engin oneHUB ADSL2+ modem router

engin's oneHUB is an an all-in-one unit that allows you to use VoIP and regular landline services through the same cordless handset

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engin oneHUB
  • engin oneHUB
  • engin oneHUB
  • engin oneHUB

Pros

  • Allows you to make and receive VoIP and landline calls though the cordless handset, clear VoIP performance

Cons

  • No 802.11n, only two Ethernet ports, awkward design, unintuitive Web interface, expensive when not purchased as part of a broadband plan

Bottom Line

The engin oneHUB is for anyone who wants a convenient telephony device for use with their engin VoIP or ADSL account. Its main drawcard is that it will let you use VoIP and landline services through the same handset.

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The engin oneHUB is a wireless router, ADSL2+ modem and telephony device all rolled into one unit — hence the name. It's available to purchase for $99 when you sign up with an engin ADSL2+ plan, but it will also work with non-engin ADSL2+ plans.

It's an awkwardly designed unit with an even more awkward Web interface, but it comes pre-configured and also ships with clear instructions, should you want to change the settings. Connecting the router requires you to pull down a flap on the rear, which is clipped on both sides and hard to open. The network, power and phone ports all face downward, which makes it difficult to plug in the cables.

If you're on an engin broadband plan (which also includes a VoIP plan), you won't have to fiddle with the configuration once you've connected all the cables. Even the wireless networking SSID and password are printed on the side of the device so that you can start browsing the Web from your laptop straight away. engin has definitely made it simple to be up and running with a minimum of fuss. However, if you want to delve deeper into the settings, or if you want to use the oneHUB with an ISP other than engin, then you'll have to consult the set-up guide because the Web interface is not intuitive. There is no clear menu structure for the interface and features such as port-forwarding, and even the wireless networking settings, are not clearly labelled.

The oneHUB isn't like a typical wireless ADSL2+ modem/router; it ships with a DECT cordless phone and has a base station for it built in to the router. This base can be used to pair the DECT phone with the router (and up to four other DECT phones) in order to make and receive VoIP calls anywhere in your home. Not only that, it has a PSTN port so you can still receive and make regular landline calls using the DECT phone. The DECT cordless phone also comes with a separate base station, so you can keep the phone in any room.

In the average two-bedroom home, the performance of the DECT cordless phone should be excellent. We tried it with an engine VoIP plan in our office and enjoyed crystal-clear sound without any lag or drop-outs from up to 15m away. During our tests, the wireless signal had to contend with windows and plasterboard walls. Some echoing was present during a few phone calls; funnily enough, this was only when we were in the same room as the oneHUB router.

The DECT handset itself is not very attractive and doesn't feel like a conventional cordless phone. Its buttons feel too spongy; it's also not very loud by default so you need to turn up the volume. It has a small screen and a mobile phone–like menu system so that you can adjust its settings (such as the volume and screen brightness) and view the address book, as well as dialled and missed call numbers.

You can subscribe to multiple VoIP services and pair more DECT phones to any of the numbers you want (or even pair more than one number per phone), which can be handy if you are living in a shared household, or if you want to give the kids their own phone number.

Where the engin oneHUB falls short is in the wireless networking stakes, as it only includes an 802.11g access point and a single antenna. The faster 802.11n standard is prevalent in the latest laptops and offers far more bandwidth for VoIP and simultaneous Web browsing. You can get still get speeds of approximately 2 megabytes per second when conducting an 802.11g file transfer, which when combined with the built-in quality of service feature in the router, is plenty for simultaneous wireless VoIP and Web browsing.

The oneHUB also has a 2-port switch, rather than a 4-port switch that’s common in almost every other wireless all-in-one ADSL2+ modem/router on the market, but this isn’t much of a problem. Many of us only need one port to attach our main computer and then use wireless cards to access the network from other computers.

During our test period, the oneHUB was reliable and its ADSL2+ modem produced an expected download speed of 15.6 megabits per second using PC World’s Broadband Speed Test.

If you’re after a new wireless router and ADSL2+ modem, the oneHUB isn’t for you. Rather, it’s for anyone who wants a convenient telephony device for use with their engin VoIP or ADSL account. Its main drawcard is that it will let you use VoIP or your regular landline services through the same handset.

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