Review: Billion 7800NXL Triple WAN, NBN-ready router

As far as networking goes, Billion is the cream of the crop for enthusiast hardware. With a swathe of features including triple-WAN support, Wireless-N 300 Mbps, 3G/4G LTE support,...

Billion 7800NXL Router

As far as networking goes, Billion is the cream of the crop for enthusiast hardware. With a swathe of features including triple-WAN support, Wireless-N 300 Mbps, 3G/4G LTE support, and a built in NAS, the 7800NXL is the swiss army knife of routers, but in an easy to use package that anyone can approach.

The rear of the very modern and sleek looking unit is filled with a plethora of ports, including a fully fitted WAN port for use with fibre networks such as Australia’s new NBN (National Broadband Network). If you do opt to use the WAN connection you’ll only have three other Ethernet ports for home network use. A USB 2.0 port is present on the rear of the device, allowing users to stream movies, music, and even share 3G/4G LTE internet connections (also usable as a redundancy system).

All of the 7800NXL’s features are accessed through Billion’s refined intuitive UI. Getting the device running is literally as simple as entering a few details through the “Quick Start” wizard. You’ll configure your main connection and WiFi in the space of a couple of minutes and then you can start browsing or configuring more of your network.

Once your network is configured to your satisfaction, you’ll have access to a wide variety of security tools including URL filtering and an exhaustive inbuilt firewall (featuring packet filters, MAC filtering, and NAT implementation).

Power users will of course want more options from their Billion product, and there are plenty of them. The 7800NXL can be used as a full fitted DHCP server (including the ability to select fixed hosts and IP ranges). Many of the “normal” features are included, along with newer implementations such as full IPv6 support and WDS (Wireless Distribution System). Unlike its predecessor the 7800N, the XL only carries two antennae, although the signal still maintained full strength up to 25 meters and through walls during our testing.

The integrated 802.11n protocol delivers speeds up to six times faster than the previous a/b/g protocols, allowing wireless devices to connect with speeds up to 300 Mbps. During our wireless testing (below) we regularly maintained speeds well above the advertised number, often reaching close to 400 Mbps.

GalaxyS2

On the hard connection side of things, the 7800NXL delivers reliable and regular results. Across the local network data can be transmitted at speeds of up to 1 Gbps. The 100/40 FTTH (Fibre To The Home) connection I have in my home was constantly maxed out, and after using the device for nearly two weeks I never had any speed issues or device-imposed connectivity complaint

speedtestsAll of this is extremely power efficient. Using a digital multimeter I measured the device using only ten watts (10W) of power during transmission, while idle usage was hovering around seven and eight watts (7-8W). It’s entirely possible to use the 7800NXL’s built in time limiting functions to control the times the device can transmit data, and thus save power, however it’s not going to add a noticeable amount to your utility bill in the first place.

While the omission of a dedicated E-WAN port is definitely noticeable, it’s hardly enough of a gripe to detract from the overall stellar unit that the 7800NXL is. Setup is a breeze, and once it’s going you won’t need to tinker with the unit’s many intricacies, unless of course you’re one of Billion’s many networking enthusiasts. With more features than you could poke a stick at and a competitive price point (pre-orders are going for $155.00), the 7800NXL is the easiest recommendation for not only an ADSL/2+ router, but also a fibre solution and a solid and reliable investment for the future.

For more information: http://au.billion.com/product/3g/bipac7800nxl.php

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