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LAN & WAN Reviews

Dual WAN Features

The 2920 is a dual WAN router with two Ethernet WAN ports plus a USB port that can function as a WAN port.   WAN1 is the default WAN port, which operates at 100 Mbps.  Obviously, WAN1 is intended to connect to your ISP, so the fact that it isn't 1000 Mbps shouldn't be an issue unless you have an unusually fast Internet service.

WAN2 is the other Ethernet WAN port, it operates at 1000 Mbps.  The default configuration is for WAN1 to be primary, and WAN2 to be “Active on demand,” meaning WAN2 runs in a standby status.

I had no problem connecting WAN1 to a standard DSL service.  To access the Internet through the 2920, you have to either use the Quick Start Wizard or manually configure a WAN interface.  Either way, it is a couple of clicks and you're able to surf.

To test WAN1 to WAN2 failover, I set up a continuous ping to the Internet, disconnected WAN1, and timed how long before my ping succeeded through WAN2.  The 2920 consistently switched to WAN2 in approximately 15 seconds.  Upon reconnecting WAN1, the 2920 automatically restored WAN1 within approximately 15 seconds and placed WAN2 back into standby. 

In addition to the two WAN ports, the 2920 has a USB port on the front which can be used to connect to a 3G wireless service.  Draytek provides a list of supported 3G modems on their website.   But it would be useful if Draytek identified supported carriers as well. So you need to find the make and model of your modem on your service provider's supported model list to determine compatibility with the 2920. 

I looked up 3G modems on both Verizon and AT&T wireless websites.  Verizon advertises Qualcomm 3G CMDA and Qualcomm MSM7625 USB Modems.  Neither Qualcomm modem is listed on the Draytek supported modem list.  AT&T doesn't list the make and model of its 3G USB Modems on their website.  Bottom line, if you're looking to use the USB port on the 2920, make sure your USB modem is compatible, first.

In addition to basic failover and 3G support, the WAN ports can be configured for load balancing.  Load balancing modes are “Auto Weighting” or “According to Line Speed.”  The Auto Weighting options are to  either run both WAN interfaces active at all times, or for one interface to be in “Active on demand” status as tested above.

The “According to Line Speed” option enables traffic distribution based on your WAN link speeds.  (An easy way to measure your ISP speed is through a speed site, such as speedtest.net.)  I set up WAN1 with twice the speed of WAN2 as shown in Figure 4, and then ran a simple traceroute to determine the interface the traffic flowed through. 

Load Balancing setup

Figure 4: Load Balancing setup

With the above configuration, my traffic went out WAN1 as expected. Configuring WAN2 with a higher speed than WAN1, my traffic went out WAN2 as expected.

Load Balancing Policies can be created to specify which types of traffic go over which interfaces. For example, you could configure all Web, Email and other TCP based traffic to go over WAN1, and VOIP or other UDP based traffic over WAN2, as shown in Figure 5.

Load Balancing setup

Figure 5: Load Balancing policy

Bandwidth Management

I found the 2920's bandwidth management menus and features unchanged from those on the 2910, with three configuration options.

First, individual devices can be limited to how many sessions they can establish simultaneously. I tested this feature by setting up a limit of two sessions for my PC (based on IP address). I then opened two browser sessions at once, and was presented with the warning message shown in Figure 6.

Load Balancing setup

Figure 6: Maximum sessions warning

Second, bandwidth can be limited by IP address. With this option, a maximum transmit and receive rate can be set per device, based on its IP address.

Third, the 2920 offers multiple QoS controls. Bandwidth can be allocated to three different user-defined classes of traffic. Traffic classes can be defined based on IP addresses, DSCP markings, or protocol. There are 29 defined protocols such as DNS, SIP, H.323, HTTP, etc..., and you can add your own protocol as needed.

As you can see in Figure 7, I've set up classes for Web, FTP, and VOIP traffic, allocating 25% of the available bandwidth to each protocol.

Bandwidth management

Figure 7: Bandwidth management

USB Features

If you're not using the front USB port for a 3G USB Modem, the 2920 supports sharing a USB printer or USB drive. Supported printers are listed here.

USB file sharing is a new feature on the 2920 with firmware v3.3.6.  Draytek calls USB File Sharing the “DrayTek NAS facility.”  I tested several USB drives with the 2920.  My 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB thumb drives all were recognized by the 2920, but a SimpleTech 40GB USB drive was not.  I used a Sandisk Cruzer 4GB USB drive for my tests.

Notes on the Draytek website indicate some external USB drives may require external power.  My SimpleTech 40GB USB drive must be one of them.  My SimpleTech 40GB USB drive runs fine on USB power from my laptop but unfortunately isn't recognized by the 2920.

Once a USB drive is connected and recognized by the 2920, there is a USB indicator light on the front of the router that lights when the thumb drive is ready for use.  Further, the Online Status menu of the 2920 has an icon of a thumb drive when the a USB drive is detected, as shown in the top of Figure 8.

USB drive detected

Figure 8: USB drive detected

A nice feature on the 2920 is the File Explorer option. This feature allows you to browse the content of the USB drive while connected to the router, enabling you to see the files you're sharing from the router.

To drag and drop files via Windows Explorer with the 2920, you enable the Samba Service and create a USB user on the router. Once complete, I found the easiest way to connect to the shared drive was to browse to ftp://192.168.1.1, click Page, and then click Open FTP Site in Windows Explorer. From there, I was able to drag and drop files to/from my Windows desktop and the Draytek NAS.

I started by copying a 2.98 GB file from my laptop to the 2920 (write). I was a bit surprised when it said it was going to take 55 minutes, but I waited it out. It ended up taking 61 minutes for a write rate of 0.8 MB/s. Copying the same file from the 2920 to my laptop (read) was quicker, it completed in just under 30 minutes or about 1.6 MB/s.

I tried smaller files. Copying a 121 MB file to the Draytek took over 2 minutes, and copying it back to my laptop took just under 1 minute. A 2 MB file copies within seconds.

Bottom line, the "Draytek NAS facility" works, but it isn't very fast (about 1 MB/s). It can come in handy for sharing pictures or other smaller files, but is pretty slow for large file operations.

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