Pros: Good option for those who need a backup internet connection
Cons: Separate USB modem required for 3G; expensive
Bottomline: Easy to use and attractive, but this router is expensive and its 3G implementation isn’t perfect
If your broadband connection is prone to occasional service outages, or you simply want the security of a failsafe option, the Billion Bipac 7402GX can hook you and your home or office network up to the internet via both ADSL and 3G.
You will need a 3G service along with an appropriate data tariff, but there is no built-in 3G modem. Instead, the router houses a USB port, leaving you to purchase a 3G USB modem and sim separately. The problem with this is that the router needs drivers to support the various 3G modems.
At the time of writing, three compatible modems were listed on Billion’s website and if yours isn’t supported, you will need to wait for an update. The speeds you can achieve using the 3G modem will depend on coverage and contention, but it can handle up to 14.4Mbits/sec using HSDPA.
Draft-N wireless is shunned in favour of 802.11g, which will disappoint those who want to use their existing Draft-N kit at full capacity. You will, however, find the usual selection of security tools, such as a Nat firewall and both Wep and WPA wireless encryption, along with VPN and QoS (quality of service) settings. As far as usability goes, we have few complaints.
The interface is reasonably easy to navigate and a quick installation guide takes you through the basics. It is, however, expensive; at £129, it costs more than the majority of Draft-N routers and 802.11g models can be picked up for less than £50. The 3G feature is a bonus, but with no internal 3G modem supplied, we didn’t expect it to boost the price by this much.
And if your 3G modem isn’t supported by the router, you’ll have to wait for an update from Billion before it will work.