DrayTek Vigor2865ax review

DrayTek Vigor2865ax: Two-minute reviewDrayTek continues to impress us with its wide range of business-focused networking options, as well as a commitment to ongoing improvement with the latest features and upgraded performance. Today we’re testing the DrayTek Vigor2865ax, which is the highest-end model in the larger Vigor2865 series.These DrayTek routers are aimed at small to medium businesses, with VDSL2 modem, WAN port, and in some models, Wi-Fi support. The higher-end Vigor2865ax is equipped with Wi-Fi 6, but there are also

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Warranty: 2 year back-to-baseNetworking is what DrayTek is all about, so it’s important to acknowledge that many of the most useful features of the 2865 series involve the use of other hardware. The 2865 models with Wi-Fi can be part of a mesh network, or even access the internet via a wireless WAN. You can also use the 2865 to control a wider network of Vigor products, such as wireless access points and switches. This is ideal for growing businesses, as it makes expanding a network relatively easy. The USB ports can be used to add external devices, such as 4G modems or temperature probes.Performance is key, and compared to the previous generation router, the Vigor2865 series much improved throughput thanks includes hardware acceleration. This can be used to provide increased performance in a range of areas. For example, using hardware acceleration, dual WAN use can avoid bottlenecks, with up to 1.6x the unaccelerated throughput.The 2865 series also has a long list of other business focused features. For example it can host a quite advanced hotspot web portal, including a customised landing page with loads of template options available. The router also includes a comprehensive firewall, and other security and content options, such as web page filtering.Overall the Vigor2865ax has a varied but useful mix of features, without going overboard with unnecessary options that would drive up the price. Don’t take our word for it either – Draytek have online demos available for their hardware, and you can log in and look through the interface and features before buying. Check out the 2865 series at https://eu.draytek.com:12865/ (opens in new tab).• Design and features score: 4.5 / 5The Vigor2865 web interface is dense but very functional, and there’s an online demo you can try. (Image credit: Future)DrayTek Vigor2965ax review: performanceMulti-WAN failover and bandwidth allocation optionsApp-based wireless managementMesh networking supportIt’s hard to do justice to all the ins and outs of the Vigor2865ax with just words on a page. To better understand the router and interface, we highly recommend checking out the excellent DrayTek demo mentioned above, where you can investigate and test the interface and features up front. You can also do the same for other DrayTek devices. The product page (opens in new tab) is also a good port of call, and makes it easy to check out the manual, guides and other resources.Getting the 2865ax up and running is straightforward, and can be done completely through the web interface. For more complex configurations the interface can seem quite dense, but DrayTek does an excellent job of providing comprehensive guides, manuals and other help online. There’s also DrayTek phone apps for wireless management, which is much improved from previous versions, and generally works pretty well.For testing, we added the Vigor2865ax to a network populated with a range of DrayTek access points and switches, as well as other gear, such as a NAS and IP cameras, as well as a bevy of smart devices and computers. We included a 4G USB modem as a backup WAN source.We didn’t uncover any surprises in testing, and the 2865 was more than capable of handling all the network throughput we could give it. VPN links, bandwidth allocation and WAN failover all worked as described, and the 2865 made it easy to manage other networked Vigor devices. On our Vigor2865ax model, Wi-Fi gave excellent performance up close (maxing out at 549Mbps) and through obstacles such as walls. At longer range performance was decent, but nothing spectacular, due to the relatively low-gain antennas – we achieved 399Mbps at 10m distance. DrayTek does have higher gain and directional patch antennas available as an optional extra for those who want to tweak the Wi-Fi experience. Mesh setup with other DrayTek devices was reasonably quick and easy, and handover between mesh nodes worked well.Of course getting everything set up just so requires significant time, but that’s a reflection of the depth of features, rather than a failing on the router’s behalf.• Performance score: 4 / 5The Vigor2865 series can be easily wall or rack mounted to help make cable management easier. (Image credit: Future)DrayTek Vigor2865ax: network managementRemote management direct from router interfaceTR-069 remote management compatibleSD-WAN supported via VigorACS softwareOne of the key features of the Vigor routers for business use is the ability to manage a wider network made up of DrayTek devices. The 2865 series can control 20 Vigor wireless access points (seven in a mesh network) and 10 Vigor switches right from the inbuilt interface.Of course such a setup can start to become unwieldy to manage – often long before hitting a high number of network devices. While you can use existing TR-069 management software options, DrayTek has a paid server-based TR-069 solution called VigorACS. The latest version, VigorACS 3, enables the DrayTek SD-WAN solution on compatible hardware, which includes the Vigor2865 series. This is a great inclusion, as SD-WAN is a fantastic option for businesses with remote workers who need secure, easily configurable access to the company network while at home or on the road.DrayTek makes it pretty easy to give VigorACS a try, and buying a compatible device means you get a free 30-day trial. There’s also an online demo (opens in new tab). While it’s not the only option for TR-069 management, VigorACS is a great match for DrayTek hardware, and for many will be worth the cost for the time savings alone. There’s also a large VigorACS knowledge base of articles (opens in new tab) that make using it much easier.The 2865 series has dual USB ports, which support 4G modems, or an optional temperature sensor.  (Image credit: Future)Should I buy the DrayTek Vigor2865ax?Swipe to scroll horizontallyDrayTek Vigor2865ax report cardAttributeNotesRatingValueNot a lot of price competition from retailers, but the Vigor2865ax is well priced against its closer competitors. Getting the best value does mean making sure the specific feature set of the router will be well utilized, and ideally also using other Vigor networking equipment.3.5 / 5Design & featuresThe specific featureset won’t appeal to all businesses, but DrayTek have done a good job at including what’s important without overdoing it. The larger 2865 series also makes it very easy to get the core modem router functionality without extras such as Wi-Fi. The availability of online support, documentation and demos is above average, and is a valuable addition.4.5 / 5PerformanceSolid all round performance that avoids any bottlenecks and makes the 2865 series a capable option even by itself. The ax spec Wi-Fi is fast, but focused on closer range, and the endless network management options perform as expected.4 / 5Buy it if…Your

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