FIRST LOOK: Hands On With iiNet’s BoB2 Modem [PICS]

While I was just about to type “Waiting for by BoB2 –  it should be coming soon” on Google+, I looked out my window, and guess who was walking up my driveway? A delivery man holding my brand new BoB2 Modem from iiNet that I won through iiNet’s Win A BoB2 in May Competition.

After being a proud owner of a BoB1 for almost two years (check out my review of BoB1), I could not wait to see what the new and improved BoB2 would be like. With no further ado, here is my iinet BoB2 review.

The Unboxing

One of the main reasons I wanted a BoB2 was for its fresh minty smell. However, I was quite disappointed when it smelt like any other computer component. (Confused? Watch the TV Ad). So to answer that question, no, BoB2 does not have a minty smell (unless of course staff put mints in your package).

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In the BoB2 package (which is your BoB2 Modem and your handset), you get the standard things such as your power supply, line filter, Ethernet cable and two phone cables, and your stands. You also get four manuals, which are your quick installation guide, your BoB2 user manual, your handset manual, and your wireless setup guide that you can download here. They also send you a friendly fridge magnet (or I should say a freezer magnet).

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Setting It All Up

You can see that iiNet tries hard in making the installation on BoB1 and BoB2 pretty easy, but I have to say, it was a little troublesome getting online as the standard automatic setup procedure did not really work for me. It was pretty easy physically installing BoB2, because all I had to do was pull out the cables from BoB1 and put them into BoB2. I did not have to use the supplied Ethernet cable, phone cables or line filter because that was already there, so I can add those into my spare parts collection.

Since the automatic setup did not work for me, I had to manually configure the modem, which was that difficult. Once your computer is connected, (I connected via LAN), the first time you visit a webpage, you will be redirected to an iiNet page asking for your iiNet UserName and Password. Therefore, I entered my details in, and it says that my details were incorrect for some reason – even though they were correct as I got them straight out of FireFox’s password manager for iiNet Toolbox. So I clicked on the forgot password link to get a copy of my password just to make sure, however, that took a good 30 minutes to receive, and by then, I already configured BoB2 manually.

BoB2Setup

Therefore, when I went to BoB’s IP address that is http://10.1.1.1, I entered in my account details and was I connected straight away. VOIP was a little trickier because that time I did enter my VOIP password incorrectly (could not read my own handwriting).

So What About Wireless Setup?

A while ago, I believe iiNet got some slack for having the default wireless settings open to all, so non-tech-savvy people would be vulnerable from their neighbours. However by default, the BoB2 Wi-Fi is protected. On the back of BoB2, there is a sticker informing you of your default SSID and WPA Key so you can connect to your wireless network. It is pretty much self-explanatory, but the Wireless Setup Guide (PDF) explains it all.

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BoB2 also offers WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) which can also be used to setup BoB2. On the back of BoB2, there is a button that you can press to get you started. There are three buttons on the back, the WPS, DECT Register, and DECT page.

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Playing Around Inside BoB2

When you visit BoB2’s URL at http://10.1.1.1, you are presented with a nice splash screen of key information regarding the status of your ADSL connection and VOIP.

BoB2Initial Screen

The layout of BoB2 is almost identical to the iiNet website, and looks much neater than the BoB1 configuration page. Here are screenshots of each of the seven areas and their sub-menus.

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1. BoB2 Wizard Screen

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2. Wireless Setup Page

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3. VOIP Setup Page

3a Phone Mapping

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4. USB Port Setup

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5. Advance Setup Page

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6. Handy Tools

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7. Setup and Diagnostics

The Answering Machine

Although I am yet to receive a call through BoB2, it does have an inbuilt answering machine that can be activated by touching BoB2. It’s quite loud too by default, and it sent my Golden Retriever Puppy crazy and running towards me when I started playing with it. I am not 100% sure though, but BoB2 makes a buzzing sound while on, but I assume that it is the inbuilt speaker.

The default ring timer is set to 10 seconds by default, but I find that is too short especially when you have to get out of bed, so I set it to 30 seconds. However, make sure you do not set it too long otherwise the settings you set in toolbox may contradict with your settings.

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One thing I am not too sure about is configuring VOIP in the iiNet’s ToolBox and on your BoB2 modem. I assume that the settings in the ToolBox take priority before BoB2. So if your internet is down, the ToolBox settings will take action, if BoB2 is connected, BoB2 will take action, as long as the Toolbox settings do not activate first. I have provided my settings in the above two screenshots which should work.

Call History

Another improvement BoB2 has over BoB1 is the call history. BoB1 used to only provide statistics of how many calls you have made, missed or received. With BoB2, it now actually tell you the times and numbers of these calls which is really handy and useful feature.

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The Handset

When you look at the handset for the first time, it is quite big and bulky. Not sure what the reason for this is, but for those who cannot see well or who have trouble pressing buttons, it would be a perfect phone for them. Nevertheless, it’s really light and easy to use.

Update: One thing I don’t quite like about the handset is that it is quite difficult to pick the phone up since it fits nicely in the cradle. I had my BoB1 handset in the cradle in another room, and to pick it up, you can actually grab the entire phone. Having BoB2 in somewhat of a corner, the only way to pick it up is if you put your thumb on the earpiece, and use your fingers at the back of the phone to left it up – only then you can grab it. So you only have one way to pick up the phone and that is to pick it up from the top. If you try picking it up from the sides, the phone seems to get stuck or it will end up on the floor.

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The phone features a nice big clock, or you can have it display picture. As you can also tell, the BoB2 is very reflective. One feature on the handset that I noticed is a feature called “Room Monitoring”. I could not find any information about it in the instruction manuals, but it allows you to enter a phone number. Therefore I assume that you can put the phone in a room, activate the feature, and if it detects noise (such as an intruder), it automatically calls you and you can listen to what is happening in the room. I will try to test this feature out soon.

USB Settings

With BoB1, you could connect your 3G USB modem, have a FTP, Web, WebDav, and file server, and this is no different to BoB2. However, the web server was a bit dodgy in BoB1 so I didn’t tend to use it. For a static webpage, it was perfect, but anything more, it wasn’t good. With BoB2, I can see a slight improvement on speed, but I would not host a site using BoB2 as your web server. First of all, if you load http://bob2/websitedirectory it will show the files in that directory, then automatically display the index.html page. The speed of displaying static pages is reasonable, so the only reason why I would see anyone using this is if they made a page that links to all their files to download.

The File Server in BoB2 is something that I might consider using now, which I didn’t in BoB1. The speed of accessing the files seem much faster than BoB1. Storing files on a pretty slow 32GB flash drive, and accessing it over 100MB Ethernet, I got a 1.5MB/sec average writing, and around 4MB/sec reading. So sharing small files around the home or simply sharing a portable HDD to multiple computers is pretty easy. I did copy over a 700MB video to stream it and it played reasonably well without any jitter.

The FTP server works, but I didn’t get anything faster than my current internet downloads speed. However, it’s a great way to access your files remotely. For example, I may connect my backup HD to BoB2 when I’m away to be able to access my files without having my computer on. Even though I have a dynamic IP address, I use DYNDNS.org so when my IP address changes, I can easily access my router on the web through a subdomain – which I have been doing all the time on BoB1.

Overall…

I think the BoB2 is a pretty good modem & all in one package, and better than the BoB1. I never got the BoB lite, so I can’t compare it to that, but I am pretty happy with the BoB2. If I didn’t win a BoB2, I probably would not buy one because I don’t see the justification of upgrading. However my BoB1 will still go to good use in another home.

When I first plugged it in, I did notice that the speed of downloading files was almost cut in half, but after trying a number of services, I did reach a my best download speed record ever of 2.1MB/s. With the BoB1, I never reached 2.0MB/s and my Sync speed was never over 20000kbps as it is with BoB2 – so I’d say the download performance is much faster.

Playing around in the UI, it was also much quicker and more responsive than BoB1. I used to run into troubles with BoB1 while adjusting my Wireless settings. The wireless would just drop out and never return until I power-cycled BoB1. But I don’t think I will have that problem with BoB2.

One thing I do like is that BoB2 supports two VOIP accounts from two different providers, where as BoB1 would support two, but only from the same provider. So I am thinking of getting a DID from MyNetFone for $5 per year and use it as a secondary line (in case someone rings while someone is on the phone).

One other slight bug I noticed, when I plugged my BoB1 back in, I picked up the landline phone that was still connected to BoB2 and it still had a dial tone, even though it wasn’t connected to the internet. If this happened on BoB1, you would get a message saying it’s going through a PSTN line. So I am not sure if this is a slight bug.

Never the less, I am quite happy of BoB2. If you want to ask my any specific question (if you are looking at getting one) or for any other reason, please do so in the comments below and I will try my best to answer them in detail.

That’s all from me, and look below for more low quality photos of BoB2 on my awesome Nokia 5800 mobile phone.

Further Support

If you want to check out the user manuals for BoB2, you can download them at http://www.iinet.net.au/bob/documents.html. Also, check out BravoCharlieTV unboxing video of BoB2 on YouTube.

More information about BoB2, including purchasing BoB2 can be found on iiNet’s BoB Homepage.

Update: iiNet just sent an email out saying you can also receive a free 3 month trial Fetch TV. Don’t want it after the three month free trial, simply put it back in the box and send it back. More information about the Fetch TV 3 month trial can be found here.

Further Reading: Make sure you check out my other iinet reviews

 

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