Why virtualise your NAS environment?
Billion BiPAC 7300GX
- Produced excellent results in our speed tests, can distribute an Internet connection from a 3G PC Card, has good filtering and security options
- Doesn't have 802.11 draft-n capability, doesn't have MIMO antennas
A PC Card slot allows this ADSL modem/router to double as a 3G modem/router. It performed very well in our tests and ships with a car kit, which, in effect, can turn your car into a mobile hotspot.
Price$ 269.00 (AUD)
More than a stay-at-home ADSL router, Billion's 7300GX can be liberated from the confines of a home or office environment thanks to its support for 3G technology, which allows it to be taken on the road, and can be used to turn your car into a mobile hotspot.
Indeed, this functionality makes it a tech enthusiast's dream, but it's also very useful for business users, such as contractors who want easy access to the Internet while on the job. Families might also benefit from mobile Internet access, which could keep kids entertained while on road trips.
Of course, using Internet while on the road will depend on the 3G coverage in the area. Speeds will be fastest in inner city areas; while speeds on the outskirts of the city, or in the suburbs, might be dramatically lower. Nevertheless, the 7300GX's ability to distribute a 3G signal (it will work on 3G/HSDPA, EDGE, UMTS or GPRS) to more than one computer is useful. It will accept 3G cards with a PC Card form factor only (it won't accept Express Cards) and it ships with a cigarette lighter adapter, which will provide power while you are on the road. The router itself doesn't run on batteries.
The router can be configured to hold ADSL and 3G account details simultaneously, so you can switch between home and mobile accounts efficiently; all you'll have to do is change the connection type in the router's Web interface. A status light for 3G connectivity is present on the front of the unit, so you'll know at a glance whether a plugged in data card is functioning or not.
For distributing an Internet connection, the 7300GX has four 10/100 Ethernet ports, as well as a 54Mbps wireless access point. It supports WPA and WPA2 security and it also has built-in IP filtering and parental controls (the latter do a good job of filtering Web content based on keywords). Port-forwarding can also be enabled in the Web interface, but it's labelled as port mapping instead. QoS is available, too, and it can be enabled to control the speed of traffic coming or going from a specified IP address and port.
During our tests, the 7300GX's wireless performance was reliable, and speedy, as it supplied throughput of 2.74MBps from 1m and 10m away to our Centrino-equipped notebook. It provided a usable wireless signal up to 18m away, which isn't too shabby at all.
As for its Internet connectivity, we didn't experience any drop-outs or slow-downs in performance throughout our 10-day test period and it worked well with ADSL1 and ADSL2+ accounts. Download rates of 52KBps weren't unusual on our 512Kbps ADSL1 connection, while on our 24Mbps ADSL2+ connection, we achieved throughput of 2.6MBps, which is excellent.
Overall, the 7300GX produced impressive Internet throughput and wireless transfer speeds. It's a worthy product for anyone who wants to distribute a 3G Internet connection while on the road, yet it's also a solid product for a home or business environment.
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