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Billion myGuard 7500GL review: Billion myGuard 7500GL




Billion myGuard 7500GL

The Good

Excellent wireless range. Solid uptime.

The Bad

Novice-unfriendly interface. Slow login times. Pop-up Trend Micro services a tad annoying.

The Bottom Line

The Billion myGuard 7500GL combines an enticing security package with a solid wireless router package, although networking novices will probably find it a terrifying prospect.

The myGuard 7500GL has clearly been built with functionality in mind, rather than any kind of particular aesthetic appeal. Then again, its primary function is as a wireless router, meaning you could always hide it permanently behind a stuffed elk, and nobody would ever need to see it. The upside of its pedestrian visual design is that it's an extremely easy unit to visually assess, with bright and clear indicators for network and port access, so if you do hit a problem, it's often possible to work out what's going wrong without having to access the unit's Web-based configuration utility. Not needing to access the Web interface is something of a blessing, actually, because if you're not au fait with networking terminology, you'll find the interface on the myGuard 7500GL to be quite perplexing. There's nothing where it shouldn't be, but we've certainly seen plenty of interfaces that are a whole lot better at guiding novice users through getting their ADSL and wireless connections up and running. The quick start guide bundled in the box isn't much better, as it'll help you with the physical hardware connection, give you the relevant IP address for the router, and then leave you to the mercies of the CD-based product manual.

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The 7500GL itself is a four port wired Ethernet router, along with an 802.11b/g wireless router, with basic firewall security via DoS and SPI protection. It supports Quality Of Service (QoS) control, which might seem like overkill for many home SOHO users, unless you're looking at VOIP services such as those provided by Engin or MyPhone, at which point being able to assign bandwidth limits becomes very handy indeed. Likewise, for the SOHO crowd, you can set up VPN connections with the 7500GL, although like much of the rest of the router's interface, it's really presumed that you know what you're doing going into things, as there's little explanation of the steps needed to set up a VPN connection. On the broader security front, the 7500GL supports WEP, WPA, SSID broadcast blocking and MAC filtering, and once more, the interface for all of these tends towards the functional rather than the friendly. Then again, once you've got it set up, you're unlikely to fiddle with these settings to any really large degree.

Where the 7500GL stands out for the home crowd, however, is with the close integration with Trend Micro's home security services. The router comes with a 60-day trial of the company's Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam and parental control features, all managed from a remote Trend Micro server. It's never a bad idea to have at least Anti-Virus software running, although how useful the Anti-Spam and parental control features will be to you may vary depending on your exact usage of the router itself.

The 7500GL performed very well in our testing in a suburban Sydney environment, broadcasting a strong signal even through several heavy brick walls, and maintaining a very solid amount of uptime. One thing we did notice when it went offline was that it's relatively slow to reconnect through to an ADSL provider, so if your connection drops for whatever reason, you'll often have to wait a minute or more in order to regain broadband services.

The Trend Micro services are a nice inclusion, although past the 60-day free period you'll need to pay to upkeep the subscription running. One annoyance we did hit with the services was when running using Mozilla Firefox, where popup blocking interfered with the Trend Micro Dashboard trying to pop itself up. The solution as listed on the Billion site was simply to disable pop-up blocking, but that's not a step we'd recommend anyone utilise in this day and age, and even so, doing so made no difference in our ability to access the dash, which only worked properly for us under Internet Explorer.

With the level of competition in the ADSL Wireless router space -- and especially with a whole new generation of ADSL2/2+ routers just starting to hit the market -- the main hook for the myGuard 7500GL has to be in the integrated Trend Micro services, which do work well once configured properly. As such, this makes this a better option for the SOHO user than the home consumer -- who could achieve many of the same results with software-based packages, and probably won't have as much call for services like VPN access.