BT Router replacement

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Lozart1970

New Around Here
Hi there, I'm looking to replace my BT Smart Hub 2. I already have 2 Unifi AC-Lite APs so I'm not fussed on Wifi capability, I'm more interested in firewall throughput. I'm currently getting rough 935Mbps on the BT router and clearly don't want to downgrade that but I would like to have a bit more flexibility in the router config.

I've been looking at the Draytek 2866 or 2927 as options, mostly because I've used Draytek routers in the past and they've always been pretty well supported and reliable.

Is there anything better out there without going down the pfSense route (I have neither the time nor the inclination to do that).
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
How do you connect to the internet? xDSL, fibre or?
As BT has so many different services, that's kind of a key thing we need to know to help.
 

Lozart1970

New Around Here
How do you connect to the internet? xDSL, fibre or?
As BT has so many different services, that's kind of a key thing we need to know to help.

Good point, well made!

FTTP. Huawei modem in the ONT. Currently connected to the Smart Hub 2 via ethernet WAN port.
 

Lozart1970

New Around Here
Right, so then you're free to get pretty much any router you want.
Maybe something from Asus, supported by Merlin's firmware?
Free as a bird!

Do they do anything without the "gamer" aesthetic? Especially as I don't need the WiFi bits.

Are the Draytek routers still good?
 

Lozart1970

New Around Here
The issue I'm finding is firewall throughput seems to be no better than the BT box. I have been seeing speedtest numbers around 935Mbps down and 117(ish) up, just that there is a rather limited feature set on the SH2.
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
Free as a bird!

Do they do anything without the "gamer" aesthetic? Especially as I don't need the WiFi bits.

Are the Draytek routers still good?
Hmmm, how about this?


I haven't used anything from Draytek in ages, but they're a bit behind in terms of the hardware I'd say.

Seen a few recommendations here of this one, but personally I wouldn't connect anything from TP-Link facing the internet.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
The TP-Link on broadbanbuyer.com above is showing as down loading malware for me as it wants me to click on a screen to see the site.
 
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Lozart1970

New Around Here
I haven't used anything from Draytek in ages, but they're a bit behind in terms of the hardware I'd say.

The AX86U looks good, thanks for that.

What is it that Draytek are behind the curve on though? The current gigabit routers seem to have very high throughput figures, is it just the WiFi parts they're behind on? As they're sold as business routers I doubt they're that bothered about high speed wifi for gaming!
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
The AX86U looks good, thanks for that.

What is it that Draytek are behind the curve on though? The current gigabit routers seem to have very high throughput figures, is it just the WiFi parts they're behind on? As they're sold as business routers I doubt they're that bothered about high speed wifi for gaming!
Draytek is still mostly using quite old MIPS processors, these days owned ny MaxLinear, prior to that by Intel and originally by Lantiq. Some of this obviously has to do with the xDSL capabilities, since the chips in question have good xDSL support.
However, the SoCs were originally launched as far back as 2014, with some being from 2017, since Intel didn't invest too heavily into new SoC designs due to them pushing to sell Atom based router chips. However, the latter backfired, as Intel has some major hardware bugs in those platforms and based on what I know, most of them were never manufactured.
So what you're looking at is 600MHz to 1GHz dual core chips, albeit with a faster network engine. They're capable up to a point, MIPS processors are good for routing data compared to Arm based processors, but they're not as good when it comes to technically everything else.
It seems like they're using MTK in some of their non xDSL products, but it's still MIPS based processors from 5+ years ago.

Obviously in your case, you don't need the WiFi end of the router, but Draytek is way behind here compared to the competition, most likely because they have to spend a lot of time to make the WiFi drivers work on their platform, since not only are MIPS and Arm Linux different enough to require the drivers to be recompiled, but as there's obviously going to be some work to integrate everything into their own custom OS, although this mostly applies to all router manufacturers.

I'm not saying Draytek are making bad products as such, they are after all known for making very stable products, but they are behind the competition if you start comparing things like VPN throughput, WiFi performance and options, as well as many other things.
If you like them and if the performance is good enough for your needs, there's no real reason not to buy their products, if you keep the limitations in mind. Unlike say TP-Link and several other of their competitors, they do seem to provide better software/firmware support, which is a bonus.

A bonus with the Asus, is that Merlin supports it. And it was the 68, not 86 that I linked to ;)

One last thing, if you get a router with WiFi and decide not to use the integrate WiFi, please attach the antennas regardless, as you can fry the WiFi power amplifiers if you power on a router without the antennas attached.
 
Last edited:

Lozart1970

New Around Here
Draytek is still mostly using quite old MIPS processors, these days owned ny MaxLinear, prior to that by Intel and originally by Lantiq. Some of this obviously has to do with the xDSL capabilities, since the chips in question have good xDSL support.
However, the SoCs were originally launched as far back as 2014, with some being from 2017, since Intel didn't invest too heavily into new SoC designs due to them pushing to sell Atom based router chips. However, the latter backfired, as Intel has some major hardware bugs in those platforms and based on what I know, most of them were never manufactured.
So what you're looking at is 600MHz to 1GHz dual core chips, albeit with a faster network engine. They're capable up to a point, MIPS processors are good for routing data compared to Arm based processors, but they're not as good when it comes to technically everything else.
It seems like they're using MTK in some of their non xDSL products, but it's still MIPS based processors from 5+ years ago.

Obviously in your case, you don't need the WiFi end of the router, but Draytek is way behind here compared to the competition, most likely because they have to spend a lot of time to make the WiFi drivers work on their platform, since not only are MIPS and Arm Linux different enough to require the drivers to be recompiled, but as there's obviously going to be some work to integrate everything into their own custom OS, although this mostly applies to all router manufacturers.

I'm not saying Draytek are making bad products as such, they are after all known for making very stable products, but they are behind the competition if you start comparing things like VPN throughput, WiFi performance and options, as well as many other things.
If you like them and if the performance is good enough for your needs, there's no real reason not to buy their products, if you keep the limitations in mind. Unlike say TP-Link and several other of their competitors, they do seem to provide better software/firmware support, which is a bonus.

A bonus with the Asus, is that Merlin supports it. And it was the 68, not 86 that I linked to ;)

One last thing, if you get a router with WiFi and decide not to use the integrate WiFi, please attach the antennas regardless, as you can fry the WiFi power amplifiers if you power on a router without the antennas attached.
Thanks for that, very informative!
 

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