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Billion BiPAC 5200W review

Barry de la Rosa
3 Nov 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
40
inc VAT

A comprehensive set of features make the 5200W an attractive router for small business, but low speeds and a high price mean it's not suitable for home users.

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Specifications

802.11g, 4x 10/100 Ethernet ports

Many routers these days promise support for 802.11n wireless, but with a single antenna, they're limited to 150Mbit/s rather than 802.11n's full 300Mbit/s. Not only does this save on the cost of an extra antenna, but it means they don't have to go through the costly certification process. The Billion 5200W is one such N-lite router. At £40 it’s far from the cheapest such router, but then it’s designed for small business, rather than home, use.

For that reason the 5200W has a feature-filled web interface that some could find overwhelming. Thankfully, there's also a clear and easy-to-use wizard that steps you through the basics of changing the default password, and setting up your ADSL and wireless connections.

Small business users will appreciate the wealth of features, once they decipher the poorly-translated menu system – for example, the main setup menu is confusingly called Interface Setup. However, the organisation of sections within is fairly logical: this first section is split into Internet, LAN and Wireless sections, while the Advanced Setup tab handles firewall, routing, NAT, QoS and advanced ADSL settings.

Billion BiPAC 5200W

The Wireless section lets you change the wireless channel, well worth considering if you’re in an area with many wireless networks, although we found the Auto mode to be fairly reliable. You should also select 20MHz only under 11n Settings to turn off channel bonding (see Advanced Projects, p.XXX).

The options don't end there: there are also tabs for Access Management, Maintenance and Status. Access Management lets you configure remote access to the router, Universal Plug 'n Play and Dynamic DNS, which is handled through the free DynDNS service. The Filter section is where you set up port forwarding, application filtering and URL filtering.

The port forwarding section is comprehensive, with options for everything you could need. You can set up rules to allow traffic through your firewall in either direction, and limit forwarding to certain IP or MAC addresses. There’s no wizard, however, and the well-written manual will be an essential companion for novice users.

In contrast, the application filter is very basic, letting you allow or deny access to ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger or Real Audio/Video streams, with no option to add custom applications. The URL filter is also too basic, only allowing 16 URLs to be entered; we'd advise the use of proper parental control software instead.

Speeds started well but tailed off at range: at 1m, Billion's own BiPAC 3011W adaptor managed 42.75Mbit/s, and at 10m we saw respectable speeds of between 32Mbit/s and 37Mbit/s. However at 20m the 5200W only managed 10Mbit/s on our Centrino 2 laptop, and a mere 2Mbit/s using the 3011W, so it'll struggle at long distances or in areas with lots of interference.

Despite this, the 5200W's is highly-customisable and reasonably priced, making it attractive to small businesses owners who like to tinker. If you want the speed of a full 802.11n router, then consider Billion's own BiPAC 6200NXL. Home users should give this one a miss, and look no further than the TP-Link TD-W8950ND, which is great value at around £30.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Modem typeADSL2+
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
Draft 802.11n supportno
Draft 802.11n 5GHz supportno
MIMOno
Stated speed150Mbit/s

Security

128-bit WEPyes
WPA2yes
Firewallyes
MAC address filteringyes
DMZyes

Physical

Size36x185x124mm
Antennas1
Internal/external antennasexternal
Upgradeable antennano
Number of WAN ports1
Ethernet ports4
Ethernet connection speed10/100
Other portsnone
Wall mountableyes
Power consumption on4W

Other Features

Dynamic DNSyes
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
DHCP serveryes
MAC spoofingno
Port forwardingyes
WDS Supportyes
USB device supportno
QoSyes

Buying Information

Price£40
Warrantytwo years RTB
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Detailswww.billion.uk.com