The installation procedures really are very well handled and with a standard PSTN phone connected to one of VoIP ports we were able make free calls immediately. Call quality over a 512Kb ADSL connection was generally very good with most recipients of our test calls unaware that we were using VoIP. If you’re using 1Mb or 2Mb broadband connections you’re unlikely to have any problems but the lower bandwidth connections will see a drop in quality when other Internet activities such as large downloads are occurring. A big bonus of the PipeCall service is secure access to all your account details on its web site. You can view your current account, check on all incoming and outgoing calls made and create graphical reports showing daily and monthly usage.
For general configuration the router provides a tidy browser interface although it was disappointing that Pipemedia hadn’t included a manual leaving us to download it from Billion’s website. Make absolutely sure your first visit is to the firewall section as this is switched off by default and needs to be enabled. You can then choose from three different security settings plus a fourth that blocks all inbound and outbound Internet access and only accepts user defined filters. Intrusion detection for Ping, DoS and scan attacks can be enabled as can web filtering. The latter is the basic URL filtering and not true content filtering so all you can do is create lists of websites or keywords and use them to block or allow access to specific sites. QoS (quality of service) features strongly in this router as you can prioritise different traffic types and applications using source and destination IP addresses, protocols and ports and these can be tied to a schedule that determines when they are active.
General security features are good as you can apply a MAC address filter table with up to sixteen entries to limit LAN access to specific systems. Wireless features are all present and correct with support for both or either 802.11b and g clients and SSID masking. Both 64- and 128-bit WEP encryption are available along with WPA-PSK and a separate MAC address filter table can be applied to wireless clients. Wireless performance was generally very good with the open-source Iometer returning 25.5MB/sec throughput over an unsecured 802.11g connection using a Proxim OriNOCO Gold Card in a Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook.
If you’re looking for a VoIP router that virtually sets itself up for you then this PipeCall package is well worth considering. Voice call quality is generally very good, the router itself provides a fair range of features for the price, while the VoIP call plans can save you big money on your phone bill.