draft 802.11n, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Billion’s BiPAC 7402NX has similar features to the 7402GXL, with a built-in ADSL modem and USB support for 3G mobile internet dongles.
You can configure the latter to act as a backup if your ADSL connection goes down. This router includes Draft-N wireless, four Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for 16 simultaneous encrypted VPN tunnels, which will appeal to small businesses with remote workers.
The setup CD includes a Windows utility for easy installation. It starts with handy diagrams of how to connect your router to the mains, your ADSL line and the rest of your network. Then it asks you to select your network adaptor; if you have multiple adaptors, you’ll have to work out which is most appropriate yourself. The installer refuses to fully configure the router without an active ADSL connection. This is an oversight for a router that can connect to the net via ADSL or 3G. Once connected to our ADSL line, the program tested our LAN and 3G connections and then prompted us to enter our ADSL account settings.
For more experienced users, the quick install booklet provides detailed instructions on setting up both 3G and ADSL connections using the router’s web interface. The interface looks basic, but its clearly marked expanding menus were easy to use. We were particularly pleased to find that the quick install guide included 3G WAN settings for all UK mobile providers.
There are plenty of advanced features. Quality of Service (QoS) configuration allows you to prioritise, or throttle, traffic to and from specific ports and IP addresses. A time-limited remote administration mode allows you to grant remote PCs temporary access to the router’s settings; this is handy for off-site troubleshooting of VPN problems. The flexible firewall makes it easy to block instant messenger and peer-to-peer traffic. However, you’ll need experience with networks to make the most of all these capabilities.
Wireless transfer speeds, to our Centrino 2 laptop, of 38.2Mbit/s at 1m and 30.3Mbit/s at 10m are more than respectable. We’ve seen faster and cheaper routers, such as Edimax’s BR-6574n (What’s New, Shopper 251), although they lack the 7402NX’s ADSL modem.
The 7402NX may seem expensive, but it has plenty of features that will be useful to a small business. The VPN support is great, although 802.11b/g VPN routers are available from £60. 3G backup could be essential if you need a constant connection to the net, although it’s also available from cheaper devices, including other Billion routers. Still, the combination of these features with Draft N wireless makes it worth buying if it matches the needs of your business.
|Draft 802.11n support
|MAC address filtering
|Number of WAN ports
|Ethernet connection speed
|Power consumption on
|Universal Plug and Play support
|USB device support
|two years RTB