Billion BiPAC 8800AXL
Weakest signal; no advanced parental features
This 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi router can run 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks simultaneously, plus it also features four Gigabit Ethernet ports. While there’s a built-in DSL modem, you’ll also find a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, which is fast enough to handle the NBN when it reaches your home.
This modem/router features rear USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 ports, which let you share printers and storage across your home network. Along with Samba access, there’s also FTP (file transfer protocol) and DLNA support for streaming multimedia.
Look under the bonnet and you’ll find advanced features such as Quality of Service for IPTV (internet protocol television) and Voice over IP (although it’s not a VoIP adaptor). The ability to tweak the Signal to Noise Ratio on your DSL connection helps you squeeze the most from your copper line. This Billion also supports static routes, Dynamic DNS and guest networks, but it can’t run a VPN connection and parental controls are limited to turning off the Wi-Fi at certain times of day.
The Billion’s party trick is that it supports 3G/4G LTE USB modems, so you can automatically switch across to a mobile network during a DSL internet outage. If your fixed-line broadband is truly woeful, you might elect to stay on mobile broadband, but it can expensive (you can set a usage limit). The Billion will email or text you if it’s forced to make the switch. For extra flexibility you can also fall back on the Gigabit WAN port.
As for performance, the Billion was the slowest of the bunch, delivering 290 Mbps. It also suffered the most during our long-range test, with the speed dropping 76 percent when moving upstairs.
Along with a built-in ADSL2+ modem, Billion’s BiPAC 8800AXL can automatically fall back on mobile broadband if your DSL connection goes down.