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Billion has long had a soft spot in the heart of enthusiasts, as the company that brought us low cost routers that didn't sacrifice in quality. While typically the haunt of the advanced user, Billion maintains its reputation for stability with the 7800N.
Specs at a glance
|Highest wireless security||WPA2|
|Ethernet ports||4x gigabit|
|USB print sharing/storage||No|
|Accessories||Ethernet cable, phone cable, PC Range ADSL line filter, CD containing quick-start guide and manual|
Phone jack, WAN port, four gigabit Ethernet ports, reset and WPS buttons, power socket and power button. (Credit: CBS Interactive)
The 7800N sits above the norm by offering gigabit Ethernet ports and interestingly, a WAN port. Unlike many consumer routers, Billion has chosen not to include USB ports for print sharing or storage — perhaps because usually they are rife with compatibility problems and cause more frustration than joy.
UI and features
Billion's range has never been one for beginners, and the 7800N only goes a small way to make networking easier for the beginner. WPS is disabled by default, and although it has "Basic" and "Advanced" modes in the web user interface (UI), all Basic does is hide the majority of options.
Thankfully, there is a "Quick start" link that will walk the user through the necessary steps to get online and set up wireless, but it makes no effort whatsoever to explain to the user what each setting does.
The UI is split into two versions, "Basic" and "Advanced". Basic isn't so much basic as just displays limited options. Check out Port Forward for more screenshots. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)
As we've come to expect from Billion, there are options aplenty once you enter the advanced mode. On top of the expected features like a DHCP server (with fixed hosts) and port forwarding, it supports IP aliasing, allows tweaking of transmission power, can schedule when the wireless is available, has URL filtering, an in-built firewall (covering packet filtering and Ethernet/wireless MAC filtering), QoS settings, dynamic DNS support and, interestingly, can even set up VLANs across its Ethernet ports.
After analysing the spectrum with InSSIDer, an empty channel of either 1, 6 or 11 is chosen for 2.4GHz wireless testing. The router is restricted to the 20MHz band and will only allow 802.11n clients. If possible, the MCS is set to 15.
We use iperf to determine throughput, running eight streams, with a TCP window size of 1MB, and an interval of one second. The test is run for five minutes in three different locations, on two separate occasions. The locations are in the same room as the router, one floor down around spiral stairs and with concrete walls and floors, and two floors down under the same conditions.