Billion 7800N Wireless ADSL2+ Router Review

So I’ve been looking for a replacement wireless N ADSL router. Some have Gigabit ports, others Dual Band wireless N but few have both at least not in the UK anyway.

But I think I’ve found the best compromise and here it is, the New Billion BiPAC 7800N Wireless N ADSL2+ with Gigabit Ethernet Switch, catchy name isn’t it!? But it has all the features that I need, but will it perform how I hope.

My ISP is Bethere Internet or Be as they like to be known and they offer a potential connection speed of up to 24Mbits if you live right on top of it. But I don’t so typically my connection speeds are about 13-15Mbits with my old router a Speedtouch 780 that was supplied with by my ISP, but that is still a lot higher than most sub 8Mbit speeds.

After I’d ordered the new router I did a set of test and noted down the speeds and times of transferring a 780Mb file to multiple different locations around the house and to different PC’s.

Equipment used for test

Homeserver – 1.5tb Green WD drive – Gigabit Ethernet

PC – XPS 430 –  Quad core – Duel stripped drives = Wireless G

Laptop – Duel Core Dell XPS 1330 = Intel Wireless G / N

PS3 via Ethernet

False Start

You know what its like, you order a new gadget and can’t wait for it to arrive. Only this time the excitement didn’t last for long as when I opened the box there was no power supply inside. I was a bit disappointed to say the least but hey these things happen. A quick call to broadbandbuyer.co.uk from whom I’d purchase the router and they got onto Billion as they had sold out of the router and there was a new power supply on the way. It arrived only a couple of days later so did it live up to the performance expectations.

A quick note on the instructions supplied before I get to the performance. Lets just say they are a bit rough and ready, no more than a few pages of photocopied A4 pages to get you started and they really aren’t that useful. If you know what you are doing then it won’t be a problem but for the novice you might be a little daunted.

Performance and Set-up

Set-up wasn’t to complex but I did need to make a few tweaks to get everything working well. The Auto configure didn’t work so I had to use the manual method.  I used this Billion Be/O2 help page to get the right settings and it almost worked, the trick was to add in the correct manual Primary DNS IP address as the AUTO setting wasn’t working. Hey presto it was up and running, but what have I connected at?

Speedtouch – 1090(Up)/14834(Down)

Billion 7800 – 1191/15801kbps (initial figure)

But things are set to get better, Be/O2 use Annex M and this means I might be able to get an even better upload and download speed but how good? Very good is the answer check out the figures below, this is far better than I have ever got before so I did a speed check as well to see if things go better.

Billion 7800 Annex M – 1347 / 17931 kbps

That’s a 3000kbps or 3Mbit improvement in upload speeds, a very healthy increase indeed. A quick speed test confirmed the boosted speed, going from 13.2Mb/s to 15.7Mb/s, not quite the sync speed but as it was via wireless and there are other factors involved that’s still a healthy increase. Another reason is that the Billion 7800 N uses a broadcom which is know to often get better download speeds.

Wireless N, is it any quicker?

I’d say maybe a little but that would be a lie, it is much much quicker for me at least. Rather than waffle on to much here are the transfer differences I saw below on the PC and the Laptop. The test was to transfer a 780Mb AVI file.

Laptop performance

Wireless G – 99% Signal – 1.82Mb/s – 6 minutes 47 seconds.

Wireless N – 99% Signal – 2.72Mb/s – 4 minutes 57 seconds.

PC Performance

Wireless G – 81% Signal – 2.42Mb/s – 5 minutes 41 seconds.

Wireless N – 50/70% Signal – 8.92Mb/s – 1 minutes 25 seconds.

The Laptop is a bit quicker but the test was done when the laptop was as close as it can get to the router, this can cause an issue with performance thus why the difference in speed is small. Also the laptop was having to try fairly hard to transfer the data @35/40% processor usage meaning it will start to be a bit of a factor in the transfer speeds.

But for the PC the speed improvement is dramatic to say the least and a clear view of how much faster wireless N can be. It wasn’t initially that quick, I had to play around with the location of the Wireless N dongal and ariels before I got a better figure and the 50/70% still doesn’t look great. I used a Billion 3010N that I bought with the router that doesn’t have a wireless antenna, but regardless of the noise the performance the speed speaks for itself.

Initial Conclusion 9/10

Well the Billion 7800N is cheaper than many of the other wireless N and Gigabit Ethernet routers, add to that it has full ADSL2+ and Annex M support and its a great package that these initial speed results show. The slight disappointment with the power supply is now  forgotten as everything else is as good or better than I hoped for.

I will update this review when I have done the Ethernet performance tests and if the router is more stable than the frankly terrible Speedtouch.  If you are in the market for a new ADSL router and are with Be or 02 or anyone for that matter then I would give this a serious look as it ticks all the boxes for me.

16 Responses to Billion 7800N Wireless ADSL2+ Router Review

  1. GrahamP says:

    Great review and it looks like a cracking product. Would like to see what updates you do to the review of the Billion 7800n so will come back when you have the latest comments. Finally I’ve found the new router I’m going to get.

  2. Crocket says:

    Great at last I can look at a replacement for my speedtouch. Thanks for the review, looks like a great peice of kit.

    Have you tried any of the other features yet?

  3. MC says:

    Nice review! There is a new firmware out on billion.uk.com/esupport site already which has fixed the portforwarding issue.

    • Gumpy says:

      Thanks for this.

      Just updated it, nothing new really except for the fix. But it didn’t keep any of the settings. If you are doing an update make sure that you backup the configuration to save time, otherwise you will need to re-find the passwords and all the settings you used before.

      SO BACKUP THE CONFIG BEFORE YOU UPGRADE THE FIRMWARE

      Re-sync ADSL2+ figures below.

      DSP Firmware Version A2pB022g.d20h
      DMT Status No Defect
      Operational Mode ADSL2+
      Upstream 1364
      Downstream 17643
      SNR Margin(Upstream) 3.6
      SNR Margin(Downstream) 2.9
      Line Attenuation(Upstream) 12.0
      Line Attenuation(Downstream) 23.0

  4. Phil says:

    Nice review although your Annex M results are extremely odd. You say “Billion 7800 Annex M – 1347 / 17931 kbps That’s a 3000kbps or 3Mbit improvement in upload speeds” this is plain wrong. Your upload speed isn’t the 17931 figure, that is download, and your download speed should decrease on Annex M in order to give you some extra upload speed. The Annex M figures are not really Annex M.

    • Gumpy says:

      The figures are upload / download. When the router initially re-sync’ed it was indeed 1347 / 17931. However I’ve just checked the figure now and its currently 1183 / 15815 kbps, not quite the figure it initially tired to attain but still pretty darn good.

      The most impressive thing for me is how stable its been, it hasn’t once fallen over or needed to be restarted and the ADSL connection has gone from falling over at least once a day to being completely solid. Its telling me its been up for 19 days 2 hours at the moment, the Speedtouch was rarely up for more than a few days.

      The Billion so far just works, its quick and whenever I need to use the network I never think twice that its all going to be working OK, what more can I say.

  5. Patrick says:

    Hi! Just came across your review. I am interested in getting the same router. However I would like to know if the Qos function of the router enables you to limit the bandwith used by specific computers on the network and if it is possible to assign ip addresses for each computer connected to the router?…

    Any assistance would be much appreciated.

  6. Gumpy says:

    Hi sorry for the delay in response. The Qos seem to only have a low, Medium or High setting for the data no actual limit. I guess you could set a single machines data to be low priority but it still might consume a lot of your bandwidth.

  7. WeeEck says:

    Just got a new Billion 7800n
    Can I ask what firmware you are using?
    I have update this one to 1.02g from the following UK Billion web site http://www.billion.uk.com/firmware/78xx/7800N/. Seems to have a bug that it will not discount from the WAN, and re-connect, just wondering if you have had this problem.

  8. Gumpy says:

    Not tried that firmware yet I’m still on 1.02e. Haven’t seen any problems with connections on mine, might leave it a bit if you are seeing problems.

    What actually is / isn’t working?

  9. WeeEck says:

    Thanks for your information. I have found some problems such as your fixed ip addresses in DHCP mode, have to be outside the DHCP scope. Setting ARP address doesn’t seem to work. The router can lock up and you have no internet connection whatsoever, although you can get to the Web Configuration page. That’s why I tried to release the WAN connection, but the router didn’t respond, had to restart it. I have raised a ticket with Billion, and wait and see what they come back with.

  10. Gumpy says:

    Nope not seen any of that with mine. Well once I’ve had to renew the WAN IP as it was lost after a significant amount of upload / download, but wasn’t sure if that was router or ISP related.

    Report back what they say.

  11. Philip says:

    Thank you so much for this review. Looks like the product I’m looking for.

    Does the DHCP service in the router allow administrator defined mappings of MAC address to IP address such that clients always get the same IP address each time? i.e. I can achieve static IP addresses on the LAN side centrally from the router rather than having to configure each client myself where the option is buried in dialogue boxes…

  12. Gumpy says:

    Yes you can configure it to assign an IP address to a certain hostname and MAC address for each client.

    The setting is in the advanced DHCP settings, no idea how many you can add but the feature is there.

  13. Gumpy says:

    By the way just been checking on the Auz forums and it seems the latest firmware also brings full Qos features and more advanced throttling of individual clients.

    Not installed 1.02g yet myself but the latest firmware adds several new features listed below. I assume 1.02f also added some features and both updates also fix some issues. Click the link further up from WeeEck to download the UK firmware.

    1> Support for sending mail to the mail server with SSL authentication, like GMail
    2> Upgrade the 11N driver (2.2.0.3)
    3> Add Remote/Local ID on the IPsec Page. (7800GZ)
    4> Add 3G usage feature (7800GZ)
    5> Modify QoS, it can now control LAN->WAN or WAN->LAN
    6> Backup filename contains fw version information
    7> Add 3G NAT setting to the advanced 3G page (7800GZ)
    8> Add DNS settings to the basic WAN page

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