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Billion ADSL 5100S review

Perfect for the singleton with a fear of war chalkers

The 5100S is easy to set up thanks to an easy web-based interface

Our Verdict

This is a good basic router at a very reasonable price - it's easy to set up and works like a dream. Great budget buy.


  • Very small

    easy to set up

    Includes firewall

    VPN pass-through

    Excellent price


  • Single port

Sometimes we get a bit blasé about money as if there's an unlimited supply of the stuff. For instance, you can buy an ADSL single-port modem router for about £40, but someone's bound to tell you that you can get a four-port wireless version for £80, so why not get that? Well, if you don't need four ports or wireless, then why chuck away £40 on something you don't need?

So for those of you who like to look after the pennies, take a look at the Billion Ethernet ADSL modem from those nice people at Solwise.

No one knows ADSL like this small, friendly company from Hull, and this budget modem is just perfect for Mac owners who are planning on going broadband. The nice thing about Solwise is that you can phone the company up and speak to real humans who will guide you through the process of choosing an ADSL modem.

Most broadband providers offer free USB ADSL modems when you sign up with them. Unfortunately, not all of these types of modems work well with Macs and so, to avoid support problems, it's much better to go for an Ethernet version.

That's exactly what the Billion is. It offers a single Ethernet port connection between your Mac and your ADSL-enabled phone line. It's dead easy to set up thanks to an easy web-based interface that makes light work of typing in your ADSL username and password. You can be online in a matter of minutes.

As well as offering broadband connections, the Billion modem has a built-in firewall and support for pass-through Virtual Private Networks. In other words, it's perfect for home workers who need to access their company's internal networks.

But what if you want to go wireless at a later date, or add an extra computer to your broadband connection? Well, it's a doddle to plug in an Ethernet switch or a wireless access point. Because the Billion uses Network Address Translation, it's easy to provide multiple connections. Mark Sparrow