VoIP routers review

Using VoIP can save you money, but you need the right hardware to do it — so we put seven VoIP capable modem routers to the test.
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Girl on phone

Test results for seven VoIP routers, priced from $112 to $279

There’s a lot of talk about the cost advantages of moving to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), not just for long-distance calling but for local calls as well, and especially if you make the move to Naked DSL and give up your traditional phone, thus saving on monthly line rental.

We tested seven popular VoIP modem routers, including those currently offered by the major ISPs. Our expert testers assesed:

  • How easy these devices are to set up and use.
  • How voice quality compared between them.
  • The quality difference between VoIP and a standard landline (POTS) connection.

Please note: this information was current as of January 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

What you'll need

There are four main components that need to be set up for a VoIP service to work.

  • Hardware — plugging all the correct cables into the modem router.
  • ADSL connection — configuring your connection to the Internet.
  • VoIP set up — enabling VoIP support, which can differ in difficulty depending on how the configuration menu is structured, what settings terminology is used and the advanced settings.
  • QoS — the Quality of Service feature needs to be enabled to provide the best call quality the modem router can produce. QoS gives greater priority to VoIP traffic to ensure call quality doesn’t drop below an acceptable level. It may be enabled by default or can be turned on in the settings.

If you go with a VoIP router provided by your ISP, chances are you’ll be up and running on VoIP fairly quickly and easily. Some ISPs will provide a choice of models for use with their service. These will be already tested and possibly ‘optimised’ for use with their service.

If you have an existing VoIP-capable modem, perhaps from another ISP before you switched providers, that’s not the same as the one your ISP supplies — or you decide to buy a different model to get a better price or features — you may not find the setup quite so straightforward. It will work, but may require more time spent setting it up, including research to sort out the tricky bits.

Brands tested

  • Belkin F1PI242EGau
  • Billion BiPAC 7401VGP
  • Draytek Vigor 2700VG
  • Dynalink RTA1046VW
  • NetComm NB9WMAXX
  • Netgear DG834GV
  • Open Networks 824RLW


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