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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

Updated 8/10/2010: Added link to six location wireless test article

TD-Link DIR-665 Xtreme N 450 Gigabit Router

D-Link has decided to jump in and finally ship a three-stream ("450 Mbps") router. I wish they had chosen a different product number, though, because I can't tell you how many times I've typed 655 when I meant 665. I wasn't really impressed with TRENDnet's TEW-691GR, which uses a Ralink three-stream N chipset. So let's see if D-Link has done any better by opting for Marvell's three-stream N technology.

The Hardware

The 665 looks like most of D-Link's other N routers with its white plastic enclosure. You'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a DIR-655, because it looks almost identical. The key difference is that the three upgradeable (RP-SMA connector) dipole antennas are dual band, so they are a bit thicker than the 655's single band dipoles.

The rear view in Figure 1 shows the three antennas, single WAN and four switched LAN ports, Shareport USB port, power jack and reset button. There's also a WPS pushbotton on the right side panel. All Ethernet ports are 10/100/1000 and passed 4K jumbo frames just fine and are probably good up to 9K, Note that D-Link doesn't spec jumbo frame support, however.

D-Link DIR-665 rear view

Figure 1: D-Link DIR-665 rear view

Figure 2 shows one of the FCC ID photos (FCC ID KA2DIR665A1) with the main board stripped of the ceramic heatsinks on the CPU and switch and the mini-PCIe radio module. The CPU is the venerable Marvell 88F6281 "Kirkwood" Sheeva SoC found in the majority of lower-cost NASes shipping today. The 1 GHz version is employed in the 665, a step down from the 1.2 GHz top-of-line version.

 

D-Link DIR-665 main board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: D-Link DIR-665 board

The Gigabit switch is also a Marvell88E6171R—and handles the single WAN port, too. 128 MB of DDRII RAM is on the top of the board, but I didn't uncouple the board from the case bottom to get a gander at the flash device affixed on the bottom of the board.

The full-height mini-PCIe module gets its own closeup in Figure 3. You can see the Marvell 88W8366 Integrated MAC/Baseband MIMO SoC clearly, but not the larger device partially obscured by the RF shield. But since the 88W8366's data sheet says it is "designed to work seamlessly with the Marvell 88W8063 MIMO Radio Frequency (RF) transceiver", I think it's a safe bet that that's the larger device.

D-Link DIR-665 radio board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: D-Link DIR-665 radio board

If this design looks familiar, that's because it's very similar to what Apple uses in its current generation of the Airport Extreme Simultaneous Dual-Band Router. The main differences (aside from antenna system and two radios) are that the Airport Extreme uses a 1.2 GHz Kirkwood CPU and 88E6350R Gigabit switch. And, oh yeah, Apple hasn't yet enabled three-stream N rate support.

Wireless Features

The 665 doesn't stray far from D-Link's usual wireless router feature set. All the usual suspects are there for wired routing features. I'll just breeze through the wireless features so that you can see what's there and what's missing.

Figure 4 shows the basic Wireless Settings page, with a radio button band selector. The router defaults to the 2.4 GHz band, auto channel scan enabled, 20 MHz channel width and no wireless security, but WPS enabled.

D-Link DIR-665 Basic Wireless controls
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: D-Link DIR-665 Basic Wireless controls

Modes supported include the Mixed 802.11n, 802.11g and 802.11b default, and Mixed 802.11n and 802.11g, Mixed 802.11g and 802.11b, 802.11b only, 802.11g only and 802.11n only.

Switching to the 5 GHz band also shows a 20 MHz Channel width default and default Mixed 802.11a, 802.11n and 802.11a only and 802.11n only modes. 5 GHz channels supported include 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161 and 165.

The 665's wireless features fall behind those of the TRENDnet TEW-691GR, since the 665 supports neither multiple SSIDs / "guest" networks nor WDS bridging / repeating.

Advanced wireless settings (Figure 5) are pretty basic with Transmit Power the most useful control with High (default), Medium and Low settings.

D-Link DIR-665 Advanced Wireless controls

Figure 5: D-Link DIR-665 Advanced Wireless controls

I have to mention one very annoying "feature" of the 665—the mandatory 15 second reboot that you get when saving each screenful of changes.

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