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Like most notebook adapters, installing the DWA-645 is a simple task. The included quick install guide cautions against inserting the card without first installing the drivers from the included CD. The installation wizard walks you through the process of connecting to a wireless network and configuring security settings. The quick install guide also gives a basic overview of Windows XP's wireless utility, including how to turn it off, should you opt to use D-Link's utility.
There's not a lot to be said about the design of notebook adapters. The DWA-645 is typical in that the part that sticks out of the card slot is thick, black plastic and houses two small LEDs, one to indicate a connection and the other to indicate activity.
We tested the D-Link DWA-645 in conjunction with its companion router, the DIR-635. In the maximum throughput test (at 10 feet), the duo lagged behind its draft N competition, scoring only 68.1Mbps. In the mixed-mode (at 10 feet) and long-range tests, though, they bested the others with respective scores of 58.82Mbps and 41.04Mbps. Despite coming out on top, these numbers fell far short of the performance promised by the 802.11n spec of about 200Mbps maximum throughput at short range. (200Mbps is the estimated real-world throughput; the theoretical max throughput for 802.11n is about 540Mbps.) Independent analyses have borne this out and industry analysts are cautioning consumers against jumping into the 11n fray just yet.
D-Link backs the DWA-645 notebook adapter with a standard one-year warranty, short of Linksys's three-year policy and Belkin's incomparable lifetime support. Still, phone support is available 24/7, or you can contact tech support via an online form. If the 90-page manual doesn't give you the answer you're looking for, D-Link's site has FAQs, downloadable drivers, and installation guides.