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Wake On LAN

A simple but effective feature I really like on the 2910G is the ability to do Wake on LAN (WOL) from the router.  Not only does this provide a central place to power on PCs with WOL capability, it also enables WOL over the Internet, or WAN.  (For more information on WOL, take a look at these articles here and here.)

WOL screen

Figure 12: WOL screen

Let's say you want to to access a PC or Server on your network remotely, but want to leave it powered off while you're away.  With remote access enabled on the 2910G or via a VPN connection, you can log into your 2910G from anywhere in the world.  Once you've logged into your 2910G, you can then use the WOL function (Figure 12) on the router to power on your PC or Server for whatever purpose you had in mind, then power it off when you're done.  Not only does this save power and money, it is more secure to leave devices powered down when not in use.

Wireless

The 2910G has an 802.11b/g radio, and supports Atheros' Super G, which is the bonding of two 802.11g 54 Mbps channels.  Super G can improve wireless throughput if your wireless client supports it.  I tested the wireless functionality of the 2910G with my laptop and had no issues with network connectivity.  I'll touch on wireless performance later.

To secure your wireless network, standard wireless security features include WEP, WPA, WPA2, and 802.1x authentication, with WPA / WPA2 in both in Personal (PSK) and Enterprise (RADIUS) forms.  MAC address filtering can also be applied.  As mentioned in the discussion on security features, Web Authentication when enabled will force wireless users to authenticate before being able to use the network.

Wireless Distribution System (WDS) bridging / repeating is also supported, allowing for an expanded wireless network using common security and network settings. 

Consistent with the other bandwidth management features on the 2910G, there is an option for Station Rate Control.  This feature allows configuring a bandwidth limit for each wireless client between 100 Kbps and 30 Mbps in increments of 100 Kbps. There's also a Web Portal feature, which will redirect wireless clients upon first connection to a settable URL or show them a short message before passing them on to their desired destination.

Although you can block SSID broadcast, you can't set the router's transmit rate or power.

VLAN

The 2910G has basic VLAN capability in the form of port based VLANs.  802.1q VLAN tagging or trunking is not supported.  Each of the four LAN ports can be a member of one or more of VLAN0-VLAN3.

To separate traffic between wireless PC, wireless users can be divided into 16 different wireless VLANs (similar to port based VLANs) based on authentication credentials.  Further, members of each wireless VLAN can have a bandwidth limit applied, similar to the individual wireless bandwidth management feature.

Once wired and wireless VLANs are defined, a matrix of wired to wireless VLANs is available for defining whether clients in each wired and wireless vlan can access each other.

USB

If not in use with a 3G WWAN card, the USB port on the 2910G can be used to share files on a USB drive via FTP.  I connected several USB thumb drives and they were all recognized by the 2910G.  However, my SimpleTech 40 GB USB external drive was not recognized.

User names and passwords need to be created to allow for access to the FTP service since anonymous access isn't allowed.  Users can be configured for Read Only, Read/Write, and Read/Write/Delete permissions to the FTP service. 

Logging and Reporting

Log messages on the 2910G can be sent via email and/or to a syslog server, but they aren't saved on the router.  It would be useful if the router could save logs to a file on the USB drive if enabled.

Draytek includes a syslog application (Figure 13) on the CD that comes with the router.  I installed the application on an XP Pro PC and configured the 2910G to send its log messages to the IP address of the PC.

Draytek syslog application

Figure 13: Draytek syslog application

With this application running, firewall, VPN, user access, WAN activity, and network activity are all saved and viewable, providing information on the performance of your network and providing a nice troubleshooting tool.

The 2910G also has a basic utility to display a chart of Data Flows as well as a simple Traffic Flow graph.  The Data Flow chart shows a snapshot of current users TX and RX rates and active sessions.  It also shows the number of active sessions on the WAN and peak TX and RX bandwidth usage as shown in Figure 14 below.

Data flow monitor

Figure 14: Data flow monitor

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