Why virtualise your NAS environment?
Billion Billion BiPAC 7402GX
- Can distribute ADSL2+ and 3G Internet connections, QoS, comprehensive VPN features
- A little pricey, its filtering options are a little hard to implement, no MIMO
If you want a wireless modem/router that can also distribute a USB-based 3G data card, this will do.
Price$ 329.00 (AUD)
While it's a fully featured ADSL2+ modem/router, the BiPAC 7402GX is also capable of distributing a 3G mobile data-card connection. It doesn't have a card slot for this functionality; instead, it supports USB 2.0-based 3G data cards.
Support is provided for 3 Mobile, iBurst, Optus, Telstra (BigPond) and Vodafone USB 2.0 3G modems, which can be plugged in to the USB port on the rear of the router. By logging-in to the router's Web interface, you can then select the type of Internet connection you wish to use: ADSL or 3G. It'll work with cards that connect to the HSDPA, EDGE, UMTS or GPRS networks, but download rates will vary depending on your plan and which network you have access to.
The 3G modem facility is also useful as a fall-back option should your primary ADSL connection go down, but depending on your plan, you wouldn't want to use it for anything more than checking e-mail and basic Web browsing. Furthermore, the 3G connection facilitates set up in areas that don't have Internet infrastructure: it can be set-up in an outdoor location or at a worksite relatively easily. However, it doesn't run on batteries, nor does it ship with a car adapter, so you'll have to find an outlet for it.
On the ADSL side, the modem is very simple to set up: it'll detect the settings of your line and all you have to do is enter your account details. We had the unit up and running in no time at all. It facilitated fast downloads on our 24Mbps ADSL2+ connection — we averaged a download rate of approximately 2.26MBps (megabytes per second), which is nothing to scoff at.
Its wireless access point can be set-up to distribute the Internet connection over a local area network and it supports WEP, WPA or WPA2 encryption over 802.11g. You can also plug up to four computers in to its 10/100 Ethernet switch. It's this functionality that makes the 7402GX useful for distributing an Internet connection at a remote location
It doesn't support MIMO — it only has one antenna — but it will provide a usable signal up to around 18m away, depending on the surrounding environment, of course. From 10m away and through double-brick walls, the router averaged a wireless data transfer rate of 2.68MBps, and it was consistent.
This unit is pitched at users who need to log-in to remote networks efficiently, and to this end it has comprehensive options for VPN sessions and passthroughs, so you can connect to remote networks securely, even over a 3G connection, using IPsec, PPTP or L2TP protocols. It can support up to 16 VPN tunnels (using IPsec and eight for L2TP and PPTP).
For more conventional usage, the router has an SPI firewall, and prevention against IP spoofing and DoS attacks. Content filtering can be implemented by flagging URLs or keywords, so undesirable content can be blocked, although we found this a little hard to set-up.
Overall, this is a well-designed router for anyone who wants the dual-functionality of ADSL and 3G Internet connections. Users who have PC cards might want to look at the BiPAC 7300GX instead.
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