Other than that, the DIR-657 offers numerous networking features found in other Wireless-N routers from D-Link, and a very well-organized Web interface. You can set up manual port forwarding--where you map information coming to certain port to a certain computer in the network--or use the router's preset settings for different applications and services such as instant-messaging programs, BitTorrent, IP phone software, virtual servers, and so on.
The router also has easily customizable QoS features that help you prioritize your Internet and network traffic for different services. Like other new high-end routers from D-Link, the DIR-657 comes with an interesting and useful feature called Guest Zone, which lets you create a separate wireless network to be used by guests or the public. Any wireless client connected to a guest network gets access to the Internet but not your local LAN resources.
For security, the router supports all variations of WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption methods. Note, however, that using WEP will cap the wireless speed to just 54Mbps and reduce the security of the network.
The DIR-657's performance didn't wow us but didn't disappoint us either. In a close-range throughput test it scored 60Mbps, faster than the 50.6Mbps of the DIR-655, and was among the top five on our charts. At this speed the router can finish transmitting 500MB of data in about 67 seconds.
In the long-range test when the router was put 100 feet away from the client, its speed reduced to 39.2Mbps, still faster than the DIR-655, and was in the top four.
In the final mixed-mode test, when the router was set to work with both Wireless-N and legacy clients at close range, it offered 43.2Mbps, landing right in the middle of the charts.
The router's range was comparatively short at just around 200 feet in our testing facility, and it's best used within 100 feet or less. To make up for this, it offered great signal stability and passed our 48-hour stress test without any hiccups.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
D-Link backs the DIR-657 with a one-year warranty, which is short, but 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 knowledgebase. You can also seek help through the company's toll-free technical support phone line, available 24-7.
We like the D-Link HD Media Router 1000's new features and design but wish it were faster, offered longer range, and supported dual-band. In its current state, it still makes a very good buy for home users.