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It's all in there
The $150 DI-614+ offers a lot for the price. The unit sports four Ethernet ports and one WAN port for connecting a cable/DSL modem or an existing wired network. The device comes complete with a six-foot Ethernet cable, an AC adapter, and gray, snap-in rubber feet that let you position the router vertically or horizontally. Unfortunately, the unit ships without any wall-mounting hardware. An illustrated Quick Installation Guide clearly explains how to set up the router, and the included CD contains a thorough, 71-page electronic manual with step-by-step help for networking printers. Additionally, the product's two antennae rotate 360 degrees.
The easy-to-use, Web-based setup wizard holds the user's hand through configuration of the router. After you add the type of IP connection (static, dynamic, or PPPoE), the SSID info, and the WEP encryption level, the router restarts and does the rest. Like other products, the DI-614+ comes with WEP security turned off, with an SSID of default, and with DHCP activated; we suggest you immediately change these parameters to more secure ones.
The Advanced screen of the Configuration Utility offers a host of security options. For example, you can create a virtual server for remote operations; restrict network access using MAC addresses; filter or block specific domains, URLs, or keywords such as XXX or sex; and set firewall rules for allowing or denying entry to your network. The DI-614+ also supports ultrasecure 256-bit WEP encryption, although you'll need D-Link hardware to take advantage of it.
As an added bonus, D-Link incorporates Zero-Knowledge Systems' Freedom tools, including Ad Blocker, Keyword Alert, Cookie Manager, Secure Form Filler, and Secure Password Manager. You also can subscribe to the company's entire Freedom security suite for an introductory rate of $49.95.
In CNET Labs' tests, the DI-614+ performed very well overall. It peaked at a strong 4.8Mbps in standard mode, trailing the Belkin wireless cable/DSL gateway router and the SMC Barricade wireless broadband router by just 100Kbps. In its proprietary, 22Mbps mode, bandwidth jumped to 6.3Mbps. However, you have to use a D-Link AirPlus DWL-650+ wireless CardBus adapter or AirPlus DWL-520+ wireless PCI adapter for the scheme to work. In wired mode, it sent data at 91.5Mbps--the leader in its class. Despite being able to pump the bits, however, the DI-614+ had a shorter range than a typical Wi-Fi router in hands-on testing.
D-Link's service and support package for the AirPlus DI-614+ is better than most. It includes an impressive three-year warranty--with two caveats. First, you must register within 90 days of purchase to activate it. More disappointing, the coverage ignores the all-important AC adapter and cooling fan. If you do encounter problems, the company offers toll-free, 24/7 phone support for the life of the product, as well as manuals, FAQs, and a series of useful training guides via its Web site.
All told, the D-Link AirPlus DI-614+ offers an innovative design, airtight security, features galore, and excellent performance. It'd be a shoo-in for both home and office use if its range and warranty didn't fall short; but if you can tolerate or work around these flaws, it's otherwise a strong product.
--By Brian Nadel
Measured in Mbps (longer bars indicate better performance)
Measured in milliseconds (shorter bars indicate better performance)
|How we tested|
For practical-throughput tests, CNET Labs uses NetIQ's Chariot software as its benchmark. For wireless testing, the clients and access points are set up to transmit at short ranges and at maximum signal strength. CNET Labs' response-time tests are also run with Chariot software using the TCP protocol. Response time measures how long it takes to send a request and receive a response over a network connection. Throughput and response time are probably the two most important indicators of user experience over a network.