BoB Lite

BoB's little brother isn't a speed demon, but it is simple to connect up and surprisingly powerful for such a cheap router.


8.8
CNET Rating
6.2
User Rating


Design

iiNet's second take on the BoB (Broadband in a Box, which we've commented previously should make it BiaB) modem-router concept carries the suffix of "Lite", but that's definitely not a comment on its relative size. BoB Lite is a big boy in the modem world, and you'll need a bit of desk space to accommodate him, albeit not quite as much as with the original BoB.

It's also the only router we've seen to date that, out of the box has the words "Hurrah!" printed on it in big friendly letters. For those of a less bombastic nature, this is just a sticker detailing the initial set-up procedure that can be removed if you wish.

Features

BoB Lite's whole shtick is that you can just plug it in and let it do its thing; it should in theory communicate with iiNet's servers, grab your password and user details based on the phone line you're connecting from. It's worth noting that if you do that, your network is by default laid bare for the world to access. iiNet concedes this point with a slim leaflet in the box that suggests you set up a wireless access password. Call us picky, but even a simple predefined password would be a better bet for a product that's pitched squarely at networking novices.

BoB Lite is a 300Mbps-capable 802.11n wireless modem-router. Like its ancestor, the original BoB, it's operating on the 2.4GHz range, and just like the original BoB, there's a secondary 2.4GHz radio embedded within. By default it's switched off, which should improve throughput on the primary radio, but if you wanted two competing 2.4GHz networks in a very small space, it's there.

BoB Lite has four 10/100 Ethernet ports, one VoIP port, one PSTN fail-over port and two USB ports for USB storage, device charging and 3G compatible modems, although one of these ports is located on the base of the router underneath a catch flap. If you were using a larger USB modem — something like Telstra's Ultimate USB springs to mind — there's no way you'd be able to use the base USB port for that purpose. We also found after extended testing that the closed hatch on the base is a great way to heat up your USB modem, which isn't all that good for it.

BoB's Lite suffix isn't just a function of its lower price. You also don't get the handsets that come with the full BoB modem, and this also means that the docking station that sat in the middle of full-fat BoB is absent. BoB Lite is also one of only two routers that iiNet rates as being compatible with the FetchTV service. No prizes for guessing that full-fat BoB is the other one.

Performance

Setting up BoB Lite was an interesting affair. The first BoB Lite we received was completely DOA and had to be replaced. The second unit worked, but we couldn't get it to automatically fetch our account details for some reason. It would connect up to the ADSL2+ line, choose all the correct parameters and then stop. We've no idea why, but thankfully the in-built browser-based wizard makes it very simple to enter your details. For the security conscious, it's worth noting that not only is the default SSID completely open, but the browser web page advertises the default admin password prominently.

We should note that the iiNet-only requirement for BoB Lite meant that we couldn't test the unit in the same environment as our most recent router reviews. As with any wireless router, performance will vary by location and intervening interference sources. In our tests, we average between 19.52Mbps at close range down to 11.09Mbps in a real-world file transfer test using BoB Lite. That's a little on the slower side given that InSSIDer identified BoB's two radios working at 300Mbps.

The rest of BoB Lite might be very user-friendly, but we struggled endlessly to get a Vodafone K3765 USB modem to connect using BoB, and the interface didn't help a great deal in this effort. Given we've seen 3G-capable modems shipping with default settings for major Australian carriers, it's curious that a theoretically "user-friendly" modem like BoB Lite doesn't come with this in-built. Whether BoB's budget market will care much for 3G fail-safes is perhaps moot.

Conclusion

It's a limited market product — you've got to be an iiNet customer, and if you want the cheaper AU$69 asking price, you've got to sign up for a 24-month contract — but within those confines it's hard to find significant fault with BoB Lite given the extremely low asking price. Typically at these kinds of prices you'd expect to find a half-rate 150Mbps product with no VoIP or in-built USB. For those iiNet customers wanting an easy experience with some configuration power for later, BoB Lite is a good choice.

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thekotsch22
2
Rating
 

"Buy a good brand name voip modem router."

thekotsch22 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Setup was easy enough.

The Bad:Constant wifi dropouts.

had iinets Belkin wired voip router and decided to get Bob Lite. Bad mistake. WiFI drops out constatntly in nearby rooms. Iinet support did not solve the problem. Went back to Belkin wired voip router hooked up to TP Link wireless router. No dropouts. Bob is going back to Iinet.

 

MarkC4 posted a comment   

good: cheap (ours was free) if with West Net or IInet in Australia, great for novice and home user. It just works, found it really fast even on our notoriously bad outdated lines in the area.

bad: probably doesn't support a large household of users with competing demands.

this has been a massive improvement over the old Belkin device I had. I live in a small two bedroom terrace house. Walls are rock solid, not plaster and signal is good throughout the home, but would be weak in a larger house.

BillC1 Facebook
9
Rating
 

"almost pearfik"

BillC1 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:strong wi-fi signal, v high speed ADSL connection rates, easy to use, nice interface

The Bad:setup wasn't quite plug n play

I'm had this for about a month now and I'm loving it. It does the basics and it does them really well - like the nokia phones of old...

Getting v high ADSL speeds (1.5 ) over wifi connection... nice!!

Very strong wi-fi signal, I can pick up signal from my garden through the walls.

It looks good, it's easy to use and the web UI is better than most modems.

The setup wasn't quite as easy as just plugging it in - but then for me that's a good thing... I like to configure my network a little.

 

"Cheap but you get what you pay for - problems"

IgorJ posted a comment   
Australia

The Good:Enables FetchTV service from iiNet (cheap cable TV)

The Bad:Spontaneous reboots, e-mail not working

Already on second BobLite.
Slow. Needs reboots.
Reboots spontaneously especially if using VPN passthrough (which it's supposed to support)
Outlook no longer connects to e-mail servers.
Unless you really want FetchTV, not recommended for all the hassles it's still causing, espcially if I still have my old modem/router.

rainand27
4
Rating
 

"Very Basic Router"

rainand27 posted a review   

The Good:Quick Boot up and line sync

The Bad:Wireless Weak, and Constant drop outs requiring reboot of router

Stay away, spend a 100 on a home brand router before getting this.

Looks Promising, Looks Good, Boots up Good and promising.

Slow Modem (I'm using a ADSL1 modem in its place at the moment and is faster.

Wireless signal is very weak. I go to one bedroom away from the router, 2 bars of wireless signal (old router full strength). Constant wireless drops out and there is no interference or line noise etc, during these drops outs you cannot even connect to the router via Ethernet. I put this down to a DOA unit when im getting it, but support say the modems fine! So here is my review. STAY AWAY! get a older modem of a friend or go to dick smiths and buy a cheaper better one!

rogerhassan Facebook
8
Rating
 

"Very happy with BoB Lite so far."

rogerhassan posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Looks great, install is easy, no problems, excellent value.

The Bad:Nothing yet that I can see yet.

Consider we only just got the BoB Lite a couple days ago, it has done everything amazingly.

Really easy set up eith the extremely simple manual. Fetched our information immediately and just spent 5 minutes setting up a Wi-Fi password and a few other settings.

It looks really nice and the lights telling you whats working or not are just basic, simple and helpful.

Haven't tested out all of the features I don't really use or need, like a 3G modem or hard drive expansion.

But I've even noticed a slightly faster internet connection, granted its not much faster, it is probably just a more efficient modem than my last one.

Especially great for iinet customers (who are probably the only ones who would buy it) because you can get it for free (like we did) if you sing up for a contract/plan and they are able to give you better support with it.

All in all really happy with it!

HappyBobLiter
8
Rating
 

HappyBobLiter posted a review   

The Good:It does exactly what is needs to, it is exceptional value

The Bad:The Auto-config capability was not so auto (and not so config)

I recently got a Bob-lite.

The installation was not all that it is cracked up to be, for starters they sent me a new username and password in the documentation, even though I was an existing customer and it was the old username and password that I actually needed to use it.

I went through the auto-configuration as specified in the docs and was presented with an error saying that the device could not be configured and to call support.

That said, it only took a few minutes to type in my username and password and get it working.

From here on it has been mostly all smiles.

Setting up the wireless was painless, even though it was on by default without security – ergh.

The VoIP phone settings we easy to type in and some of the settings defaulted when I chose my state, after typing them in and hitting save the VoIP connected and everything was working perfectly! It seemed a lot less of a pain to set up compared to my old iiNet branded old Belkin router.

The USB drive sharing is brilliant; it makes purchasing BoB Lite worth it for just that. Be warned however that the sharing is a little slow, but as a backup device it does exactly what I want. And now I get access to all of my files on any device without having to keep server running.

FTP works great but I am struggling with the inbuilt web server, it does not seem to server any default pages (like default.htm or index.html)and the inability to have it run on port 80 is a bit of a shame.

I have also used a soft phone and a VPN service and they all worked great!

For the money (under $100) it is brilliant value, well and truly worth every cent – thanks iiNet.

With faster USB sharing and a better web server, I would have given this a 9 or a 10.




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User Reviews / Comments  BoB Lite

  • thekotsch22

    thekotsch22

    Rating2

    "had iinets Belkin wired voip router and decided to get Bob Lite. Bad mistake. WiFI drops out constatntly in nearby rooms. Iinet support did not solve the problem. Went back to Belkin wired voip rou..."

  • MarkC4

    MarkC4

    "good: cheap (ours was free) if with West Net or IInet in Australia, great for novice and home user. It just works, found it really fast even on our notoriously bad outdated lines in the area.
    ..."

  • BillC1

    BillC1

    Rating9

    "I'm had this for about a month now and I'm loving it. It does the basics and it does them really well - like the nokia phones of old...

    Getting v high ADSL speeds (1.5 ) over wifi con..."

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