Bouygues Telecom now offers a new Internet box with its Ultym pack, the Bbox Fibre Wi-Fi 6. Unveiled on January 14th, it stands out from the other boxes on the market by its design and its possibilities of evolution. Follow (Tom’s) guide…
All the operators launched their new boxes last year. All of them? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! For Bouygues was still resisting the invaders until the beginning of 2020. But the ISP has finally launched its new BBox Fibre Wi-Fi 6. Available since January 27, 2020, this device is unlike anything else on the market. With a new look and a front panel display that can be controlled with a thumbwheel, this Bbox has been designed to better dissipate heat while making itupgradeable.
Bbox: a new 10 Gbit fibre box, Wi-Fi 6 and upgradeable at Bouygues
Available only via theBbox Ultymoffer, it is designed exclusively for subscribers equipped with a fibre connection, like Orange’s Livebox 5, which is also dedicated to the Internet operator’s fibre subscribers. After a week of use, here are our conclusions on this Bbox Fibre Wi-Fi 6.
Fibre optics: what is the best package?
✅ The front panel interface
✅ The web administration interface
✅ The stable Wi-Fi
✅ The modularity and scalability
✅ The price of the package
WE DON’T LOVE
❌ Control wheel control
❌ Design and size that some people may not like
Free, SFR, Orange, Bouygues, who has the best box?
The first thing that surprises when you take the Bbox Wi-Fi 6 fiber box out of its box is its original and unusual design for an Internet box. A large black cylinder, slightly cubic, 22.5 cm high, is discovered. It is not without reminding the look of some connected speakers, which however would have taken a little overweight on the way.
While some operators strive to design compact and more or less “invisible” boxes, Bouygues has opted for a box that wants to be seen. Difficult to hide it in a piece of furniture because of its height, impossible to put it on the floor because of its knurl and its front display. So we just put it next to the TV. Even if the point may seem anecdotal, the size of the box is not to be neglected when acquiring it.
On the back of this Wi-Fi 6 Fibre Box, there are 4 Ethernet ports 1 Gb/s, 1 port 10 Gb/s, 1 telephone socket (compared to two on the previous model), 2 USB ports, 1 power supply port and 1 fibre optic connector. This is one of the new features of this box: it no longer needs the small external ONT box, a pluggable SFP adapter that fits directly into the back, at the bottom of the device. Please note, however, that we still had to use the 10GbE Ethernet port connected to the ONT on our test model and therefore could not test the effectiveness of the SFP module. Bouygues assured us that the problem was resolved when the new Bbox was officially launched.
Impossible to miss the big knob on the front: this one allows to control the display panel of the box, located just above. This is also one of the other new features of this Bbox Wi-Fi 6 fiber. Once switched on, this display panel on the front panel allows you to see the time and to make some adjustments on the box. Fortunately, the display switches itself off after a few seconds so as not to disturb those who would sleep near their cubicle… or who would not want to see this screen on continuously, quite simply.
Thanks to this scroll wheel and screen placed directly on the front panel of the Bbox Wi-Fi 6 fibre box, it is possible, for example, to display a QR Code to easily connect a device via Wi-Fi (the QR Code is also available via the box’s web interface), to access voice mail, the call log or the event log, to adjust some of the box’s parameters, to establish a start of diagnosis in the event of a problem and even to carry out an upload or download flow test.
The new Bouygues Internet box supports Wi-Fi 6 and 10 Gbps, but only in Ethernet for the moment, on the dedicated port. To reach such a speed on the Internet, and therefore via fibre, we will have to wait a little longer: the Bouygues fibre network does not yet allow us to reach such a speed.
In the meantime, the Bbox fibre Wi-Fi 6 is already compatible with this speed, which is not the case with some competing boxes launched very recently (randomly, Orange’s Livebox 5, limited to 2 Gbps). Gigabit Ethernet ports, however, cannot be aggregated, so wired devices connected to this box will remain limited to Gigabit Ethernet in all cases.
The tests we have been able to perform have shown excellent stability of the fiber connection. The only disconnection/reconnection problems occurred the day after the official launch of the box, probably as a result of last-minute changes to the operator’s network.
The Wi-Fi measurements were made with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), unfortunately we did not have Wi-Fi 6 devices at the time of the tests. The connection quality is more stable than on the previous Bouygues box, even when you start to move away from the Bbox. So you gain speed and stability, even without switching to Wi-Fi 6.
The administration web interface can be accessed by typing https://mabbox.bytel.fr in your browser, or directly via the IP address of the box. The first time you connect, you must secure access by pressing the front dial for five seconds. And that’s it.
The interface itself is relatively ergonomic and well thought out, simple to understand and use despite the many options available. It is possible to enable, disable or configure the classic firewall or pinhole firewall (dedicated to a particular application), configure port forwarding, manage DHCP and DynDNS, or manage the connection of all the devices connected to the box, whether they are wired or Wi-Fi.
Let’s end this owner’s tour with the modularity of this Bbox Wi-Fi 6 fiber. The operator has indeed had the good idea to upgrade this box thanks to the fiber port hosting an SFP module as we have already seen. But it will also be possible, when the time comes, to switch to Wi-Fi 7 simply by replacing a card inside the box, an operation that also makes it possible to replace a faulty element if necessary. In other words, this Bbox fibre Wi-Fi 6 is likely to remain on the market for a long time.
To benefit from this new BBox Wi-Fi 6 fibre, there is only one solution: subscribe to the BBox Ultym subscription. The operator offers this package at a rate of 24.99 euros per month for one year. After this period, the flat rate increases to 41.99 euros per month. The offer includes the Bbox Wi-Fi 6 fiber box that we just tested, and the set-top box classic 4K under Android TV.
One of the following options is offered with the Ultym subscription, and it is possible to change the option from one month to the next for free:
- The Canal+ Series bouquet, with its original creations (Platane, The New Pope, La Guerre des Mondes…) and access to content from Showtime, FX or Fox Play.
- A 4G key with 20 GB of data per month and the possibility to simultaneously host up to 10 devices.
- The Bbox youth package (Tiji, Tfou Max, Boing, Boomerang, Toonami, Canal J and Baby TV).
- The Playzer platform providing access to thousands of clips and concerts in HD.