firewall, content filtering, web filtering, SMS alerts, dynamic DNS, multiple private LAN subnets, up to four VLANs and up to 32 VPN tunnels.
Configuring the DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn for use with BT Infinity isn't easy as there are no instructions. We had to ask DrayTek and found we needed to 'tag' the VLAN of WAN1 with an ID of 101 and then enter our username and password as supplied by BT for our broadband account. With BT's kit - the Home Hub 3 and separate Openreach modem - it's simply a case of plugging and playing.
The DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn is neater, though, as it replaces two devices and power supplies with one. It didn't boost our connection speeds, though. See all Wi-Fi/networking reviews.
DrayTek Vigor 2850Vn: speed test results
We tested our nominal 76Mbps connection with Speedtest.net and recorded an average of 37.9Mbps with the Openreach modem and 37.7Mbps with the Draytek.
Upload speeds were slower with the Vigor - an average of 5.4Mbps compared with the Openreach modem's 6.4Mbps.
UPDATE: 23rd May. Draytek supplied us with a new firmware version - an update which will shortly be available publicly - and we retested broadband performance. Both upload and download speeds were virtually identical to BT's modem, which we retested at the same time, so we no longer have any complaints about the 2850Vn's VDSL speed.
The 2850Vn's Wi-Fi features are better than the Home Hub 3's though. There's a guest portal with a customisable landing page and the ability to create four SSIDs with different security.
One SSID could be used for employees that need access to the LAN, while another could provide mere internet access.
A WPS button on the front of the router makes it easy to connect clients which support Wi-Fi Protected Setup. At the rear are three detachable antennae, which can be replaced with higher-gain versions if you need greater range.
The 2850Vn supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, but not simultaneously. In 2.4GHz mode, we saw decent speeds of 51.2Mbps at 2m and 40.8Mbps at 10m using a standard Intel 802.11n radio (WiFi Link 5100 AGN).
If you want to get the best possible transfer speeds, the optional Vigor N65 USB dongle costs £35. In 5GHz mode, we recorded some impressive transfer speeds: 120Mbps at 2m and 111Mbps at 10m.
The dongle has a WPS button, making it simple to connect it to the 2850Vn. Note that this model is not listed as vulnerable to a security flaw in the WPS standard published last year.