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D-Link DSL-2740B review: D-Link DSL-2740B

The 2740B amounts to a middle of the road effort from D-Link. It's not missing any features, but it doesn't do much above the norm either. New users will appreciate the helpful hints given throughout the interface, although power users will need to look elsewhere for raw wireless performance.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
4 min read

We've looked at D-Link's DSL-2740B before, although under a different testing regime. Since then the product has since been revised, not just in firmware, but now lacks external antennas, or indeed the ability to even add external antennas.

7.0

D-Link DSL-2740B

The Good

Helpful UI hints. Hardware switch to turn off wireless.

The Bad

Wireless performance isn't great.

The Bottom Line

The 2740B amounts to a middle of the road effort from D-Link. It's not missing any features, but it doesn't do much above the norm either. New users will appreciate the helpful hints given throughout the interface, although power users will need to look elsewhere for raw wireless performance.

It's still boxy, black and silver, and has useful default device settings printed on the bottom to ease your initial set-up process.

Straight out of the box, D-Link has placed a fluoro orange sticker across the Ethernet ports, claiming you should insert the included CD first and follow the set-up. This in itself is fine, but the sticker is a pain to get off, and leaves an annoying residue behind that will have you attempting to scratch it off for the next five minutes.

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Specs at a glance

Firmware tested AUS_4.15
ADSL2+ modem Yes
Annex M Yes
3G modem No
Wireless protocols 802.11b/g/n
Highest wireless security WPA2
WDS No
Ethernet ports 4x 100Mb
USB print sharing/storage No
Accessories Ethernet cable, phone cable, CD containing quick-start guide and manual

Connections

D-Link DSL-2740B rear

ADSL line, four 100Mb Ethernet ports, a hardware wireless on/off switch, reset button, power jack, power button. You can still see the remains of D-Link's "insert CD first" sticker it slaps over the Ethernet ports. (Credit: Alexandra Savvides/CBS Interactive)

UI and features

If you use the quick start guide provided on the CD, you might initially be a little confused. Apparently D-Link hasn't seen fit to update it to match the most recent hardware revision, as it still instructs the user to attach the three antennas to the back — something they might find difficult since they're no longer supplied.

Despite this you're then walked through a step-by-step guide in setting up the router, which is easy enough to follow. Those who've done all of this before can of course plug straight into the router with an Ethernet cable and configure as normal.

D-Link's interface is at first a little chaotic and daunting. Eventually you figure out the horizontal menus are sections, the vertical menus sub-sections, and you can mouse over different subsections to pop up yet more menus — although there's no indication of what can be expanded, it's all try-and-see. A site map link in the top right does help, but we can't help but wonder if a menu similar to the one offered by QNAP on its devices might be a little more friendly and thorough.

Unlike most router manufacturers, D-Link provides hints down the right-hand side of the interface to help the neophyte networker along the way. If what you want isn't there, you can click on a "More" link which explains the options more thoroughly, although vexingly you can't then go back to where you came from by pressing the back button on your browser — you have to navigate using the menu.

D-Link DSL-2740B UI

D-Link's interface is overwhelming at first. It does attempt to give limited help down the right-hand side though, but you'll have to click through for more detailed explanations, and the back button in the browser doesn't work in this instance. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Performance

After analysing the spectrum with InSSIDer, an empty channel of either 1, 6 or 11 is chosen for 2.4GHz wireless testing. The router is restricted to the 20MHz band and will only allow 802.11n clients. If possible, the MCS is set to 15.

We use iperf to determine throughput, running eight streams, with a TCP window size of 1MB, and an interval of one second. The test is run for five minutes in three different locations, on two separate occasions. The locations are in the same room as the router, one floor down around spiral stairs and with concrete walls and floors, and two floors down under the same conditions.

The wireless throughput is tested using three chipsets, the Atheros AR5008X, Ralink RT2870 and Intel 5100AGN, then all results are averaged.

2.4GHz throughput (in Mbps)

  • Billion BiPAC 7800N
  • Linksys WAG320N (2.4GHz)
  • Asus DSL-N13
  • D-Link DSL-2740B
  • Location one (same room, no obstructions) 69.2065.9765.1750.43
  • Location two (one floor down, some obstructions) 64.6354.3753.4349.00
  • Location three (two floors down, some obstructions) 38.2335.2729.7327.47

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Performance isn't necessarily bad, but as you can see from the graphs it's not the highest throughput wireless router we've tested.

ADSL performance is simply measured by the sync speed on an Internode ADSL2+ connection to the St Leonards exchange, on Internode's very high speed profile. If the connection remains stable over a period of time, the sync speed is recorded.

ADSL2+ sync speed (in Kbps)

  • Billion BiPAC 7800N
  • Linksys WAG320N (2.4GHz)
  • Asus DSL-N13
  • D-Link DSL-2740B
  • Uplink 1349134213461338
  • Downlink 22,30622,57921,92122,173

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Power consumption

We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

The wireless radio was turned on, and an iperf test begun for measurement, using one wireless client and one wired.

Juice Box
Transmitting 7W
Idle 7W

The D-Link was determined to pull 7W regardless of whether we were transmitting wireless or not — either way, it's not a huge power draw.

Warranty

D-Link covers the DSL-2740B for three years. Faulty units need to be returned with proof of purchase to North Ryde, near Sydney.

Conclusion

The 2740B amounts to a middle of the road effort from D-Link. It's not missing any features, but it doesn't do much out of the norm either. New users will appreciate the helpful hints given throughout the interface, although power users will need to look elsewhere for raw wireless performance.