SharePort does have a big drawback, however: only one PC can access one USB device plugged into the router at a time. So, if one person is using a printer that's plugged into the router, others won't have access to it until it is released by the first user by means of the SharePort Network USB software. This makes SharePort a little less appealing than a traditional print-serving feature that would allow the printer to be accessed by multiple computers at a time.
We tried the SharePort USB port with multiple devices, including external hard drives, cameras, and printers, and it worked as intended. If you want to use this port to host a hard drive or a printer to share with other computers, it is possible. All you have to do is share the USB device via the one computer that has control over it, the same way you would share a folder or a printer that's plugged directly into that computer. This seems to be a workaround to spare you from having to install SharePort Utility software on multiple computers. However, this also means the host computer has to be powered on for the USB device to be available to the rest of the network.
Like other D-Link routers, the DHP-1320 offers numerous networking features. You can set up manual port forwarding--mapping information coming to certain ports to a certain computer in the network--or use the router's preset settings for different applications and services such as instant-messaging software, BitTorrent, IP phone software, virtual servers, and so on.
It offers a comprehensive set of parental control tools including Network Filter, Access Control, Web Site Filter, and Inbound Control. These tools allow you to control the network and limit access to the Internet according to specific criteria; for example, you can prevent a particular computer from accessing adult Web sites, or you can only allow it to run IM programs during certain periods of time only. The router also has an easily customizable QoS feature with which you can prioritize your Internet and network traffic for different services.
Unlike other D-Link routers, the DHP-1320 doesn't offer a guest networking feature that would let you create a separate wireless network to be used by guests or the public. Instead it has built-in support for IP6, a new IP standard intended to replace the existing IP4, which is bound to run out of addresses. Most existing routers can offer support for IP6 via a firmware update.
The D-Link DHP-1320 PowerLine Router performed well in our testing both as a wireless router and as a power-line device.
As a power-line device, the DHP-1320 was the second fastest among HomePlug AV devices we've tested, scoring 45.8Mbps, slower than 56.2Mbps of the Netgear XAVNB2001. Note that on the chart the Trendnet TPL-401E2K was the fastest, but it was the only device that supports the faster 500Mbps power-line standard. The rest only support the 200Mbps HomePlug AV standard.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
As a wireless router, the DHP-1320 came in second at 66.5Mbps in our close-range test, bested by only the Cisco Linksys E2000, which scored 74.2Mbps. At this speed, the DHP-1320 can finish transmitting 500MB of data in just about a minute.
The router did much worse in the range test, when it was set to be 100 feet away from the clients, registering only 24.1Mbps, which is about average among 2.4GHz Wireless-N routers. In the mixed-mode test, when it was set to work with both Wireless-N and legacy clients at the same time, it scored 58Mbps, which was again the second-best on our chart.
The DHP-1320 passed our 48-hour stress test, during which it didn't disconnect once. The router also has very long range, up to 300 feet in our testing environment. However, we noticed that its throughput reduced significantly with range. This means that at distances of 75 feet and beyond the router should be used only for mild Internet surfing.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
D-Link backs the DHP-1320 Wireless N PowerLine Router with a one-year warranty, which is standard for most home routers. At the company's Web site, you will find a wealth of support information including downloads, FAQs, and a searchable knowledge base. You can also seek help through the company's toll-free technical support phone line, which is available 24-7.
With built-in support for power-line technology, the DHP-1320 makes a good wireless router for large homes where a wireless signal can't penetrate every corner. However, the router's lack of high-end features, including dual-band, Gigabit Ethernet, and support for the 500Mbps power-line standard, makes it unsuitable for savvy users or high-demand environments.