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SpeedTouch 716g

  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent

Pros

  • Two VoIP phone ports
  • PSTN failover
  • basic telephony features
  • bundled VoIPTalk subscription
  • integrated 802.11g wireless

Cons

  • No local breakout to PSTN

Router vendors have been quick to provide support for Voice over IP (VoIP) to enable calls to be made over the Internet by plugging an ordinary phone into the router itself. SpeedTouch is the latest, and its new 716g stands out for several reasons -- not least being support for two phones plus emergency failover to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).

It’s the voice facilities that, inevitably, attract the most attention on the 716g. One phone port is the norm in this price bracket, but SpeedTouch's product has two, making it of interest to small businesses as well as teleworkers and home users. Moreover, the PSTN connection can be used directly for calls as well as emergency failover; you also get facilities to hold and transfer incoming callers, along with support for call waiting and conferencing.

But don't expect to end up with a small telephone exchange. Neither are there any breakout facilities to allow remote VoIP users to onward dial via the local PSTN connection, as there are with some dedicated VoIP gateways.

Still, you do get good basic VoIP telephony with a wide range of codecs providing excellent call quality. You also get a subscription to the VoIPTalk online gateway service (with £2 of calling credit included), to enable VoIP users to make calls to subscribers on the public phone network and vice versa.

The rest of the product is pretty good too, with a four-port 10/100Mbps Ethernet switch and a 54Mbps 802.11g wireless interface built into this compact device. A firewall is also included, together with support for all the latest wireless encryption standards for extra security. There’s even a USB interface for users without Ethernet -- disappointingly, though, this can’t be used to share a printer as on some other broadband routers.

Management is carried out via the usual browser interface, and there's a wizard to handle the initial setup. Some extra work is then required to configure the wireless interface and the VoIP option, but it's nothing too difficult and we had no problems installing or using the SpeedTouch 716g. Moreover, in our tests it delivered a high level of performance consistent with routers costing a great deal more -- over both the wired and wireless interfaces. The PSTN failover also worked as claimed, and overall we were very impressed with the SpeedTouch product.

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Popular with ISPs, SpeedTouch routers are widely available from online resellers and the 716g is a good solution for the smaller business or teleworker looking for all-in-one Internet connectivity.

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