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Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 18-May-12 12:04:24
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What do you think of these routers?


[link to this post]
 
I'm contemplating a move from full copper-based ADSL to FTTC connectivity.

I gather that my existing (PPPoA) Netgear 834 wired router will be unsuitable to partner the Openreach VDSL modem that the ISP will provide for me and so I'd be interested in any views on using one of the following PPPoE routers instead. I appreciate that the Billion 7800 has already been well-flogged in these forums but what I'm wanting to know is how it compares in practise with the other two I've listed. Here they are:

Billion 7800N (~£115)
Billion 8200N (~£92)
Netgear WNDR 3800 (~£135)

My criteria are: ease of use of the router's configurations, ability to cope with a long line, whether user-settable for target SNR, whether it runs hot or cool, etc. Speed will not be my overriding goal; I'm more interested in stability of the line and reliable running of the router.

I may well move house within the next year or two, to a region where FTTC is unlikely to be on offer, so this is why I've picked some models that give some duality of ADSL/VDSL. Of the present, it may take me a while to make a firm decision about the switchover (whatever happens, I'll be changing ISP), and so an ADSL/VDSL router will also come in handy to cover that indecisive period.

I'm on a long, noisy line to the exchange at present and although a switch to FTTC will replace the greater part of this length, the remaining copper leg will still amount to 750m - 1km. So, noise and crosstalk will still remain of some concern.

One thing I've wondered is whether the stand of the WNDR 3800 is separable from the main box. All images I've seen of it are 'with stand' and the combination used in an upright position. Sounds a daft question, but is it separable from the stand and therefore usable in the horizontal position?

Note that I don't need wireless operation, as I'll be using the new router only in wired mode. Therefore, aspects concerning operating range will be of little or no interest.

According to a couple of simple online tests, the sort of peak download speed I can expect to get on the connection to my current exchange under FTTC will be 20 - 25M bps (assuming BT's 40M bps service).

As an aside, is it true that the Openreach VDSL modem's firmware can be unlocked in order to read the line stats?

Edited by meditator (Fri 18-May-12 12:10:39)

Standard User greenglide
(member) Fri 18-May-12 12:51:30
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Re: What do you think of these routers?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
The OpenReach router can be hacked but only the Huwaii (original) version can be done without opening it up and soldering leads to it. The ECI variant needs soldering skills.

The Huwaii, one it is unlocked, is compatible with ASDL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+ and will also function as a router but the two LAN connections is a trifle limiting. How good it is I couldnt say.

The line length from the FTTC CAB to your property is only of interest to the BT OR Modem - the router (whether the supplied by BT HH or any other) simply makes the PPoE connection but is not aware of the line details.

If you use SKY as your FTTC ISP then only the Billion 7800N in your list is capable of replacing the SKY router due to the non standard MER settings they use for authentication.

The Billion 7800N, as you have said, gets a good press. Not sure how these devices would handle a short line to the FTTC CAB though - the Billion is stated on their forum to be able to route around 60 - 70 Mb/s so it probably can't max out a full speed 80Mb/s download line. The others may have similar issues.

Ex <n>ildram , been to SKY MAX - 15,225 Download
BE Unlimited - 21,000 Download 1,200 Upload,
Moved house, now BE Unlimited 6,500 Down, 1Mb/s up - gutted!
FTTC Cab installation commenced 12th April - expect full 80 / 20 - bye bye BE, hello BT Infinity soon!
Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 18-May-12 14:32:38
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Re: What do you think of these routers?


[re: greenglide] [link to this post]
 
The OpenReach router can be hacked but only the Huwaii (original) version can be done without opening it up and soldering leads to it. The ECI variant needs soldering skills.

When I was last reading about the OR modem (quite some time ago), I thought they were all Huwaii-manufactured and that it was recommended to have the version 3, as the former versions overheated. Presumably then, if a version 3 gets fitted it won't be software-hackable?
The line length from the FTTC CAB to your property is only of interest to the BT OR Modem - the router (whether the supplied by BT HH or any other) simply makes the PPoE connection but is not aware of the line details.

Actually, when on that point I was thinking only of the use of the router (7800N) in ADSL mode, ie. an interim, non-FTTC situation.

Most certainly, in my current situation there's no prospect of an 80M bps service ever making any perceptible difference to my potential 40M bps service speed, as I'm going to be stuck with an absolute minimum length of 750m of copper to the street cabinet. There were suspicious workings recently around my nearest cabinet that BT foreshortened remaining all-copper lines, suggesting that the cabinet's capacity to accept more FTTC connections had reached its limit. This could mean that my nearest cabinet now is a further 250 - 300m away. As for routing speeds of 70M bps or thereabouts, I somehow doubt that I'll ever need anything beyond a 40M bps service, even if I could get it. However, history often shows misjudgements on such bold statements.

I've no plans to sign up with Sky or BTInternet, BTW. They're the last ISPs on this planet I'd consider. I'll probably go with Plusnet, Be or IDNet.


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