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D-Link DGL-4300 Wireless 108G Gaming Router review: D-Link DGL-4300 Wireless 108G Gaming Router

It's not exactly cheap, but hardcore gamers who love networked gaming shouldn't hesistate to pick up D-Link's router built specifically for gaming.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read

The DGL-4300 is an all-black router that's suitable for use either lying flat or in a vertical position, and small rubber feet are provided in the box to allow you to set up the DGL-4300 in this fashion. As routers go, the all-black style with blue indicators is a reasonably classy look, but at the end of the day, it's still a router, and routers aren't really fashion accessories. Being a mixed wired/wireless router, you've got the option to hide it away in a cupboard if it particularly interferes with your interior decor.


D-Link DGL-4300 Wireless 108G Gaming Router

The Good

Excellent gaming-centric router. Simple setup. 4 Gigabit ports. Integrates popular games settings.

The Bad

A touch costly.

The Bottom Line

It's not exactly cheap, but hardcore gamers who love networked gaming shouldn't hesistate to pick up D-Link's router built specifically for gaming.

The DGL-4300 features what D-Link calls "Gamefuel", which is a fancy marketing term for some Quality of Service implementations that prioritise what the router identifies as gaming-related traffic. In theory, with the DGL-4300 in use you should get smoother gameplay experiences because the games traffic coming in and going out of your router has priority over other Internet applications such as Web browsing or file transfer. The DGL-4300 integrates the settings for popular games (and some P2P clients) directly into its firmware, so you don't even need to know the normal port settings -- you just select from the list (which will presumably be updated with future firmware updates), which at the time of writing stretched from Age Of Empires to Xbox Live.

On the wired side, the DGL-4300 features four Gigabit ethernet ports. These won't specifically increase your online gaming performance, but if you're into hosting local LAN contests it should ensure entirely lag-free contests. Wirelessly, it's an 802.11g standard router with D-Link's particular flavour of 108Mbps wireless connectivity which it labels as AirPlus XtremeG. If you've got XtremeG cards in your networked machines, it'll give you the increased throughput, otherwise it'll just work at 54Mbps. 802.11b is also supported, although if you're in the market for a specialised gaming router like the DGL-4300, you really should dump the aging 802.11b gear.

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One thing we found a little odd with the DGL-4300 is that by default the Gamefuel option is switched off, which more or less turns the DGL-4300 into an everyday router. It's simple enough to enable, either via the novice-friendly wizard or more advanced controls, which also let you set up specific rules for individual game titles, set yourself up as a virtual server and generally tweak the DGL-4300's settings to get the perfect gaming balance.

Wireless home routers are very well developed technology, so it wasn't suprising to see the DGL-4300 performing well wirelessly, especially if you do have other D-Link XtremeG adaptors. Gaming while doing other tasks, however, is where the DGL-4300 is meant to justify its extra dollars. Clearly there are other factors that can affect gaming performance that are out of your control, but from the home user side, the DGL-4300 certainly delivers, giving clearly lower latencies across network games on PC and console connections. It's a touch harder to judge on the console side, however, where clear latency can be felt in-game, but not easily quantified.

You can't get something for nothing, however, and by prioritising gaming packets, all other applications are likely to hit some speedbumps along the way. It'll largely depend on your particular networking situation as to whether this will be much of a problem.

It's worth noting that if you're the only user of your wireless connection and can stand to not be downloading or otherwise using network resources you could easily get similar performance from any ordinary router, although it would take some careful configuration steps. The beauty of the DGL-4300 is that it makes all that stuff easy to do, even for novices, and it's not often that you can use the word "easy" and "networking" in the same sentence, especially if you add "wireless" to the mix.