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You are here: Wireless Wireless Reviews Smashed Mash-up: D-Link DIR-685 Reviewed

Smashed Mash-up: D-Link DIR-685 Reviewed

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DIR-685 Xtreme N Storage Router

At a Glance
Product D-Link Xtreme N Storage Router (DIR-685)
Summary 2.4 GHz Draft 11n router with slow built-in NAS, too-small front panel LCD photo display and very noisy little fan.
Pros • Gigabit WAN and LAN w/ jumbo frame support
• Wire-speed Gigabit routing
• Wireless Guest zone
• NAS performs better and has more features than other router NASes
Cons • Fan screams like a banshee
• Screen too small
• FrameChannel won't work behind another router
• Membrane switch failed on review sample

It’s not uncommon to find networking manufacturers adding unique features to their products in an effort to stand out from the crowd. The Linksys by Cisco WRT160NL, Belkin’s N+ as well as D-Link’s DIR-825 all include USB ports to convert an attached USB drive to networked storage. And Belkin created a bit of buzz when it introduced its N1 Vision almost two years ago with its front panel display.

So in its search for buzz and differentiation, D-Link has mashed together a single-band draft 802.11n router, BYOD NAS and Internet-connected digital photo frame into a small desktop package designed to make only a small footprint on your desktop. Unfortunately, some poor design decisions result in a product that we definitely recommend you take a pass on.

The 685 sits vertically in a weighted metal base and has a total depth that’s just slightly over 2.5”. The top tilts slightly towards the rear to provide a better viewing angle and to reduce glare on the screen.

Figure 1 shows the front panel. The four way touch pad with a center “select” button is used to navigate through the menus, which include six top level functions:  Statistics; Status; WPS; Settings; Photos; and Frame Channel.

Front panel

Figure 1: Front panel

The Status menu provides information about what’s going on inside your DIR-685. You can see LAN, WAN and WLAN status, status of the internal hard drive (if you’ve installed one), and general router information. Figure 2 shows general router status. Note that in the lower left corner the “Internet On” status shows that the 685 has a live internet connection.

DIR-685 General Router Information

Figure 2: DIR-685 General Router Information displayed on the built-in LCD display

Figure 3 shows status of the internal 2.5" SATA hard drive that is up to you to buy and install.

Hard Disk Status

Figure 3: Hard Disk Status of the 2.5” SATA drive installed in the DIR-685

Figure 4 shows the rear panel of the DIR-685 with four switched Gigabit LAN ports and Gigabit Internet port, all of which are auto MDI/MDIX. Two USB ports allow you to add additional storage or connect to devices such as printers and scanners for the SharePort feature (more later). The Eject Button allows you to remove the drive (if installed). D-Link warns that you should dismount the drive by pressing the dismount button located below the drive door before ejecting the drive.

Hardware Overview - Rear Panel

Figure 4: Hardware Overview – Rear Panel

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User reviews

Average user rating from: 2 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

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2.8 Features :
4.0 Performance :
2.5 Reliability :
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Firmware Upgrade for DIR-655

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Tim Hamm
August 18, 2010
Report this review

I read your article on the firmware upgrade for the DIR-655 so I thought I would check to see what firmware version I was running. Come to find out that it is in fact version 1.21 so I did a check for an upgrade and the software came back with no further upgrade. The latest version is 1.21 from 2008/10/09. It appears you have installed the wrong firmware upgrade which would explain why you are experiencing a "dramatic stability decline."


DIR-685 disappoints !!

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by os2buddy
April 05, 2010
Report this review

My current home network (until the Easter week-end) consisted of CAT6 cabling from
various rooms, coming together in a "starpology" manner in the basement/crawl space.

I used 2 x DGS-2208 switches to accept all the cabling, including one from a DNS-323,
and hooked it up to a DIR-655 router, that was in turn hooked up to a Motorola SB5102
cable modem. Although all cabled connectivity was working pretty good, the wireless
signal was weakish, since the modem, router, switches and NAS was sitting in
the basement / crawl space, at the communications panel.

So, after reading Tim's review of the DIR-685 that announced blazing hot
LAN routing speeds, my thinking was this:

1. Get a DIR-685 to serve as main router and NAS backup, with no wireless function.
2. Consolidate the 2 x DGS-2208 switches with a DGS-1024D switch.
3. Move the DIR-655 upstairs and use as an AP for wireless connectivity.

So, with my next trip to the US (I'm in Canada), I picked up a DIR-685, a 640G notebook
drive and the DGS-1024D switch.

I hooked it all up as follows:

1. ISP feeds into Motorola SB5102 cable modem.
2. The modem feeds the DIR-685 router, with wireless function NOT active
on the DIR-685.
3. The DIR685, the DNS-323 and all other ports feed centrally into the DGS-1024D
4. The DIR-655 was hooked up as an AP device upstairs, just like all the other stuff
such as iMacs, MFC,s laptops etc.

Testing the setup, the DIR-685 was a major disappointment. It took long to obtain
a connection with the modem. Once connected, connectivity with the outside
world was sporadic ...... when it was up, it was fast. However, most of the time
it was non-responsive ......... even though it was connected, pings of the gateway
and DNS servers timed out, most of the time. It was unworkable. BTW, the connection
settings on the DIR-685 was identical to the DIR-655's.

I got the impression that there was a problem with the handshake protocol between
the DIR-685 and the Motorola SB5102 modem.

I had to fall back to the DIR-655. So I simply switched the DIR-655 and DIR-685
around, and it works OK.

Point is this: Instead of paying big bucks for a useless DIR-685, I could have simply
spent the money better on a better NAS and cheaper AP.

One last note: Since upgrading the DIR-655 from firmware 1.21 to 1.32, it has suffered
a dramatic stability decline. On 1.21, I never re-booted the router for months ...... now
the DIR-655 has to be re-cycled at least once a week (when it becomes MUTE).
I won't even bother to comment on the DNS-323's latest firmware ........... suffice to
say that it is just as crappy.

This was my last D-Link purchase .......... I'll turn to Cisco / Linksys or Netgear for future

Have a great day !!


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