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Wireless Reviews

USB

Like the 2920, the single USB port can share a USB printer, a USB drive or support a USB WWAN modem. I asked Draytek if the single port can be shared via a USB hub and found that it can. But since the 2830's port provides only 500mA of current, you may need to use a powered USB hub if you're attaching a power-hungry device like a WWAN modem.

Speaking of WWAN modems, the list of supported modems isn't huge. This downloadable PDF lists the compatible USB modems and this one the compatible cellphones for all Draytek routers. The 2830's list shows only a few mostly lesser-known (in the U.S.) Taiwanese brands supported. And more notably, none of the listed Novatel and Sierra modems are supported.

My experience with the drive sharing feature was similar to Doug's. I mounted a FAT-formatted USB drive and ran the same robocopy-based file copy test used in the NAS Chart benchmarks. This test copies a ripped DVD folder containing mixed file sizes, including a handful of 1 GB VOB files.

When writing to the shared drive, only 32 of 38 files were copied because robocopy had trouble adjusting the copied file time stamp. But the write speed for the files it did copy averaged 1.6 MB/s.

For read, robocopy again had problems and couldn't successfully read all the files, but still reported a 1.5 MB/s read rate.

I didn't check FTP performance, but with lower overhead it would probably be a bit faster.

VPN

There are three options for remote access VPN connections: PPTP, L2TP with IPSec, and IPSec.  I was able to make PPTP and L2TP with IPSec connections using the VPN client built into Windows 7. I also tried using version 4.0.0.4 of Draytek's Smart VPN Client. But even though it told me that it was successfully connected to the 2830n, a tunnel didn't show up in the router's VPN connection status page and I had no connection to the router.

I asked Draytek about this and was told that the Smart VPN Client is just an interface that manipulates Microsoft's VPN client. So you're better off using an IPsec client that you are familiar with or using the native Windows client and using L2TP/IPsec.

Figure 10 shows a successful L2TP / IPsec tunnel made using the Windows 7 VPN client. All I had to do was enter the WAN IP address of the 2830n on the Windows VPN connection General tab, choose L2TP/IPsec on the Security tab (leaving the other defaults), enter the Preshared key on the Security tab Advanced Settings page and I was good to go.

Successful L2TP / IPsec tunnel

Figure 10: Successful L2TP / IPsec tunnel

Note that if you just leave the Windows VPN client connection type as Automatic and all the Draytek VPN settings at defaults, you'll get a PPTP connection.

The only changes I made to the Remote Dial-In user page (Figure 11) were to enable the account, enter a username and password and change the Allowed Dial-In Type L2TP with IPsec policy to Must.

Remote dial-in user settings

Figure 11: Remote dial-in user settings

IPsec General Settings were left at the defaults (Figure 12).

IPsec General settings

Figure 12: IPsec General settings

VPN Performance

I tested PPTP and L2TP / IPsec throughput using IxChariot's throughput.scr script, with all defaults and changing only the test file size to 1,000,000 Bytes. Table 2 summarizes the results along with those for the 2920. Note that these results aren't apples-to-apples because the 2920 was tested with iperf and the 2830n with IxChariot.

Test Description 2920
Throughput - (Mbps)
2830n plus
Throughput - (Mbps)
Remote Access PPTP
Client to Gateway
19.9 17.8
Remote Access PPTP
Gateway to Client
Not run 18.5
Remote Access L2TP/IPsec
Client to Gateway
12.5 13.3
Remote Access L2TP/IPsec
Gateway to Client
Not run 11.7
Table 2: VPN throughput

Tunnel throughput is just about equal in both directions. Throughput falloff with the higher AES-128 encryption level used in the L2TP/IPsec connection is moderate. Figure 13 is a shot of an IxChariot test with data running in both directions simultaneously. Total tunnel throughput is about the same as the unidirectional tests. But note that Client to Gateway traffic gets more throughput than Gateway to Client.

L2TP simultaneous traffic throughput test

Figure 13: L2TP simultaneous traffic throughput test

Routing Performance

The 2830n plus was tested using our router test process, using 3.3.6 firmware. The LAN side machine was put in DMZ and QoS had to be disabled on WAN2 (Ethernet). Otherwise all router defaults were used.

I was surprised to see throughput remain below 100 Mbps in all cases. But that's probably fast enough for most of the places where the router will be used. Note that the Maximum Simultaneous Connections test maxed out at our test limit of 34,925.

Test Description Throughput - (Mbps)
WAN - LAN 78.3
LAN - WAN 94.3
Total Simultaneous 83.5
Max Simultaneous Connections 34,925
Firmware Version 3.3.6
Table 3: Routing throughput

Figure 14 shows the IxChariot aggregate plots for WAN to LAN, LAN to WAN and simultaneous routing throughput tests, with pretty steady throughput for all.

Draytek 2830n plus routing throughput

Figure 14: Draytek 2830n plus routing throughput

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