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D-D-Link DI 714 Ethernet review:

D-D-Link DI 714 Ethernet

MSRP: $229.99
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The Good Easy installation; great feature set.

The Bad Moderate wireless performance; only satisfactory tech support.

The Bottom Line If you want to share broadband Internet access, the DI-714 wireless router provides one of the best solutions we've seen for SOHO hybrid wireless-Ethernet networks.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.0 Overall

With the D-Link DI-714 wireless broadband router, the question is not so much "Where do you want to go to today?" as "How do you want to go?" With a wireless access point, a Fast Ethernet switch, and connections for broadband and dial-up modems bundled with a fairly full-featured router, the D-Link will let you talk with just about everything but Ouija boards. This is as close to an all-in-one solution for small-office and home networks as you'll currently find. With the D-Link DI-714 wireless broadband router, the question is not so much "Where do you want to go to today?" as "How do you want to go?" With a wireless access point, a Fast Ethernet switch, and connections for broadband and dial-up modems bundled with a fairly full-featured router, the D-Link will let you talk with just about everything but Ouija boards. This is as close to an all-in-one solution for small-office and home networks as you'll currently find.

It's all in there
The $299 DI-714 wireless router comes with everything you need to get started. In addition to the router, the box holds a power adapter, a CAT-5 cable, a 62-page printed user manual, a quick-install guide, and a CD-ROM with installation videos. The router's gray, low-profile case sports front status LEDs for wireless, broadband, and Ethernet connections. The backside offers four Ethernet (plus uplink) and broadband ports, an RS-232 port so that you can attach a dial-up modem for backup Internet access, and a recessed Reset button. The DI-714 wireless router supports the 802.11b standard and can communicate over radio waves with other wireless clients at speeds up to 11Mbps within a claimed range of 300 feet indoors and 900 feet outdoors. Of course, your range will vary depending on the number of walls, ceilings, and other objects present in your home or office.

Just a few clicks away
Installation of the DI-714 wireless router is exceptionally easy. You shouldn't have to refer to anything but the very clear, eight-page, quick-install guide, which walks you through the physical installation: attaching the power adapter and plugging your broadband modem and Ethernet-equipped PC into the appropriate ports on the back of the router. The software installation is also covered in the guide, from using the DI-714 wireless router's DHCP application to setting your PC adapter's TCP/IP properties to logging on to the D-Link start-up page online to configure the router.

Good performance with peace of mind
The DI-714 wireless router holds its own in Ethernet performance, recording 92.3Mbps throughput on CNET Labs' tests. Wireless test results were less impressive, with the DI-714 managing 3.5Mbps, or about 17 percent less than comparable routers. Range, however, was superior, with the DI-714 maintaining peak 11Mbps transmission speeds with few dropped bits from several rooms away indoors and far enough for a good walk up the block when outdoors. It worked with other 802.11b equipment without a hitch.

The DI-714 wireless router offers solid security features, as well. It has a built-in NAT firewall and uses stateful packet inspection, which masks your network's IP addresses and keeps out intruders. The DI-714 wireless router also adds another level of security by blocking outgoing ports not required for gameplay or other applications. WEP protects against wireless intrusion. Support for VPN (virtual private networking), DMZ (demilitarized zone) settings, and routing protocols round out the feature set.

Can't get no satisfaction
Although D-Link offers decent support, it does require a little extra effort on the part of the consumer. For example, the DI-714 wireless router comes with a one-year warranty, but to activate it, you must send in the registration card within 90 days of the purchase date. If you don't, the warranty covers a mere 90 days. Technical support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, but it's a toll call. It will also take some persistence to navigate through the automated switchboard, but the human we eventually spoke to was knowledgeable and courteous. The D-Link Web site offers useful resources such as manuals, firmware updates, and FAQs.

With its combination of effortless installation and a full set of features, D-Link has set the bar high for anyone wishing to compete in the wireless-broadband router space. Wherever you want to go from your network, the DI-714 wireless router will get you there with aplomb.

Throughput tests
Measured in Mbps (longer bars indicate better performance)
Chariot Ethernet   
Chariot 802.11b   
Linksys EtherFast wireless AP and cable/DSL router with four-port switch
92.5 
4.2 
D-Link DI-714 wireless broadband router with 4-port switch
92.3 
3.5 
Proxim Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway
80.7 
4.4 
 
Response time
Measured in milliseconds (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Chariot Ethernet   
Chariot 802.11b   
Linksys EtherFast wireless AP and cable/DSL router with four-port switch
1 
9.6 
D-Link DI-714 wireless broadband router with 4-port switch
0.9 
11 
Proxim Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway
1.1 
10 
 
How we tested
For practical throughput tests, CNET Labs uses NetIQ's Chariot software as our benchmark. For our wireless testing, the clients and routers are set up to transmit at short ranges and 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.

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