We regularly get asked to recommend a broadband router. All broadband modem routers are not the same. Many broadband users assume that all models are pretty much alike in terms of performance, so that price differences can be attributed to differences in features (such as the presence of WiFi) and aesthetics. This could not be further from the truth.
We have used many different broadband modem routers over the years, and we are constantly surprised at how different they are in terms of connection speeds and their ability to hold their connection. Perhaps even more importantly, modems differ significantly in their ability to tweak the broadband connection to maximise speeds. There may be significant benefits in upgrading now to a high-quality model that provides extensive optimisation features.
Our recommendation for both ADSL and fibre broadband lines – the Billion 8800NL R2 combined with the Synology RT2600ac
The single-box solutions provided by ISPs combine several functions:
- modem (receiving and decoding the broadband signal from the telephone wires)
- wireless access point.
While this approach keeps costs down for ISPs, you can achieve superior performance by separating out these functions into separate best-in-class devices.
Set to operate in modem-only (“bridge”) mode, the Billion 8800NL R2 provides a robust connection with both conventional broadband (ADSL) and fibre broadband. With conventional broadband, it incorporates SNR tweaking enabling you to maximise broadband speeds. With fibre broadband, it incorporates the latest G.INP enhancement to maximise speeds.
The Billion 8800NL R2 is an updated version of the original 8800NL, with added external antennas (although these are not needed when operating as a modem). Read our original review of the Billion 8800NL.
Using the Billion 8800NL R2 as a modem allows you to choose from a huge range of wireless routers to connect to it. The wireless router can be separated away from the modem (and connected to the modem via an Ethernet cable). As the modem has to be located close to the BT mastersocket, using a separate WiFi router gives you the flexibility to optimally locate the wireless router to give the best wireless coverage.
We recommend partnering the Billion 8800NL R2 with the latest Synology RT2600ac wireless router, which has received superb reviews due to a combination of:
- excellent wireless range and performance
- effective quality of service management
- a simple graphical user interface.
We’ve been testing the Synology RT2600ac with the Billion 8800NL R2 for many months and performance and reliability are outstanding. We will be publishing a review of the Synology RT2600ac imminently.
The Billion 8800NL R2 used standalone is a cheaper alternative, with SNR tweaking (ADSL), fibre broadband compatibility (VDSL2) and G.INP capability (VDSL2)
If you want a cheap solution that performs well, and you are not concerned about the ultimate in wireless capability, we recommend the 8800NL R2 operating standalone in wireless router mode.
It combines a modem (for both conventional ADSL broadband and VDSL2 fibre broadband), routing and relatively basic 2.4 GHz wireless capability. It also offers quality of service management. You can read our original review of the Billion 8800NL by clicking on the following link:
You have the option of combining the Billion 8800NL R2 with any wireless router or using it as a standalone device. You are future proofed with this device since:
- you can initially operate it in standalone wireless router mode and upgrade to a better wireless router when you wish
- you can use it with conventional ADSL broadband, knowing that it will work perfectly with fibre broadband if you upgrade to fibre broadband in the future.
We love the 8800NL R2 (and the original 8800NL) because of the excellent modem. For conventional broadband users, it offers target SNR margin adjustment capability and extremely robust performance on challenging lines to squeeze the very highest speeds from a conventional broadband service. With fibre broadband connections, the 8800NL R2 works very well with the latest G.INP feature to squeeze a few more megabits per second on a connection. It provides extensive line statistics allowing you to diagnose any issues. It also works perfectly with BT’s TV service (which uses multicast).
The Billion 8900AX-2400 is an excellent choice if you want an all-in-one solution
If you would rather have a single box that incorporates modem, router and wireless WiFi capability then the Billion 8900AX-2400 is an excellent choice.
It incorporates a robust modem for both conventional ADSL broadband and (VDSL) fibre broadband. You are able to tweak the SNR margin on challenging ADSL lines to extract the very highest speeds possible. It also fully supports G.INP to deliver higher speeds with fibre broadband too.
Compared with the cheaper Billion 8800NL R2, discussed above, the Billion 8900AX-2400 has substantially enhanced wireless capabilities. It features four external antennas and Multiple-User MIMO technology to maximise WiFi range and speeds, particularly in multi-device households.
Our previous recommendation for broadband modem router was the Billion 7800DXL. It remains an excellent unit but does not incorporate a VDSL2 fibre broadband modem. If you are not concerned about upgrading to fibre broadband, it is a very good choice.
Please do read our most popular guides and pages to get the most from your broadband connection:
Our Increase Broadband Speed Guide provides proven tips on maximising your broadband speed.
Your WiFi could be preventing you from getting the fastest speed possible from your broadband connection. Use our WiFi Optimisation Guide to set up your WiFi for maximum performance.