Billion BiPAC 7800N
draft 802.11n, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
We've reviewed PCs smaller than this router, but this chunky grey box does plenty to justify its size and price. Billion's reputation for stability and consistent uptimes has served it well in the SME market, which makes this router attractive to companies. The BiPAC 7800N has features that an ordinary home user will never need, but could be just what you're looking for if you're setting up or expanding your small or home office.
The router support both ADSL and Ethernet WAN connections, so you can use it with almost any internet connection available in the UK. In the default ADSL mode, the EWAN port defaults to being a 5th LAN port, although it's only 10/100Mbit/s, while the other four LAN ports support Gigabit Ethernet.
The BiPAC 7800N doesn't come with a configuration CD but has both Basic and Advanced web configuration modes, as well as a quick start mode which takes you through configuring your ADSL settings and securing your wireless connection. Wireless defaults to channel-bonded mode - you'll need to use the wireless options in Advanced mode to set it to 20MHz only.
Firewall settings include packet filtering, port redirection and intrusion detection. You can also filter web content by URL or keyword or, block active content like Java applets and ActiveX scripts and set up scheduled hours during which these restrictions apply.
QoS can be configured in a dedicated menu interface, but there are no preset options to make life easier for beginners. Like the site blocking feature, you can set a schedule, which is handy if, for example, you only want to give a high priority to your BitTorrent client during off-peak hours to avoid having your connection speed throttled. Other features include DDNS via numerous free and paid-for providers, remote admin access, a VPN pass-through, wake on LAN and a telnet configuration interface.
The router's wireless performance is outstanding, with speeds of 46.6Mbit/s at 1m, 45Mbit/s at 10m and 27.7Mbit/s at 20m using our Centrino 2 laptop. Tests using Billion's own BiPAC 3010N adaptor (£25 inc VAT) produced speeds of up to 74.1Mbit/s but were slower in our longest range test. The BiPAC 7800N justifies its price with a wealth of features that make it a stand-out choice for a demanding home office.