D-Link Australia DI-624
- Easy to configure
- No SPI firewall, security disabled by default
Though the DI-624 router is a solid offering, a lack of a stateful packet inspection firewall and weak default security hold it back slightly
Price$ 149.95 (AUD)
Wireless networking has become de rigueur for tech savvy households, however inexpensive broadband and an explosion in notebook sales is placing Wi-Fi in the hands of the mainstream consumer. The 802.11g wireless networking standard includes provision for a certain number of wireless networks to operate within a given area. Each network is assigned its own channel, and 108G hardware manages to double the 54mbit/s theoretical bandwidth of 802.11g by using two channels simultaneously. This "channel bonding" technology is used by a number of manufacturers to boost the speeds of their products, however there's no guarantee that one vendor's hardware will work with another's. D-Link has opted to call its technology "AirPlus Xtreme G", and we tested the wireless router with a compatible network adapter.
D-Link's DI-624 is designed to take an incoming Internet connection from broadband modem and share it between four wired PCs and a wireless network. On paper, the unit looks much like any other broadband router, offering four 10/100 base Ethernet ports, a WAN interface, and DHCP server. Standard routing functions are the bundled in, including domain blocking, filtering by MAC address, IP or URL, and VPN pass-through. Both 64 and 128 bit WEP encryption is provided as standard, and there's support for the more robust and secure WPA encryption to really lock down your network.
The D-Link device is built on the Atheros AR5002 chipset, which compresses and encrypts data as it's transmitted (also decrypting it when received), and provides impressive data transfer speeds. We managed to record a speed of 40mbit/s at a range of 5m, though this is tapered off as soon as we got more than 20m from the router.
Like other D-Link products, the packaging only contains a quick installation guide, and you'll need to consult the CD-ROM for a full manual. The router contains a web based configuration screen that includes a wizard to help guide through the process of setting up DHCP, broadband connections, and the wireless LAN. Security is disabled by default, and the setup wizard offers little more than a passing mention on how to securely configure the device.
Though D-Link's DI-624 108G router and matching DWL-G650 CardBus adapter offer straightforward setup and adequate network speed, the lack of a printed manual, SPI firewall, and a passing mention in the quick install guide for setting up security, means there is little to recommend it above and beyond competing products. And remember that you need matching hardware to get optimum speed.
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