Article – French language / Langue Française
Free.fr have been adding some extra functionality to their Freebox Révolution and Freebox Crystal “n-box” Internet-gateway devices. This is being delivered through a free firmware update (version 2.1.0) as in the nature of the highly-competitive French Internet-service market and users can download and implement them in these devices.
VPN Endpoint Router
One key product is the ability for a Freebox Révolution or Freebox Crystal Internet-gateway to become a fully-fledged small-business-grade VPN router. Here, you could set these devices to work as an endpoint for a client-to-box VPN or, perhaps, a box-to-box VPN joining two small networks via the Internet backbone. For example, you could set up a secure-browsing or secure-file-transfer link to your home or small-business network in Paris or even buy a Draytek VPN router for your home network in the UK and a Freebox Révolution for that chic French “bolthole” and establish a “box-to-box” VPN for backing up data between both locations, including making the same media available at both locations.
This is made feasible with hardware or software endpoints that work to PPTP or OpenVPN technology, which would suit software endpoints available on all the main desktop and mobile platforms as well as most other VPN endpoint routers.
Even the “seedbox” BitTorrent client integrated in these devices has been updated to be able to take advantage of the VPN functionality for user privacy.
Wi-Fi network improvements
The Freebox Révolution has been able to benefit from a software-based 802.11ac implementation which opens it up to high-speed data transfer with 802.11ac clients. Typically this would have required one to replace or add hardware to upgrade to the newer 802.11ac standard.
Similarly, the firmware has mad it easier for a Freebox user to optimise their Wi-Fi network performance by changing the channel the Wi-Fi access point is working on. It also includes a “site-survey” function which lists what Wi-Fi networks are operating on what channels at what strengths so you can choose the right channel to work on. This can be important in a neighbourhood where everyone is running a home network and could make things also easier for Free’s technical-support staff.
There is even the ability to turn Wi-FI functionality on or off according to a schedule which can be of importance for people who are sensitive to RF emissions or need to keep a lid on out-of-hours access to the Wi-Fi network.
You just never know what Free or other French ISPs have in store to increase the real value that they offer to their customers in that highly-competitive market.