There are a lot of Draft N wireless routers hitting the market at the moment. Also, there are a lot of people that are wondering what the heck Draft N is. Well, readers It is simply faster than a normal wireless router. And D-Link has one it thinks you should buy.
However unless you have an extremely fast internet connection, you will only need high-speed wireless to transfer files between computers or to stream HD content from you home server to your media center box connected to your telly.
The D-Link DIR-655 wireless router promises speeds 14 times faster than 802.11g with six times the range. Add to this four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back and this gives you serious amounts of bandwidth for your home network.
Not only that, the mostly white design of the box itself means that it should just about coordinate with your living room, hallway or just about anywhere you set this baby up! And measuring 4.6″ by 7.6″ by 1.2″ it won’t take up too much space (but it is bigger than our Netgear router – which is slightly nicer looking).
Setting up is very easy and once it was fired up, it was a simple case of joining the router’s default wireless network and typing in its IP address to get to the configuration screen to set up the internet connection as well as making sure the router is secure. It supports 64/128-bit WEP as well as WPA and WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Inside sports a firewall with Network Address Translation (NAT), Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) and VPN Pass-through / Multi-sessions PPTP / L2TP / IPSec.
Also, the router had no problem with us using Firefox to look at admin console. Or indeed using a Mac to set it up! The web interface is certainly improved over previous D-Link routers and can now give the likes of Netgear a run for its money.
The box has three antennae on the back to make sure that coverage and speed is up to par. In fact we took our test laptop to the bottom of the garden (near our compost bin – we are environmentally friendly!) and the speed of file transfer weren’t too shabby. As our internet connection isn’t the fastest one on the block the wireless connection between the router and the laptop did not show any difference to the speed at which we could download pages from the internet.
There is also Quality of Service (QoS) on the router which means it will give priority to applications that need it (such as video or internet telephony). We were not able to test this functionality.
On the back of the router is a USB 2.0 port where you can stick a USB flash drive in to speed up the configuration with Windows Connect Now. This used to require XP SP2, but seeing as the router DIR-655 is labelled with a “Works with Window Vista” logo we can assume that XP SP2 or later works with the device. Shame it didn’t seem to want to know about sticking a USB printer or external hard drive in the back, now that would have been really handy!
Overall a much better effort than previous D-Link routers. However, some may want to wait until 802.11n has been approved, just in case things change.
We managed to find one of these here for £99.55 inc VAT.