Saturday, 26 June 2010

Billion 7800 / 7800N Router

I don't really do hardware reviews, but I wanted to say something nice about Billion's new ADSL router. My network is a little complex, I have a /27 routed subnet, I tunnel IPv6 over IPv4 and I have lots of firewall rules. I don't have NAT, and I need stageful packet inspection. Also, my phone line ls quite long.

Consumer routers tend to be cheap miserable little things. Vigor are pretty good, but don't have a Broadcom chipsets and therefore achieve poor speeds on long lines. Cisco are expensive and complex (but nice kit). I've tried OpenWRT in a clever setup with two routers, but although I'm demanding I don't want to make my router my hobby!

My 7800 is on an Andrews and Arnold BE line. It was quick and easy to setup and immediately achieved twice the speed of my old Speedtouch. My IPv6 tunnel runs just fine and the iptables based firewall does exactly what I need.

You can access the 7800 via telnet and do clever Linux things, but you don't really need to. The web interface is very comprehensive and snappy to use and it works well on Safari and Firefox.

I've never been so pleased with a router at this price point.

My ISP, Andrews and Arnold are worth a mention. They don"t block anything, they don't do packet filtering and they give me 32 IP addresses. They also let me do things like tweak the target SNR margin on the DSLAM via a web control panel.

Friday, 18 June 2010

iPad Update

I've had an iPad for a couple of weeks now and it's been interesting. It's a bit early to say how it's going to evolve. It's become the "thing I carry around all day". I love being in a meeting with it (once we're past the "ooh, an iPad" bit) because I can have all the papers in it (and other relevant documents) and have shed the whole business of printing and filing documents - I'm almost entirely paperless now. When I'm on the hoof, it's much better than a smartphone for email, which means I get to reply to lots of these in odd moments. I'm very attached to Evernote and this is great on the iPad. Right now, I have a laptop, smartphone and iPad.

This is overkill, but I'm allowing myself the luxury of figuring out what's best for what and how the iPad fits into the ecosystem. With time, I can see many busy people moving to a desktop/iPad/dumbphone setup.

Not everyone is going to go for this, but I find I can read books on it. In cold financial terms, it pays for itself in around two years if I don't print papers for meetings.

My team have another reason to have a few of these around - lots of our students are going to have them and while I'm not going to instigate a big project to make everything work in iPad, we're including it in the list of platforms we check new and updated things on.

...and oh, yes - I love it!