The days when you could stick a premium price tag on any old 802.11n router and hope it sold are over, as the bargain prices of the D-Link and Linksys routers demonstrate this month.
This D-Link is nearly as cheap at a reasonable $229, but it can’t live with the award-winning Linksys, which costs even less. Its design is bland and not nearly as slick as the Linksys’ futuristic profile. And its performance isn’t as good either.
A CD in the box covers installation, and does a reasonably good job of setting up your internet connection, encryption and a device password. You’re better off using the web interface, however, as this contains predefined settings for a host of ADSL service providers, such as iinet, Optus and Telstra BigPond, among a respectably long list of others.
We also liked that it randomly generates a security key in the wireless security settings wizard for you. We were less impressed that the wizard covers only WEP and WPA protocols, however – if you want to use the router in WPA2 or enterprise modes, you have to adjust those features manually.
A parental controls section lets you restrict access to certain URLs based on the time of day, although there’s no facility to block keywords, which restricts its usefulness. More worrying, however, is the fact that even after running the setup wizards, the firewall remained switched off by default. We appreciate, however, the inclusion of a multiple SSID mode, which allows you to set up temporary networks for visitors.
Performance was in keeping with the mixed feature set. It was only fractionally faster than the sluggish Netgear, with an average adjusted throughput of 24.7Mb/s, and that performance wasn’t consistent in all the in-house locations either – in the kitchen it was 4.5Mb/sec slower than in the same room. Long-distance speed was a little more impressive, at an adjusted 15.8Mb/s: the second-fastest in this respect.
But it’s not quite enough to make up ground over the competition. It seems well specified, but there are niggling annoyances around every corner. Performance is fine, but not up there with the best. And though it’s cheap, the award winner costs less.
This Review appeared in the October, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine