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Best wireless ADSL2+ modem/routers

In our ongoing testing of wireless ADSL2+ modem/routers, we bring you the top 10 so far. Of course, everyone has a horror story about each, so feel free to comment below on the frustration within.
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By ZDNet Editors, Contributors on
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1 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

They're the most important part of a connected home, but often bring the most frustration.

The fact of the matter is, most modem/routers aren't very good. They have a tendency to overheat, some features just flat out don't work, and they have user interfaces that are exceptionally hostile to newcomers.

We've tested a whole raft of wireless ADSL2+ modem/routers recently, and here's the pick of the bunch so far — as time goes on and we cover more models, we'll keep the round-up updated.

It seems almost every model router has caused misery at some point. Let us know your experiences in the comments below!

Overview

With an industry-leading warranty, excellent UI and a crazy feature set, the Fritz!Box 7390 comes highly recommended — if you can afford the outlay.
 
The good
  • DECT base station
  • Fax capability
  • IPv6
  • Simultaneous dual-band, along with great Wi-Fi performance
  • Almost every USB function you can think of
  • Hugely detailed, yet easy-to-use web UI
The bad
  • Very pricey
  • Quota counter limited to 99GB (fixed with firmware update)
  • No URL filtering (fixed with firmware update)
  • You start wishing it could do even more
Editors' rating

9.5/10

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2 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

Although it comes without 5GHz capability, the 7800N has great wireless throughput and is a solid base for your ADSL2+ network.

The good

  • Tested well against all of our three wireless chipsets
  • Extra WAN port
  • Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Can set up VLANs
  • Highly featured

The bad

  • Web UI isn't user friendly
  • 2.4GHz only

Editors' rating

9.0/10

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3 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

Netgear's DGND3700 is quite the desirable bit of kit. It has fantastic wireless performance, and offers enough networking capability to satiate all but the hardest of the hardcore. Now, if only we could push that warranty just a little bit higher...

The good

  • Fantastic wireless performance
  • Great content filtering
  • Fantastic help feature
  • Physical button to turn off wireless, along with physical power button
  • Gigabit WAN port
  • Multiple guest SSIDs

The bad

  • No IPv6
  • Auto update feature didn't work on review unit
  • Advanced options are often hidden in favour of auto detect
  • USB ports are storage only
  • Quota warnings won't work with those on TB plans
  • Excessively slow to update settings

Editors' rating

9.0/10

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4 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

Billion's BiPAC 7700N is a fantastic little router for those on a budget, or if you need to set your parents up with something basic. It may not handle P2P as well as its bigger brother the 7800NL, but if your needs are simple, this is temptation in a tiny package.

The good

  • Amazingly cheap for what it does
  • Good wireless performance

The bad

  • Smaller NAT table means it might find some torrents taxing
  • No progress bar during firmware update

Editors' rating

8.5/10

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5 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

The 7800NL is a great bargain modem/router. If you don't care about gigabit Ethernet and can't justify the dollars to upgrade to the higher level 7800N, or even if you just want to mess with IPv6, the 7800NL could be for you.

The good

  • IPv6 support
  • Good short- to mid-range wireless performance
  • Good features for the price

The bad

  • Long range performance could be better
  • Web UI could scare off networking newbies

Editors' rating

8.0/10

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6 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

Cisco's Linksys X2000 is a simple modem/router aimed at those who just need wireless access to the net, and it manages to pack in excellent wireless performance along the way. Just don't use the included set-up software.

The good

  • Excellent 2.4GHz wireless performance
  • Included set-up software makes things easy
  • WAN port means easy NBN hook up should it come to your premises

The bad

  • Security issues introduced if you use the set-up software
  • No log-out option in web interface
  • Poorly explained parental controls
  • WAN port can't be configured as an extra LAN port
  • No IPv6

Editors' rating

8.0/10

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7 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

The Asus DSL-N13 offers the basic needs for anyone looking to set up an ADSL2+-based network, although it's a little pricey considering its lack of security features and high power consumption. Still, some may find the USB FTP server functionality invaluable, and it should be a good workhorse in any home environment.

The good

  • QoS settings are quite friendly
  • USB FTP server is plug and play, gives access to files on USB storage

The bad

  • UI is a slapdash job
  • No physical power button
  • Security offerings are lax compared to competitors

Editors' rating

7.5/10

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8 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

The 2740B amounts to a middle of the road effort from D-Link. It's not missing any features, but it doesn't do much above the norm either. New users will appreciate the helpful hints given throughout the interface, although power users will need to look elsewhere for raw wireless performance.

The good

  • Helpful UI hints
  • Hardware switch to turn off wireless

The bad

  • Wireless performance isn't great

Editors' rating

7.0/10

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9 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

The Billion BiPAC 7300N is the little workhorse that could. Between this and the 7800NL we'd have a hard choice deciding, which would essentially come down to the specific features we'd want in a router. We're concerned by the lower than usual ADSL2+ sync speeds, but the WAN and VLAN functionality and good wireless performance for the price makes the 7300N a decent buy for those on a budget.

The good

  • Good throughput, especially at distance
  • Optional WAN
  • VLAN support

The bad

  • Web UI is newbie hostile
  • No mechanical power button
  • ADSL2+ sync speeds lower than they should be

Editors' rating

8.0/10

billion-bipac-5200n-rc1.jpg
10 of 10 ZDNet Editors/ZDNet

Overview

The Billion BiPAC 5200N RC is meant to be Billion's entry-level offering, but given you can find the upscale 7800N on the street for around the same price, it has a tough time proving its worth.

The good

  • Web UI is a bit friendlier than Billion offers
  • Great ADSL2+ speeds

The bad

  • Still no hints for beginners as to what anything does in the UI
  • Poor performance if you have an Ralink chipset
  • You can find the superior 7800N for around the same price on the street

Editors' rating

6.9/10

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