D-Link Australia Xtreme N Gigabit Router (DIR-655)

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D-Link Australia Xtreme N Gigabit Router (DIR-655)
  • D-Link Australia Xtreme N Gigabit Router (DIR-655)
  • D-Link Australia Xtreme N Gigabit Router (DIR-655)
  • D-Link Australia Xtreme N Gigabit Router (DIR-655)

Pros

  • Its 802.11 draft-n performance was fast, we didn't have to fiddle with the default settings in order to get smooth wireless networking performance, it performed well when 802.11g and 802.11 draft-n clients were connected simultaneously

Cons

  • It doesn't have print or file server functions built in, its Web interface could be a little better, it could use more comprehensive keyword filtering options

Bottom Line

All up, we didn't have to fiddle with this router's settings at all, apart from entering our Internet and wireless connectivity details. It distributed our Internet connection and streamed multimedia files to various wireless clients without any problems, and its speeds were admirable during our tests. For users who need a new wireless router for the home, or even for a small office, this one is worth considering.

Would you buy this?

Users after a fast wireless router may want to consider D-Link's DIR-655, which features the 802.11 draft-n specification, as well as a four-port gigabit Ethernet switch. It can distribute an Internet connection from either a cable or ADSL modem, and it'll have no problems streaming most video files in a typical home environment.

Setting up the DIR-655 isn't stressful; once we entered the details for our iiNet ADSL2+ account, we were up and running in about 20 seconds. Likewise, we didn't have any problems setting up the wireless access point in the router, which can simultaneously connect a mixture of clients (802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11 draft-n).

We tested the router using D-Link's DWA-140, which is a USB-based 802.11 draft-n adapter, using WPA/WPA2 (TKIP and AES) mixed-mode data encryption. This adapter can be used either with D-Link's own management software, or with Windows' built-in Zero Wireless Configuration. We tested using the latter, and we achieved a maximum connection rate of 300Mbps. While the range (and the speed) of the router will vary depending on the surrounding environment, the DWA-140 put up good numbers against other 802.11 draft-n routers we've seen, in particular, the Belkin N1 MIMO Wireless Modem Router and the Netgear RangeMax Next WNR834B.

In our best-case scenario test, where we transfer data from a file server to a notebook situated in the same room as the router, the DWA-140 averaged a rate of 7.17MBps (or, 57.36Mbps). In our mid-range test, where we transfer the same data to the same notebook over a distance of 10m, but with a double-brick wall as an obstacle, an average rate of 5.61MBps (or 44.88Mbps) was achieved. Indeed, these results are the fastest we've experienced from a draft-n router during these tests.

The DIR-655 also performs well when an 802.11g-based notebook is connected at the same time as an 802.11 draft-n notebook. We achieved an average transfer rate of 4.96MBps from 10m away with the 802.11 draft-n notebook, while an 802.11g-based notebook was streaming a DivX file in another room (up to 7m away). The video stream didn't stutter at all, and the notebook maintained a reported wireless connection speed of 54Mbps. At the same time, the file transfer on the 802.11 draft-n notebook was conducted with a reported wireless connection speed of 216Mbps.

Overall, the DIR-655 is very well-suited for simultaneously streaming video files to multiple computers. Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) is enabled by default in this router, and its aim is to eradicate jitter and latency problems from arising when streaming video or music files. We haven't always had smooth streaming experiences with this setting in the past, but it appears to serve this router well.

For managing Internet traffic, the router's Web interface houses Quality of Service (QoS) rules, which allow priority levels to be applied to specific IP addresses and Internet ports on a network. We used the default QoS settings for our tests; that is, we tested with QoS enabled, and with automatic application detection settings. We didn't experience any bandwidth problems while testing the router, even on a relatively slow 512Kbps connection, as we were able to happily browse graphics-intensive Web sites, while Bittorrent files were downloading in the background.

For wired connections, the router's four gigabit Ethernet ports will supply an average throughput of 21MBps between gigabit-capable computers, so users who want to move big files from one computer to another, can do so relatively quickly.

An SPI firewall is built in to the unit, and it's enabled by default. It also has an 'Anti-spoof checking' setting, which can be a safeguard against sites that perpetrate fraud. Unfortunately, the unit doesn't have the ability to block Web pages by using keyword filters, but domain name filters can be used to block entire Web sites. Restricted domains are met with a D-Link page, which informs the user that they're trying to access a 'forbidden' site.

Other standard features of the router include a DHCP server, port-forwarding, port-triggering and DMZ (de-militirized zone). However, it doesn't have any extra features, such as a built-in print or file server. We found its Web interface serviceable, and it's an easy router to set up, but its layout does take a little time to get used to. For example, the save buttons, for applying changes, are located at the top of the page. Also, we'd prefer it if all settings could be directly accessed from the left-hand pane, rather than first having to navigate to the 'Setup', 'Advanced' and 'Tools' tabs at the top of the page.

All up, we didn't have to fiddle with this router's settings at all, apart from entering our Internet and wireless connectivity details. It distributed our Internet connection and streamed multimedia files to various wireless clients without any problems, and its speeds were admirable during our tests. For users who need a new wireless router for the home, or even for a small office, this one is worth considering.

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