Billion BiPAC 7800DXL full review
Most wireless routers come in two flavours: the first has a single WAN (wide area network) port and requires a separate external modem. The second type of router, strictly speaking a 'modem router', usually include an ADSL2+ modem to form an integrated one-box unit. See all Wi-Fi and networking reviews.
Billion has aimed its 7800DXL modem router at the small business, or a home user that's looking for a little more flexibility. Well, a lot more flexibility in fact. Read our Western Digital My Net AC Bridge review too.
The Billion BiPAC 7800DXL's options for getting online cover most currently available routes. You have a potential WAN port for a separate cable or ADSL modem; a DSL port to make use of the internal ADSL2+ modem; and a USB port. Note that the WAN port comes at the expense of one of the four gigabit ethernet LAN ports. See also: Group test: what's the best wireless router?
The USB allows you to connect a 3G (or 4G) wireless dongle, as well as the usual printer or hard drive. Check Billion's list of compatible cellular modems.
On first inspection the router itself feels a little cheap, using thin plastics where the circuits inside are clearly visible. However, this is can be a good thing; when you rotate the device it becomes clear that the case has been designed to provide a high level of cooling through the vents. In fact, the only solid surface is the front, where the LED monitor lights are mounted.
Setup of the unit, as with most modern routers, is remarkably simple. And while the settings for customising the router's use are more detailed than most, they are very straightforward in their layout.
For example, you can select certain ports (applications such as browsers or FTP software) and decide how much bandwidth they are allowed on the network. This will be very useful for the home user, since Bit Torrent filesharing can be capped at the program level and VoIP services (such as Skype) can be prioritised.
This will also be of use to small businesses, where critical traffic can be ringfenced and others limited. Small businesses will also benefit from the router's ability to filter internet sites by URL, reducing the requirement for a proxy server.
To test the unit's wireless performance, we created a number of tests for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. These tests varied the range and number of occlusions between the router and the test laptop. The laptop includes a 3x3 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output antennae) arrangement for best 11n performance, although the Billion wireless router itself is behind the curve with a two-antennae configuration.
The first test was at 1m, test two was made at 7m (line of sight) and test three was at 10m with heavy concrete walls in between.
On the 2.4GHz channel, setup one returned a speed of 104 Mb/s, setup two returned a speed of 75 Mb/s and setup three returned a speed of 17 Mb/s. These speeds are in line with many midrange routers in the 802.11n class.
The results for the 5GHz channel were as follows: setup one resulted in a speed of 203 Mb/s, setup two returned a speed of 100 Mb/s and setup three was measured at 16 Mb/s.
The 1m performance was unusually good. This reviewer has tested a range of routers and none have managed to transmit or receive data at faster than 180 Mb/s before on 802.11n 5GHz.
Billion BiPAC 7800DXL: Specs
- Dual-band 11n wireless modem router
- concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio
- WPA2, WPS
- ADSL2+ modem
- 4x gigabit ethernet LAN (configurable with 1x gigabit WAN)
- IPV4, IPV6, NAT, Firewall, DoS Attack prevention, URL content filtering, QoS, USB Application server, DNLA Media Server, Print server, SNR adjustment
- 230 x 155 x 43 mm