- Built-in ATA, has a power button, was a reliable performer during our tests
- Its interface could be clearer, and it would benefit from a built-in help file; doesn't support the fastest available networking standards
It doesn't look pretty, nor does it feature the fastest networking options, but it's a reliable all-in-one ADSL2+ modem with built-in VoIP capabilities.
Price$ 219.00 (AUD)
Dynalink's ADSL modem/router means business. And you quickly get a sense of that when you pull it out of the box. Unlike many of today's modems and routers, this one is large, plain, and solidly constructed. It doesn't rely on pretty-boy looks to get by; instead, it employs an ADSL modem, a wireless access point, a 4-port Ethernet switch and an analogue telephone attachment (ATA) to bring an easy, all-in-one solution to home and small office users.
Indeed, despite its lack of flare, this unit is one of the easiest with which to connect to the Internet: plug in all your cables, log-in to its Web configuration page and enter your ADSL account's username and password details. At that point, the modem will auto-detect your connection and sort everything else out on its own. With our iiNet connection, we were up and running in just two minutes after the modem was out of the box.
We tested the unit with ADSL1 and ADSL2+ connections without any problems and found it to be a very reliable unit throughout our test period. It reported a connection speed of 23Mbps on our ADSL2+ line, which is a phenomenal result. It enabled us to achieve a peak download rate of 3.1MBps (which is actually 24.8Mbps) while simultaneously downloading large game demos and driver files from various local and overseas sites. This speed will definitely push the upper limits of the modem's wireless networking capability, especially if multiple users are logged on to the network simultaneously.
Dynalink uses the Broadcom BCM6348 chipset, with 16MB of RAM, which is what provides the ADSL, wireless networking and Ethernet functions of this modem. While simultaneously downloading from a peer-to-peer network to wired and wireless clients, and streaming data to a wireless client, the modem didn't get hot at all, thanks mainly to its roomy enclosure and vents, nor did we have any reliability problems.
Rather than employing the latest in networking technology, the Dynalink clings to established standards and lacks an implementation of the 802.11 draft-n protocol. So instead of being able to supply up to 300Mbps of wireless bandwidth, which would allow it to stream high-quality video to multiple sources, it only supports a wireless speed of 54Mbps and can stream only one high-quality video comfortably to a wireless client. It also doesn't have MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antennas, yet its single external antenna was still able to stream video capably between 24-27m in our tests. The signal was still usable for Web browsing up to around 30m.
Its 802.11g performance was reliable throughout our test period, without supplying blinding performance. At 10m away, and with double-brick walls and doors as obstacles to the signal, data transfers averaged only 2MBps. However, we were able to stream video to a Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000 while transferring data to one notebook and browsing the Web on another. Of course, the file transfer was considerably slower in this scenario (well under 1MBps). In a small office, however, the Dynalink should be able to distribute an ADSL2+ connection to a handful of users without any problems, but it would be handy if it had an easy-to-use QoS feature that could control the data rate to specific IP addresses. The QoS feature that is available in the router is cryptic to set-up. It doesn't allow for a specific amount of data to be throttled, but instead allows you to give broad low, medium and high priorities to traffic.
For voice, the Dynalink's built-in ATA can support up to two SIP accounts and two analogue phones. It'll auto-select one of four codecs to use, depending on the available bandwidth. It's fairly easy to set-up an account, as long as you have your proxy and account details to hand, and once we entered our details, it registered our MyNetFone account almost instantly.
While it doesn't have the latest in wireless networking, nor gigabit Ethernet, this is a reliable all-in-one ADSL2+ modem for the home or small office user. It's easy to set-up, for the most part, but there are some advanced features in its interface that might be hard to implement without first doing a lot of research.
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