Personal Speedtouch 716v5 Review

Since joining the biggest ISP of the Netherlands (XS4All), I also received the Alcatel Speedtouch 716v5 WLAN.

With pain in my heart I had to say “sayonara” to my trustworthy Draytek Vigor 2005 because the Speedtouch has VOIP on board. This year VOIP took a huge step in the Dutch households. It will only be a matter of time before we can all enjoy global cheap phone conversations. 
With the SpeedTouch 716WL it is possible to share a single broadband connection between multiple home networking devices and to make telephone calls over the Internet and PSTN using standard telephone handsets. (2 ports for analog Telephones are available) 

The looks:
716-2

 

 

 

 

The connect options:

716-1

The features (in short):
– 4 port 10/100 ethernet
– 802.11b/g wireless access point
– Firewall with the ultimate level in network security
– 2 x VoIP ports
– Auto PSTN failover
– Pre-configuration available
I installed the latest firmware available: 6.1.7.2 and went on another IT-Journey…

Connecting the 716v5 was a breeze, setting it up was a whole other ballgame.
Because a large part of my network is virtual, I would have liked to redirect everything to my IPCop box but I ended up loosing the VOIP part.
There are some rumors that this config can work if you run Asteriks on IPCop but I didn’t want to go that deep.

The DMZ-option was also a no-go (same effect as with IPCop, you lose the VOIP part)
So I had already made my peace with the fact that the Speedtouch was going to act as my firewall from now on. Not really my choice but the cost reduction I can achieve with using VOIP made the choice easy.

After a lot of reading and configuring I now have the modem in place. My hostserver has multiple nics, I connected one of them to the Speedtouch. My other devices use the host pc as gateway to connect to the internet. The portforwarding did not respond as I hoped. If I connected the device to the Speedtouch, everything is ok, forwarding to an IP-Address further in my network did not work properly.

What I liked:
– The configsoftware is excellent
– The webinterface is neat

What I did not like:
– I have to put the NIC of my Gateway pc on DHCP when I connect it to the Speedtouch. Can you believe it..?
As soon as I give it a static address in the correct range, I can no longer reach the Internet. The speedtouch wants to hand out the addresses for the NIC. As soon as I have a DHCP address, I have to stop the DHCP server on the Speedtouch because it interferes with my existing DHCP server.
– You can only use 1 (read ONE!) voip account. Which is a BIG turnoff. There are multiple VOIP providers,each has it own pros and cons.
I want to be able to easily switch between VOIP providers without having to setup the whole bloody modem!
– For some odd reason at 2:30 in the morning my phone rang only once…I suspect it came from my modem. No proof however but I have CSI working the case as we speak.

Conclusion:
After resetting your host machine and having to put your NIC in DHCP mode to able to reach the Internet(each and every time).
The incorrect handling of portforwarding to IP addresses when not directly connected to the Speedtouch.
And the lack of being able to switch easily between VOIP providers makes me rate this product at a skinny 6/10

When you are an advanced user who want control of what goes where: then this modem is not for you..!