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One of the most common questions I have been getting from readers after writing my BoB2 review is “What is BoB2? Why do I need a BoB2? What does BoB2 do?” Being IT Savvy, I know what it does, but I was amazed that many people don’t actually know what it is. I think iiNet’s marketing department needs to answer this question in their future promotions. So let's look at what these devices are and how they will help you.
So what actually is BoB2?
Basically, BoB2 is a modem, router and phone (VOIP) system all in one shiny (not so minty) device – unless iiNet gives you a packet of Minties. If you don’t know what these terms are, a modem is the device that you plug into your phone line and into your computer to be able to access the internet.
With most homes now having multiple computers and internet-enabled devices such as TV’s, you tend to want to share your internet connection to these devices. To allow all these devices to share one internet connection, you use a (wireless) router to connect to your modem. This enables multiple computers to be connected to each other to share files and printers and to access the internet all at the same time. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol (IP) which allows you to call other phones (usually at a cheaper cost) using your internet connection, rather than a PSTN line (Public Switched Telephone Network) – your normal telephone line. VOIP sends your data using packets, while your normal telephone uses circuit switching.
A typical network setup connecting multiple computers to the internet using a modem and router (excludes phone that would be connected between the modem and the internet)
What BoB2 allows you do to is to have all these things (the Modem, Router and phone system) all in one device.
A typical network setup with iiNet’s BoB2 Modem/Router all in one
So, do I need a BoB2?
This really depends on your current setup, what you already have, what you want in the future, and who your current ISP is; so I can’t tell you if you should get one or not. (If you tell me those three points in the comments below, I can advise you).
Since BoB2 isn’t locked with iiNet, you can use it with all ISP’s and VOIP providers. If you currently got old hardware and you think it is time to update, you don’t want something too complicated, and you want an answering machine; then yeah, BoB2 would be great. If you have just purchased a brand new router and/or modem, than why waste your money on a new device…
If you want to save money making VOIP calls instead of using your PSTN line and (usually) paying Telstra large amounts of money, and your router/modem doesn’t support VOIP, then yes, getting BoB2 will help. For cheap standalone VOIP plans, I recommend MyNetFone or iiNet if you decide you want to get Naked DSL and sacrifice your landline, or pay extra and move your broadband service to iiNet and get NetPhone1)
So what actually is BoB Lite?
BoB Lite is a slimmed down version of BoB2 – actually pretty much the same but doesn’t include the DECT Phone and Answering Machine. I will be posting a review up of BoB Lite soon.
So, do I need a BoB Lite?
My response is the same as BoB2 – although you don’t get the cordless phones and answering machine. If you need a new router/modem with a bonus ability to plug a phone into (or another cordless phone system), then yeah, get a BoB Lite. The good thing as well with BoB Lite, you can also use – you can use VOIP as well as well as your traditional landline.
BoB Lite will be most useful if you are with another ISP or need or would like a new router/modem at an affordable price. BoB Lite is good for as a simple modem/router device.
What about BoB1?
BoB1 was iiNet's first modem/router built by Belkin and not iiNet like the BoB2, BoB Lite and Wireless Bridges are. You can think of BoB1 as a mix between the BoB2 and BoB Lite. For more information about the BoB1, you can read my post: "Review of iiNet's BoB1 Modem/Router". Also note, that you can no longer buy BoB1 from iiNet.
So what actually is a Wireless Bridge?
I think iiNet’s Wireless PDF will help explain it a bit better:
If you are still not sure, let me explain a problem many people have and how the Wireless Bridge will help.
Let’s say purchased one of those brand new, fancy, internet ready Smart TV’s (or you have an Xbox and you want to connect it to the internet. So how do you plug your TV or Xbox into your router (or a BoB Lite / BoB2) when your TV/Xbox isn’t wireless and your modem/router isn’t near your TV because you don’t have another phone socket to plug into. Your options are:
- Run a cable along the floor or around the walls or under carpet which will be untidy or a safety hazard
- Spend money to get a network cable professionally installed in your house which is very expensive
- Buy one of those power point network cable thingymabobs and use your power cabling as your network cable which may be suitable
- Somehow send a Wireless Single to a device near your TV and plug your TV/xBox into it
Point 4 is what the Wireless Bridge does. It sends a wireless signal from your modem/router to your device that’s closer to your TV to connect to it. These means, no clutter and no high installation costs. From my initial testing from download off the internet, I got the exact same speeds as I would using the Wireless Bridge then having a cable connected to my computer. Therefore it’s a great Ethernet cable replacement.
Are you clear now?
I hope this post has answered your questions about what is a BoB2, BoB Lite, and a Wireless Bridge. If you are still not sure, or have a question about one of these, let me know in the comments.
Further Reading: Make sure you check out my other iiNet reviews