Billion BiPAC 7300GX review
A great choice for anyone who needs a backup to their broadband connection.
Review Date: 13 Aug 2007
Reviewed By: David Ludlow
Price when reviewed: (£112 inc VAT)
Losing your internet connection can be a pain, but this new router from Billion means you no longer have to be at the mercy of your ADSL connection - it can also support a 3G backup. Its CardBus slot supports Vodafone's Mobile Connect or T-Mobile's web'n'walk data cards.
Normally, the BiPAC 7300GX uses standard 802.11g wireless networking, although there's no automatic channel detection, so you'll need to pick an uncongested channel manually. With WPA2 (TKIP) turned on, we managed transfer speeds of 19.36Mb/sec at close range, 13.29Mb/sec at 10m and 5.84Mb/sec at 25m - fine for web sharing, and the long-range result does indicate a stable connection.
The speed over 3G depends on your location and service provider, but we managed download speeds of 496Kb/sec using T-Mobile's HSDPA service. This is good enough for sharing a web connection with a few clients, but not ideal for heavy file downloading. Our review sample required us to manually change from ADSL to 3G, but final units will failover to 3G automatically from ADSL and back.
Configuration is performed through the router's management web page, where you 'll need your 3G provider's username and password to get wireless broadband working. There's no quick setup wizard, but the necessary configuration pages are all easily accessible from the web server's management homepage.
The 7300GX is packed full of advanced features that anyone who wants full control of their network connection will love. There's a full packet filter firewall for starters, and QoS. The latter is a little tricky to set up, though, as you have to manually specify the IP addresses, ports and percentage of allowed bandwidth of any application you want to manage, rather than let the router automatically prioritise traffic.
The BiPAC 7300GX isn't an ideal general-purpose router for the home or office, but it's powerful and highly configurable for those that need it. It's an excellent choice if you need to make sure you're always online, and could also prove invaluable for shows and demonstrations.
Author: David Ludlow
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