Of all the routers here, the D-Link is unique in that it offers both a PC Card slot and a USB port for connecting a 3G modem. That makes it the most widely-compatible router on test. Like the other routers, the only wireless protocols it supports are 802.11b/g – so no draft-n support – but it does offer D-Link’s proprietary Turbo mode.
D-Link claims this allows throughput of up to 108Mb/s, but you need D-Link hardware throughout your network to see results. Even without it, though, the D-Link sailed through our tests to a respectable second place.
It matched the Telstra Turbo 7 Series Wireless Gateway in our large file transfer test with a decent average speed of 20Mb/s a room away, and was only fractionally slower than the Telstra model in our small files test – the difference was less than 2Mb/s.
There isn’t much to dent the DIR-451’s appeal. Its feature list is long – UPnP and an SPI/NAT firewall are included, although QoS would have been the icing on the cake. One drawback is the HTTP menu system. While the Telstra and Linksys models both have relatively easy-to-understand, clean menus, the D-Link’s design is confusing and cluttered, and making changes to our network took longer than with the other units on test.
The D-Link’s compatibility with both USB and PC Card 3G modems makes it flexible, and its speed results make it a practical choice for day-to-day networking. Its menu system may not be the best, but at least you can leave it alone once it’s set up. Its price is competitive, and the flexibility of using any 3G network is the icing on the cake.
This Review appeared in the November, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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