This review appears in the December 06 issue of PC Advisor – available from 19 October – as part of our definitive guide to wireless networking.
This is a draft-N Wi-Fi router based on the Atheros XSPAN AR5008 chipset. As routers go, its specification wants for very little. It's a fairly standard four-port router, with an SPI firewall and support for WEP, WPA, WPA2 and ADSL2. And it's a Mimo device, so it has a trio of antennae at the rear. Interestingly, it has a USB port that can be used to configure security settings using Windows Connect Now.
It's not quite as easy to set up as the others we looked at, though. A default IP clash with our ADSL connection meant we had to manually adjust the settings. We could have avoided this if we'd used the supplied setup wizard. Certainly, D-Link has made great strides with the web configuration interface, which is now a lot better, although not quite as slick as the Netgear or Linksys. That said, you still have to reboot the router to save any changes.
You have a remarkable amount of control over the router. For example, you can tweak the QoS (quality of service) settings to optimise your streaming rates. Top marks, too, for forcing you to change the default password to access the router management. When it came to performance, the selling point of draft-N, this product was a disappointment. In our close test, QCheck revealed it delivering a peak data transfer rate of 30Mbps, which dropped to a poor 22Mbps when we moved to the other end of the house, speeds that were bettered by the Linksys and the Netgear draft-N offerings.