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You are here: Wireless Wireless Reviews First Test: D-Link DIR-665 Xtreme N 450 Gigabit Router

First Test: D-Link DIR-665 Xtreme N 450 Gigabit Router

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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.




Related Items:

New To The Wireless Charts: TRENDnet TEW-691GR 450Mbps Wireless N Giga
Three Stream N Performance: Two More
First Test: TRENDnet TEW-691GR 450Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router
New To The Wireless Charts: D-Link DIR-665 Xtreme N 450 Gigabit Router
Three Stream N Performance: A First Look

User reviews

Average user rating from: 3 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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Overall: 
 
1.9 Features :
 
2.3 Performance :
 
1.7 Reliability :
 
1.7
 
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D-Link vs Airport Extreme

Overall rating: 
 
1.0
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by B
August 13, 2011
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August 2011

I just went to Best Buy and returned the D-Link in exchange for an Apple AirPort Extreme. I am not an Apple fanboi, I just needed a new router that works best in my house (a 2200 sq ft bungalow, rectangle shape). I recently had to move my AirPort Express and it couldn't push the signal the whole way across the house, and would drop a signal as soon as we used the microwave.

Setup time:

I had to mess around with the D-Link for 15 minutes to get the wizards / configurations properly set up out of the box. The AirPort Extreme literally took me 2 minutes to plug in and go through the wizard.

Consistency of connection:

The D-Link, once on the 5Ghz, would not let my older devices stay connected (they would get on for a ping to Google, then drop off within 30 seconds). I have an older Dell, a new Dell, an iPad 1st gen, and a wireless printer. The signal couldn't get to the other end of the house just like my AirPort Express.

Summary:

The AirPort Extreme is worth the extra $40 over the D-Link 450. I am not sure if D-Link works rock solid if all of your laptops are brand new, but most households will have a mix of old gear on 802.11b/g and newer on 802.11n. Amazed, but Apple won this one for me, hands down. Maybe D-Link has a newer product, but this is the 'premium' one that Best Buy reps recommended, and now it's in their return bin.

 

Also Disappointed with the DIR-665

Overall rating: 
 
2.0
Features:
 
2.0
Performance:
 
2.0
Reliability:
 
2.0
Reviewed by Jim Lewis
August 05, 2010
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I started off at 5Ghz but quickly found out that it only worked with my new Lenovo laptops that have the Intel Centrino wireless card. It was not backward compatible with my HP printer and Vista laptop at 5Ghz. I called offshore D-Link support and they had me change several router settings and switch to 2.4Ghz – Channel 11. At this setting I couldn’t get a strong signal past 15 feet. This took two of the Lenovo laptops and the printer out of commission. Called D-Link support again and they had me switch to 2.4Ghz – Channel 10 and I got the stronger signal but the printer would drop every once in a while. One last try on my own at Channel 6 but that made things worse. I couldn’t bring myself to call offshore support for the third time.

We were using this in a small business with four employees so it was getting used pretty good. I am giving up after using it for one full week and sending it back. I agree with the previous post that this router is not ready for ‘prime time’.

 

Disappointed with DIR 665

Overall rating: 
 
2.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
2.0
Reliability:
 
2.0
Reviewed by Don Stafford
July 30, 2010
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Not completely satisfied with the DIR 665. This is my third DLink router and I've been happy with them all for the most part. However the DIR 665 has been nothing but a headache for the last two weeks after purchasing it. Finally, after 5 tech calls and hours of previous attempts to run the wizard and work through the manual set up, a third tier tech decided my unit must be broke. So now I have to RMA it back.

Maybe it's broke, maybe it's not, but the fact remains, I could not get it connected to anything unless I dropped the radio to 2.4Ghz. Only my Macbook liked the 5.0Ghz radio setting. I tried to connect three PC laptops (two XP, one Windows 7), 2 Xbox 360's, a Nook, and iPhone.

The thing that is most disappointing is that the DLink tech support (at least the first tier) is frustrating. It's off shore and the people don't seemed well trained. I tried to use the unit in a two router config also, and even the wizard has a procedure to set it up, that doesn't work either. I think maybe I should have stuck to my usual rule of not buying anything 'too cutting edge' until it's been out for a year. I think the unit is not ready for 'prime time'.

 
 

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