The Billion 7700N router is the baby brother to the 7800N, both of which feature Wireless N capability and 4 ethernet ports. There is one massive difference between the 2 models, the price. The Billion 7700N router is one of only a few Wi-Fi N routers on the market for under $100. So with the bargain price, and similar functionality on paper, how does it stack up ?
One of the biggest differences in the 7700N, is that the 4x Ethernet ports are only 10/100 ports, instead of gigabit in the more expensive model. Depending on your needs, this may not be an issue.
With a sub-$100 router you may be expecting to have to lower your performance expectations, but is that the reality ? Below is a speed test comparison of the 7700N and the 7800N on both wired and wireless connection.
If your scratching your head as to why the wired connection struggled in-comparison to the wireless, then you can stop. The reason is the cable included with the 7700N. The yellow cable (pictured below) is what Billion include, the blue is a typical Cat5 Ethernet cable. You should notice the yellow, included cable, contains only 4 wires, meaning the 7800N couldn’t operate at full gigabit speed.
Its turns out Wireless N, is Wireless N when it comes to distance. Taking the laptop out to the front gutter of my property, the Wi-Fi was still connected. Despite Windows 7 reporting a low connection strength a speed test at that distance (through walls and bricks) the connection still scored more than 3.3Mbps compared to 5.3Mbps when sitting next to the 7700N.
If you buy your tech online, if you don’t your an idiot, then ShopBot lists prices as cheap as $65 for the Billion 7700N. Its bigger brother then 7800N will set you back at least double that starting around $120.
Essentially the Billion 7700N Router comes down to this, Wireless N networking for a great price. While the downside is certainly those 100Mb Ethernet ports, for a family with almost all wireless devices (laptops, netbooks, gaming consoles, phones), its not an issue. For those media enthusiast among us, moving large files around the network is a common occurrence, in that circumstance, the extra speed of the Gigabit Ethernet ports will be worth the extra price.