Traditionally, choosing a laptop has been about compromise.
D-Link Australia DSL-2740B
- Connection speeds, Wireless range
- Optus doesn't yet support the chipset, Quick setup disc doesn't work
A fast wireless router and ADSL2+ modem, The D-Link DSL-2740B brought a smile to our faces in regard to its broadband speeds and wireless range
Price$ 379.95 (AUD)
If it's speed you're after -- be it wireless networking or ADSL2+ -- you'll want to take a look at this router/modem from D-Link. Outperforming all the other ADSL2+ modems tested by at least 6Mbps, and with blistering wireless speeds, it's safe to say that this is the fastest router/modem we've tested in quite some time.
We did have initial problems connecting our modem to the Internet -- the supplied setup disc wouldn't even recognise that the router was plugged in -- but once we manually set up the connection through the Web interface, we were amazed at the difference in download speeds between this and other ADSL2+ modems recently tested.
Average Internet download speeds of 18Mbps were gained whilst having our test notebook and the DSL-2740B located within three metres of each other, while dropping to around 5.4Mbps when located 15 metres away (with two walls separating the hardware). When wirelessly browsing the Internet, we had to literally walk outside the PC World office and across the road before losing our connection -- a distance of at least 30 metres!
Setting up a secure wireless connection (using AES) took about a minute, and most of that time was spent rebooting the router. Copying a 100MB file from one notebook to another gave us transfer speeds of 21Mbps when placed within three metres of the DSL-2740B. When we moved to another room, we were getting average transfer speeds of 18Mbps at a distance of around 10 metres, with two walls between the notebook and router.
Loading up our trusty streaming DivX video file, we were able to move 15 metres away from the router before the video began to stutter and freeze (again, with two walls separating the hardware). Audio files also played from this distance without problem. We could easily foresee this router being located anywhere in an average sized three bedroom house and still being able to stream multimedia or serve files at decent speeds to any other area of the place.
A built-in SPI firewall comes as standard (although not on by default), along with IP and URL filtering. Basic parental controls are also included, allowing time and day restrictions to Internet access. Creating a virtual server is easy to set up -- good for gamers or users wanting to set-up a Web server.
The Web interface is well laid out, and compared to some other router/modem interfaces we've seen, is relatively easy to navigate. There are no hidden dropdown menus, and all options are clearly displayed down the left-hand side of the Web page.
Now for the bad news, particularly if you're an Optus customer. The DSL-2740B uses a Broadcom chipset that is currently incompatible with Optus DSLAMs. Trying to connect will result in the D-Link locking up your Optus DSLAM port, requiring a phone call to Optus tech support to rectify. This can be temporarily fixed by going into the DSL-2740B Web interface and disabling ADSL2+ from the connection options, allowing you to connect via ADSL only.
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