Starting with this review, I am now using a standard test client for all wireless LAN testing, instead of using a "manufacturer-recommended" client with each router. I am doing this because:
- Most people go shopping for routers, not clients
- Many people don't buy "matched" clients to go with their routers, especially since most notebooks come with built-in wireless adapters
- Using different clients introduced another variable into the performance equation
After a search that included the criteria described in A Good Draft 11n Client is Hard To Find, and input from a helpful reader, I settled on the Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe card as the new SNB standard wireless test client. Unlike Intel's 4965AGN mini PCIe draft 802.11n adapter, the 5300 allows 40 MHz channel operation in 2.4 GHz (although it is disabled by default). It also meets the other selection criteria including dual-band and WPS support.
It turns out that it also has a feature that wasn't on my original selection list: three stream operation. So when the 450 Mbps routers introduced by D-Link and TRENDnet at this year's CES ship later this year, I'll be ready for them.
The router had 1.21 firmware and I left all factory default settings in place, except for setting Channel 1. On the Intel client side, I left all defaults in place except for enabling throughput enhancement (packet bursting). This article describes the entire wireless test setup.
Figure 5 shows the summary of up and downlink tests in all six test locations and with the default 20 MHz and "Auto" (40 MHz) channel bandwidth modes.
Figure 5: Six location wireless throughput summary
The good news is that the 655 reached all six locations, including my notoriously-difficult locations E and F. But the Intel client could have played an important part in this performance, which is one of the reasons that I have switched to a standard test client. Throughput in those locations, however, tended toward the barely-usable, measuring just under 3 Mbps best-case.
The highest throughput was 100 Mbps, measured running uplink with a 40 MHz channel bandwidth. This is a significant boost from the 62 Mbps running uplink with a 20 MHz channel. Best case downlink was 83 Mbps, again with a 40 MHz channel.
Figure 6 shows the summary plot of IxChariot tests for downlink tests with a 20 MHz channel width. We once again see the high throughput variation that seems to be baked into the draft 802.11n cake.
Figure 6: Wireless throughput summary - downlink, 20 MHz channel
Figure 7 shows the uplink summary for 20 MHz channel width, where variation seems a bit lower.
Figure 7: Wireless throughput summary - uplink, 20 MHz channel
There was a bit of a surprise checking the wireless security mode throughput, with slightly over 30% reduction running downlink with WPA2/AES (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Wireless security throughput - downlink, 20 MHz channel
The uplink test (Figure 9), however, showed no loss when using WPA2/AES. Both directions show the usual drop to 802.11g speeds when using either WEP or WPA/TKIP security.
Figure 9: Wireless security throughput - uplink, 20 MHz channel
I'm still building up my database of wireless performance using the six location open air tests. And I don't have open air results for the original DIR-655. So I picked the D-Link dual-band DIR-825 and Belkin N+ to run a Wireless Chart comparison.
Figure 10: Wireless comparison - downlink, 20 MHz channel
Once again, none of the products is the consistent winner in each test location. Although the combination of DIR-655 A4 and the Intel 5300 client was the only one to go the distance, literally, in all six locations, up and downlink. You'll find similar results for the 40 MHz channel bandwidth tests. Just hit the Wireless Charts and see for yourself.
Figure 11: Wireless comparison - uplink, 20 MHz channel
The upshot of all this is that the DIR-655 A4 looks like it hasn't sacrificed performance with its cost-reduced design that enables a street price of around $100 and D-Link to presumably still make money. Its good wireless performance, stable operation, gigabit switch, high routing throughput and automatic uplink QoS continue to make it the go-to draft 802.11n router.
Average user rating from: 5 user(s)
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|User Rating [Back to Top]||Overall:||4.3||Features :||4.6||Performance :||4.4||Reliability :||4.0|
great router. just wish it had l.e.d (on/off) control
December 17, 2011
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i bought this router over 3 years ago and is still going strong. i haven't updated the f/w past 1.33. all around great router both speed and coverage for the wireless are excellent. for the last 2 years i've had it in my room. the l.e.d lights are to bright, so i cover it with my sweater at nights
lol. in the mornings it's when i uncover it, it's like bread just taken out of the oven. lol i know that's probably the dumbest thing ever but just goes to show what a crazy router this is. it just keeps on going and going.
May 16, 2011
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No issues. Works great. N range is great through walls and works well with all my devices. Gigabit is great too. I like the USB storage option, just wish I didn't have to install software to use it.
December 02, 2010
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It is my 3rd DIR-655 that I bought.
1st one worked perfectly after I changed all my wireless clients to DLINK X-TREME N stuff (frequent connection drops before). Had to disable most features to get a little stability with wireless activated (no qos, etc.).
Died on me when I upgraded to latest firmware.. worked for 1 week nicely with the new version, then after I had to change the IP range for local network, wouldn't work anymore (no interface, no connection in any port, no reset possible - reset switch didn't work anymore regardless of how/how long I pressed it).
Second one is still working, has to be restarted once in a while when internet connection becomes slow and unstable. It has only 2 PCs and a WII linked to it.
Third one is the worst... Has to be rebooted at least every week, if not more than that. It is linked to dlink stuff all the way (ethernet cards, gigabit switches, dlink nas, DAP, etc.), so this should help.. but no! It becomes very unstable, limited to no internet connection on all PCs and laptops... very frustrating! No feature is enabled in the router (no wireless, no qos, no schedule, etc.).
After investing in all DLINK stuff all over the house, I am changing for another brand for sure. Tired of having to battle for stability.
Good luck with this product :-)
Works quite well, lots of features, not one single problem with this router.
October 03, 2010
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Works quite well, lots of features, not one single problem with this router. I've been using it about a month with Linux. I've always used D-Link routers and found this one exceptional especially for the fair price. Also works quite well with Roku wireless unit. Roku.com
Very Good Wireless...
September 12, 2010
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I've been using this router for more than a year and I just was not satisfied with it as a router. It required a reboot every so often to allow it to reestablish a working connection to the internet. I totally believe that these problems were strictly firmware related and that the hardware is very solid.
For the last 1/2 year or so I've been using this same box not as a router but strictly as a wireless AP in a different installation and it's been VERY solid. I just disabled many of the "router" features and hooked it up to the network. Wireless range is exceptionally good in it's present location and that's in a large about 3500sq/ft older home with plaster walls etc. It's centrally located and it has no trouble covering the entire house with good strong usable wifi.
With the DIR-655 D-Link has a solid product and if they could just get their act together with the firmware it would be great. In my opinion they are just trying to do too much with the Shareport etc.
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