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Looking for the most powerful (and DIY-friendly) router for your home? Linksys' latest...
Unveiled at CES 2012, the D-Link DIR-605L Cloud Router is the first cloud-based wireless router I've reviewed. While Cisco released its app-enabled Linksys EA series a while ago, the cloud features of these routers are not available until later this year. That said, the DIR-605L's new feature, which allows users to manage their home network no matter where they are, proved to be a great extra in my trials.
Other than that, the new router is a dead-simple single-band wireless-N router that operates in the 2.4Ghz frequency. It has no other bells and whistles, lacking Gigabit Ethernet, USB ports, IPv6 support, and even guest networking, which is a feature available in almost all D-link's routers I've seen since 2009.
The new DIR-605L more than makes up for its spartan packaging, though, by offering decent performance and very stable wireless signal. On top of that, you shouldn't expect much from a networking device that's priced at just around $40. And for those who don't need a high-end wireless network, the DIR-605L is worth every penny.
Design and ease of use
The DIR-605L is tiny and yet quite bulky at the same time. That's because while the router itself is small, fitting right on a large hand, its two non-detachable antennae, which stick up from the back, are oversize, making the whole package a little disproportionate. Since all of the router's ports (including four LAN ports and one WAN port) as well as the power port are also on the same side as the antennae, you'll find the back of the router quite crowded to work with.
On the front, the router has the usual array of tiny LEDs that show the status of the port on the back as well as the Internet and wireless connections. On one side, there's a WPS button for quickly hooking up clients using Wi-Fi Protected Setup. The router comes with four rubber feet to keep it steady on a surface. Since the router is very light, it's a little hard for it to stay put, especially when there are multiple cables connected to it. The DIR-605L is not wall-mountable.
The DIR-605L doesn't come with setup software, but it's very easy to get it up and running anyway. All you have to do is plug it in the power, connect the router to an internet source, such as a broadband modem, via its WAN port, and connect a computer to one of its WAN port. After that, from the connected computer, point a browser, such as Firefox, to its default IP address, which is 192.168.0.1 and you'll be greeted with its Easy Setup page. Here you can change the router's wireless network, set the encryption key and so on. You can also use this page to create a mydlink account and associate the router with it. If you want to access other features of the router, click on the Manual Setup button at the bottom of the page and you'll find the common Web interface, similar to that of other D-link routers.
D-Link's mydlink portal is a free service that allows users to manage D-Link's Webcam. Starting with the DIR-605L, this portal is now also used to manage supported routers.
Once you have associated the router with a mydlink account, the router now becomes a cloud-based router.