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Tech: Draytek Router

Joe Offer 21 Feb 15 - 11:00 PM
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Subject: Tech: Draytek Router
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 15 - 11:00 PM

Subject: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 08:30 AM

I'd normally look for a more technical forum that this one but as my questions are (I think) more consumer orientated, I'll try here.

Firstly, has anyone here dealt with their tech support and how did they find it?

I bought one of thier 2860 series routers a few weeks ago. It offered a few things I wanted (eg. VLAN simplifies our home networking, I wanted some control over bandwith, etc) and it seemed to offer things I might want in the future (eg, it has dual band wifi and can do VDSL as well as ADSL). It seems to be excellent on everything I've tried except ADSL download speed.

As an example using the BT speedtest, using a Billion router as a modem (bridge mode) and connecting it to a WAN2 port of Draytek has just reported as 2.6Mbps download speed. The last attempt using Draytek's own ADSL port achieved 1.3Mbps.

Results have varied but typically, I'd estimate that compared to the Billion router, I loose about 1/3 of my download speed by using the Daytek's built in ADSL.

I can achieve similar results to the Billion using a Netgear router. The Draytek one is the odd one out.

I've been dealing with their tech support for about a week now and am starting to get fed up with it. They put it down to needing to find the correct "modem code" for my line.

Apparently, to find this, I need to keep trying different firmware upgrades (well downgrades) and trying different "modem codes" offered in them. There has also been one "TFTP reflash" which requires a Windows OS (I've only got it on an aging laptop and it's a pain)...

The last firmware change has lost my web interface because "The file system of Web-based UI is inconsistent with router's firmware.
Please check the firmware version." and apparrently I now need to get the laptop out to do another TFTP reflash to fix this...


The whole thing feels an unreasonable and inconvenient sort of fishing exercise in case something turns up to me.

I have expressed a view that I would be willing to accept that the Draytek is not going to well on my ADSL line and would put up with using the Billion as a modem but would like some reassurance that the root cause is not faulty hardware on the Drayek. I don't want to find that say in a year or so when (it at least seems possible round here) we get VDSL, that I still have problems with download speeds to get told something like "sorry, there is a fault with your router and you are out of warranty".

I've been assured that the hunt for the correct modem code for my current line is the correct way to go.

So. Has anyone here ever found a modem code change making a real difference?

Where might others go from here? As stated above, I actually like this router in many ways but a) I don't want to have been sold a dud and b) I'm rapidly loosing patience and confidence in thier tech support,




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 10:02 AM

I don't have a Draytec but I've had a Billion and several Netgear routers and most these were able to report line statistics. I assume the Draytec can too.

This site is good at explaining ADSL stats:
http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/linestats.htm

I would compare the stats from the 3 routers. Is the Draytec running at a significantly lower sync speed? Is it syncing at a much higher noise margin (my current Netgear seems to connect at 6db but will hold on down to 0db before losing sync.)

In my (limited) experience, firmware upgrades often claim to improve stability, which would usually result in a higher sync speed.

I thought about getting a Draytec recently - in anticipation of getting VDSL - but the reviews I read were not encouraging.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 10:53 AM

The last figures I can find I quoted were:

Netgear:
SNR 12
Line Attenuation 59
Data Rate 2638kbps

Billion:
SNR 10.8
Line Attenuation 66.0
Data Rate 2974kbps

DrayTek
SNR 12
Line Attuenuation 61
Data Rate 1726kbps

In fairness to the Drayek otherwise. It at least seems to do the other bits for me. I problems with a Cisco RV180W I tired a year or so back in conjunction with the Billion, the first firmware I had would not port forward over PPoe. Thought that was fixed, uprated my review and then found other problems. The thing is now relegated to being an AP at the other side of our bungalow...

But... As things stand, there is no way I could reccomend this one as a possible candidate for your (like mine) hopeful upgrade to VDSL one day.

As a side comment, I think what makes it even more annoying to me is these things are supposed to be getting on towards the business class of routers...




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 11:28 AM

I'm not an expert by any means...

I've just payed about 30 quid to BT for a BT Home Hub 4 to replace an elderly and recently failing Home Hub 2.

And it just plugged in and works as easy and simple as that.

[I think I live fairly close to an exchange, which probably helps.]

I wonder sometimes if we can over complicate things and create unnecessary problems.

I have 'plug n play' WD media oriented auto connect DNLA routers & distributer boxes
running off the BT hub to sort out the mains adapter home network..
and everything works ok - Amazon Prime HD streaming video off the internet is very stable and reliable.

Maybe it's not such a bad idea to choose the simplest consumer options...???




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 11:31 AM

Assuming this is a rate-adaptive line, it looks like you have a target SNR of 12db (and the Billion was probably measured when that had dropped). If it doesn't drop too low in the evenings you might get that decreased with a consequent overall speed increase - but that doesn't address the Draytek problem.

I wonder what support mean by the correct modem code for my current line. Suggests they might have some firmware knocking about somewhere that's good for poor lines. Odd.

You're comparing the Draytec with some good kit, IME. My Billion 5200g was very fast - knocked the socks off the Thomson box plusnet supplied. Only beaten by my Netgear DG834 (£20). It's why I was reading reviews of possible replacements closely.

Can't think of anything else relevant. Good luck!




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 11:46 AM

There are times I can wonder that, punkfolkrocker.

That said, the way I'd arranged our home network with wired and wireless lan did mean I wanted a router supporting VLAN, one user on Youtube for example could hog all the bandwith and even the basic bandwith controls on this one seem to solve that, etc.

We don't use things like Amazon video but can at times move a bit around the LAN with mythtv, eg. mother watching tv recording in study, me in my room anther recording or video. I ran the cables outside the bungalow for that and have redundancy (link aggregation) for that bit...




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 11:48 AM

To give you something to compare, if it helps...

I've just done the basic BT broadband speed test.

My simple non expert 'plug n play' consumer gear test report for a South West town centre domestic BT line is:

22.6 Mb between exchange and home

Download 18.2 Mb

Upload 0.95 Mb




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 11:51 AM

Btw.. I'm very much a plug n play n forget n let dust gather on it
sort of bloke when it comes home media entertainment gear...




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 11:56 AM

"Modem code" is a new one to me. Every version of the firmware I've tried has 2 of these. The belief seems to be that somewhere along the line there is an older version of the firmware better suited to slower lines like mine. Odd, yes, it seems that way to me - I could be totally wrong but my gut feeling is that all these "modem codes" around may well be an indiction of there being something more fundamentally wrong with the units themselves.

As for the models here. The Billion is a Bipac 5200S RC. Very cheap and just has 1 ethernet port. The Netgear I used is a DG384 - V3. I still have a V1 somewhere.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 12:05 PM

I'd not expcet to get close to your figures, punkfolkrocker. I'm in rural North Norfolk and some distance from the exchange. Going by my own experience over the last couple of years (I think things were slower before) and those of a couple of neighbours a while back, I'd say that for download one should be able to achieve something stable and in the loosely sort of 2.5mbps range most of the while.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 12:10 PM

(opps, should have been Netgear DG834 above.)




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 12:17 PM

To give you something to compare, if it helps...
One of the OP's problems is that he's a long way from the exchange - and/or has a crappy line. That 60db 'line attenuation' suggests 4 to 5Km. Each 3db is a halving of the signal so that's about one millionth I reckon.

So finding a router that will make the best of that - and not drop the connection every evening - can be important. And routers do vary in my experience - though I've no idea how a BT Hub performs.

This link will tell you how far from the exchange you are and what speen BT reckons you can get.

BTW If anyone decides to get a cheap Netgear DG834 on eBay, you want the DG834/V3. Avoid the V4.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 12:23 PM

Just to expand on what DaveRo said in his last post. A typical estimate for our line (and I had a recent one as we are also changing providers for other reasons - trying to consolodate billing and a cheaper service rather than line problems) is 2mbps but (as indicated above) I believe that is a bit on the conservative side. I must admit I thought we were about half that distance suggested from the exchange but I don't know how the cables run.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 12:43 PM

(And was thinking in miles. By car, Cromer exchange to me is about 2 1/2 - 3 miles)




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 01:42 PM

Another comparison - I'm rural north of Bristol and the exchange is 1.5 miles by road, just a fraction more as the line runs. When I set up here in 2003 BT said download 2mbps, but I usually managed a little more.

The line then and now is half & half - first half underground, second half overhead. Between 2003 and 2013 the speed gradually increased to about 5mbps and BT said 5.5 max. Over the past year Openreach have run fibre to the halfway cabinet, but we still have an old overhead copper cable the rest of the way.

My reliable speed is now 7mbps and most of the day I get a little over 8mbps.

I ran a Netgear wired DG934 until last year - I've replaced it with a Netgear N600 dual-band wireless. I did a weeks' comparison during the changeover and the performance of both was about the same.

Phil




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 02:06 PM

Thanks for the info Phil and it is interesting and encouraging to read how well things have improved for you.

Without wishing to be the killjoy, I'm not sure how much comparisons help me at the moment though. I don't think my own say past 2 year experience (further back gets foggier in memory...) and expectation should be too far out for the conditions where I live,

The biggest mystery to me is perhaps the difference between the Netgear and the Draytek. To go back a bit:

Netgear:
SNR 12
Line Attenuation 59
Data Rate 2638kbps

DrayTek
SNR 12
Line Attuenuation 61
Data Rate 1726kbps

I don't understand these things but you'd thing the Draytek should be able to sync at a higher rate than it manages?

But maybe even that is a side issue.

What would you do having spent over £200 on one of these things, keep it and work it with the Billion (and hope things will turn out OK if fibre does arrive), keep on trying with their tech support, come up with other argements with them (what?) or (and I don't think I want to do this but)... try to reject the unit and ask for money back?




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 02:27 PM

.. if anyone is interested... I'm clueless about network technology,
but have somehow pieced together a wired home network as cheaply as possible that just simply plugs together,
auto connects, and works.

The BT Home Hub 4 is connected to a Western Digital My Net N900 Central router/mini NAS
which feeds the TP-Link 500Mps mains plug / ethernet adapters.

At the very end of the chain downstairs is a WD My Net N750 which provides WiFi for our mobiles and tablets.

This set up links HD/3D DLNA media devices - Sky HD, various Freeview HD recorders, Blu-Ray etc
so that HD content & internet streaming can be shared & viewed around the house.

The WDs received mixed reviews from 'experts', but I got them cheap in end of line blow out sales,
and they just work good enough without any need for me to open up configuration menus.

That's the way I like it.

It's not perfect, I don't understand why one Win 7 PC but not another recognizes the network ?
I got bored trying to figure out that PCs home network settings
after several attempts; so gave up.
It's no big loss, and makes no difference to what reaches the upstairs and downstairs TVs.....




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 03:11 PM

Totally OT, punkrocker but for me to go on...

I'd not be able to help you with Windows Networking and am not that good with my own which is Linux (only Windows I have these days is Vista Home Basic on a dual boot laptop)

I live in an L shaped bungalow and I never managed to find a workable central position for wireless so I run it at the two ends of the property. Other than that, much of our network is wired. I run 2 LANS (subnets) one is for friends and family and includes the study PC as a wired member of the Guest network.

I suppose you could say there are 2 main hubs, one is a Linux box in the living room which does quite a few things (eg, mythtv, local dns, grabs email for a IMAP, some of my own "home automation", printing, etc) and other this router (which in the case of the Draytek, enabled me to take the routing tasks from the Linux box in the living room).

I've not had much to do with DNLA/upnp, except to say that I can play mythtv stuff on Androids using the now defunct "Skifta". I think I've tried a couple of other apps along the line and different servers but don't think I've ever really reached the state where everything works with everything and it's not something I've tried often. For me, some things are more to show, yes I can watch tv on Android that a real want although mileages of course vary.

Of course, there is also mdns/bonjour/avahi..




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 03:31 PM

I live in an L shaped bungalow and I never managed to find a workable central position for wireless...
I prefer to separate the router and the Access Point. My venerable Netgear DG834/V3 is near the BT master socket. (And I've cut the bell wires too.) The AP is an equally venerable Netgear WG102 placed more centrally in the house (using PoE); it's also more capable than most AP's in all-in-one boxes.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 04:02 PM

I cut the bell wire as well and quite a few year ago. It was IIRC an early tip - to pullout the extension line that was wired in the master socket (these days btw we use DECT phones) and get rid of that ring wire.

The phone line comes in at my bed/living room end of the property. Prior to the Draytek, I had been using a TPLink AP there. The other (main living room) area has the Cisco as the AP.

The property probably has no more floor area than many houses but rather than having it neatly packed in two stories,its a relatively long haul from one extreme to the other.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 06 Feb 15 - 05:26 PM

With a decent wireless router, I doubt that the distance is the problem. I don't have any difficulty picking up my neighbour's wireless and his router is 58m from where I sit.

I have more difficulty at the other end of our L-shaped barn conversion, which is only 10.5m away, but the signal has to get through 1.5m of stone wall and 8 layers of Al foil on the internal insulation. So most of my kit runs wired - the wireless is only used in the living room directly below the router.

I need a telephone network, because a DECT base near the master socket wouldn't reach some of the house. I have a single filter at the master socket and the telephone side is routed over the Cat5 network. And we need the bell - things are better recently, but power cuts were common and we have one old plug-in phone which is all that works then.

Phil




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 07 Feb 15 - 12:20 AM

I believe you are right aboubt obstacles although we've nothing like your wall. Wi-fi does actually reach from one end to the other here but the signal quality drops to "poor" and connections aren't that reliable.

I'd not thought of a comparison with DECT before but the base is fairly close to the wireless router in my room and that works well without the nead for a repeater.

The DECT base is on the UPS in my room and, with my PC shut down (which happens after about 10 minutes), together with a couple of other bits has a good hour to run on battery. I do keep an old plug in phone in the room.

Long power cuts are quite rare here. The most common ones we get (and these don't seem to happen as often as they once used to) are ones that last between say a few seconds and 5 minutes. Had one of those yesterday. According the emails from the UPS, power out at 12:54:18, restored at 12:54:27.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 07 Feb 15 - 02:31 AM

Having given one thought before...

Maybe it's not such a bad idea to choose the simplest consumer options...???

Of course there are options like this this where one perhaps could build ones own router. Then there are things like OpenWrt which one can put on their own routers...

(but no, I'm just idly passing a few minutes of thought here rather than seriously considering it)




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Feb 15 - 10:15 AM

When it comes to computer and network gear,
I do understand and appreciate the difference between blokes like me
who just want value for £££$ user friendly consumer products that just work right out the box -
just like kettles and toasters;
and the more complicated gear aimed at enthusiasts/hobbyists/geeks
who love the challenge of tweaking every configurable setting, nuts and bolts...

I used to be like that with midi and synth gear - never use the factory preset sounds
when I could pointlessly waste hours haphazardly programming my own 'unique' noises...

Anyway, thought I'd mention a few points about those WD routers I got cheap in sales.

A couple of years WD entered the market with well reviewed high specced and expensive media oriented routers,

"Smart HD entertainment streaming with FasTrack

Exclusive FasTrack technology delivers smooth high-quality HD streaming to all your connected devices. It instantly recognizes and accelerates Netflix™, HuluPlus™, Pandora™, CinemaNow™ and YouTube. You can customize it to recognize other Internet favorites so there's no waiting for your HD entertainment even if it's streaming all at the same time."

eg: http://www.amazon.co.uk/N750-Router-Multi-HD-Streams-Fastrack/dp/B0089B4G3Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423320990&sr=8-1&keywords=wd+my+net+n750

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/networking-and-wi-fi/modem-routers/western-digital-my-net-n900-central-1087848/review

Some folks thought they were brilliant products, others moaned they were a bit buggy..

After a few firmware updates, they were discontinued...

The point is these previously very pricey routers can now be picked up very cheap on ebay if anyone can be bothered looking and taking an informed risk..




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Feb 15 - 10:17 AM

eg: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WD-My-Net-N750-HD-Dual-Band-Router-for-Multi-HD-Streams-with-Fastrack-/161558249396?pt=UK_Computing_DesktopPCs&hash=item259d9f3fb4

brand new for a penny less than 30 quid.

If I remember, the WD My Net N750 HD Dual Band Router was the one many buyers agreed
was most reliable and stable.

But plenty of pro / user reviews out there....




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Feb 15 - 12:23 PM

..actually, on further thought..

The slightly better specced Western Digital My Net N900 might have been the preferred choice on consumer forums;
especially when the price was at least haved last year...??

Whatever, the Western Digital My Net N900 Central with built in hard drive,
which is the one I got, probably gained most user review negativity.

Though it seems to have worked perfectly ok for me this last year or so...




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 07 Feb 15 - 12:35 PM

Long power cuts are quite rare here. The most common ones we get (and these don't seem to happen as often as they once used to) are ones that last between say a few seconds and 5 minutes. Had one of those yesterday. According the emails from the UPS, power out at 12:54:18, restored at 12:54:27.

Same here, although the few we've had in the past 3 years have been about 10-20 minutes. The longest ever was Christmas Day 1981 - 16 hours from 10:00 to 02:00 Boxing Day. Luckily, we had an oil-fired Aga so I was able to cook Christmas dinner. Quite romantic, lit by candles and oil lamps in front of the woodburner. The chest freezer just lasted out.

Phil




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 07 Feb 15 - 01:15 PM

I've not lived anywhere with an Aga and would be stumped for Christmas dinner. That said, we have a woodburner, there is a camping stove for making cups of tea down the garden I can bring in, in years gone by I had an old Optimus stove which could be fun to light for a cup of tea, we have a few hurricane lamps here, etc.

I think as well as possible romantic feelings, one can feel a sort of smugnesss when these things happen - powers gone but we are not beaten, we can do this! Needn't be stuck for entertainment either, like I'd guess 99% on Mudcat, I play and sing, and my mother plays piano.

I know we'd like to get back to "normality" and there can be concerns, including the freezer, but I wonder if theses days, the first frustration for me in a longer cut would be the disre (and OK, sometimes need) to get back on line with the Internet...




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Feb 15 - 03:00 PM

Had the switch from TalkTalk to Plusnet today. I was quite pleased when I tried the Draytek's ADSL

SNR 6
Line Attuenuation 59
Data Rate 2832kbps

I thought perhaps the Draytek had problems with Talktalk until I looked at the Billion.

SNR 6
Line Attuenuation 63.5
Data Rate 3712kbps




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 11 Feb 15 - 03:34 PM

Looks like PlusNet have given you a target SNR margin of 6db, which is what I have. It's the default I think. My SNRM drops every evening - at the moment it's 0-2; I understand that's due to interference so you may not see that if you're in a rural area.

As I said, the Billion 5200 is a fast box. From what I've read it's the chipset that is the main factor influencing ADSL sync speed. Since you posted here I've read a couple of reviews saying that the only bad thing about a Draytek was that it was slow - not the model you have, but maybe the same chipset.

I've been looking for reviews of VDSL performance and found little. Maybe your Draytek will be OK if/when you get fibre.




Subject: RE: Tech: Draytek Router (UK)
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Feb 15 - 04:58 PM

Thanks for the info.

I think that's going to be the conclusion I reach. ie. It's unlikely the Draytek is going to get close to the Billion on this line regardless of firmware up/downgrades and modem codes and that it's probably the nature of the hardware rather than a fault with this particular unit.

I think I'll opt to stay with the Draytek as things are (Billion now running in half bridge mode) and worry about fibre if/when it comes.


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