April 13, 2006

One with the lot

If you are in the market for a new wireless router and already have ADSL you should consider upgrading to an all-in-one ADSL Modem/Wireless Router. If you choose NetComm's NB9W MyNetGateway ($299) you'll also get VOIP capabilities thrown in. MyNetGateway is one of a new generation of networking products that does everything, and at best lets you get rid of your individual ADSL modem (the one you got for free from your ISP), VOIP Router and Wireless Access Point and frees up three slots in your powerboard.

The integrated device comprises an ADSL2+ enabled modem that allows the user to benefit from faster broadband services, such as iiNet's ADSL 2 service. A built-in router with a 4-port Ethernet switch allows for the easy connection of up to 4 wired devices while the built-in 802.11g wireless networking allows for fast 54Mbps wireless functionality. MyNetGateway also has VOIP functionality that has Quality of Service (QoS) supports. QoS functionality prioritises voice packets over data packets that ensures that VOIP call quality remains excellent even during periods of heavy Internet use.

The VOIP functionality is further enhanced with two phone ports allowing simultaneous connection of two phones - in reality you could have two separate phone lines connected to this unit - perfect for the home office where there might be different home and office lines. Like all good VOIP routers the NB9W allows for connection of a regular telephone service allowing you to make and receive PSTN phone calls as well. If your ISP ever goes down this also ensures continued telephony support.

In my testing the NB9W performed very well. I tested the unit with my iiNet ADSL account. Set up was easy on my Mac using the web-based portal. If you use a PC you might prefer to use the included CD and software that makes setup even easier. I also tested the VOIP capabilities and was very impressed. Phone calls (using my iiNetPhone account) were crystal clear and you could tell that the QoS technology was working because there was occasional slow down in my Internet connection when I was on the phone. iiNet's ADSL 2 service is great if you are in one of their ADSL 2 areas - at times I achieved over 300K download speeds.

On the downside, I found that wireless reception was not as good as my Apple Airport system and I found some of the DHCP settings hard to customize.

Overall the NB9W is a great choice if you want an integrated device that does all the networking you’ll ever need.