|At a glance|
|Product||D-Link DIR-505 SharePort Mobile Companion [Website]|
|Summary||Atheros-based single-stream N portable router / AP / repeater / hotspot with USB storage sharing|
|Pros||• Compact size with integrated power supply|
• Hotspot mode for hotel Wi-Fi sharing
• Guest network
• USB port power for device charging
|Cons||• Need to access GUI to switch between router & AP modes|
• No Ethernet bridge mode
• Android app not useful and badly documented
Typical Price: $22 Compare Prices Check Amazon
Wi-Fi has certainly made life easier for Road Warriors. While you can find Wi-Fi in many places, some hotels still provide in-room internet access via a wired Ethernet connection. The same holds true in many offices and conference rooms. A wired connection is fine if you’re traveling with a conventional notebook that has an Ethernet port. But many travelers are ditching notebooks for iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, and smart phones - none of which have wired network ports. Even some of the new ultra thin notebooks like the latest iteration of MacBook Air have shed the built-in Ethernet port. Unless you have a cellular data plan, you need a Wi-Fi connection.
The D-Link DIR-505 SharePort Mobile Companion (AKA All-in-One Mobile Companion) aims to solvethis connectivity problem for you. At its core, the DIR-505 is a portable wireless router/AP in a convenient “wall wart” form factor. Though it’s quite similar to the recently-reviewed TP-Link TL-WR700N, the DIR-505 has a few additional features that may make it worth its premium price.
The DIR-505 comes in a small 2.77” x 2.60” x 1.69” (7.036 x 6.60 x 4.29 cm) convenient form factor designed for the traveler. Unlike some of the compact travel routers I used to travel with, the built-in power plug ensures that you’ll never forget to bring its power supply. The power plug is offset, so you won’t consume more than one outlet. You’ll find all of the connections on the bottom of the device shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Bottom view of the DIR-505
The bottom of the device has a USB 2.0 port, a “pin” reset button, and a single10/100 Mbps Ethernet port that you can connect either to your Cable/DSL modem (in router mode) or to your local network if you’re using the Access Point mode. You can attach USB storage (Flash drive or external disk) to share files with others on your network via SharePort, or you can use the USB port to charge your phone if you have an appropriate cable.
A Wi-Fi protected setup button (WPS) is another of the features that distinguishes the D-Link product from its TP-Link competitor. WPS allows you to easily connect to other devices that also support WPS. With information found starting on page 146 (of the 200 page user guide), I successfully connected my Windows 7 computer using the WPS push button method. I just pressed the WPS button on the side of the DIR-505 (the side opposite from the DLink logo in the first image above) when Windows 7 prompted me for the network security key.
The DIR-505 also supports WPS using a PIN number found in the device’s security menu. WPS is a requirement for Wi-Fi Certification and the packaging for the DIR-505 indicates that it has been certified. As Tim pointed out in his review, the TP-Link product, lacking WPS, is not Wi-Fi Certified.
On the top of the device, shown in the first image above, you’ll find a three-position mode switch. The factory default is Router/AP, and is most likely the one that you’ll use. In this mode, you can configure the device to be a traditional router to route traffic from the internet (or the hotel’s network) to your own private subnet (default is 192.168.0.0) or to be an access point to bridge from your existing wired network to provide wireless access.
To change between modes, you have to log into the device and change the configuration from within the management UI. The Repeater mode allows you to connect to another wireless network and boost the signal for your wireless clients. In the Wi-Fi Hot Spot mode, you can use Wi-Fi to wirelessly connect to another network, and then route that network to your own IP subnet. This mode can provide added wireless security as well as allow clients attached to the device to share files securely. This would be useful if, for example, you were holding a small group meeting in a location that only had Wi-Fi access.
I only had a single sample, and I didn’t want to risk damaging it by tearing it apart to take photos. However, Figure 2, taken from the photos submitted by D-Link for FCC certification, shows that the device is based on an Atheros AR1311 SoC. While there is no information to be found about the device, it appears to be a single-stream (1X1) 802.11bgn multi-function wireless router/AP/bridge. The Nanya device also visible in the photo provides 64 MB of RAM. The flash device on the other side of the board wasn't clear enough to pull a part number from.
Figure 2: FCC photo of the DIR-505 PCB with the RF shield removed
Setup is fairly straightforward. Compared to setting up a traditional four port router, it only requires the additional step of connecting your wireless client to the DIR-505. The Quick Install Guide tells you connect to your DIR-505 using the wireless network name (SSID) and WPA key provided on a card. My sample didn’t have a card with the information, but the required credentials also appear on a label just below the power connector. (D-Link confirmed that a card should be included in with each product.)
Once you connect to the DIR-505, you are instructed to go to http://dlinkrouter. Actually, if you type in any URL such as http://www.smallnetbuilder.com, the DIR-505 intercepts your request and takes you to a first run wizard shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: First run Setup Wizard
The wizard guides you through choosing the operating mode (router or AP), configuring the internet connection, setting Wi-Fi security, router password, and time zone. I like the fact that the DIR-505 comes pre-configured with wireless security enabled, and that the wizard prompts you to enter an admin password. You can also enable graphical authentication in addition to using a password. All-in-all, the wizard ensures a secure setup.
Once you complete the wizard, you should be connected to the internet. You’ll only need to log into the UI to change some of the more advanced features such as port forwarding, DDNS (Dynamic DNS), setting up a guest network, or to configure the DIR-505 for sharing attached USB storage. You’ll also have to log into the device to change it between router and AP modes.
Tip: The documentation is a little out of sync with the current firmware version. You’ll find the router/AP selection box on the Manual Internet Connection Setup page, not on the Manual wireless connection setup page shown in the user guide.
If you’ve ever logged into a recent D-Link router, the DIR-505 user interface will feel very familiar. Figure 4 shows the landing page for All-in-One Mobile Companion.
Figure 4: Web Management home page
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Average user rating from: 4 user(s)
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Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.
|User Rating [Back to Top]||Overall:||3.5||Features :||3.5||Performance :||3.0||Reliability :||4.0|
Excellent product (with firmware 1.06!)
August 07, 2013
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I agree with the review and would like to add that the latest firmware to date (v1.06) adds more useful features. There are also 2 revisions of this device and I'm using rev.2.
Works for me
November 23, 2012
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I travel a lot, and one particular location only has wired ethernet, so I was in the market for a compact wireless router to act as an access point. There are now many such devices on the market, but the DIR-505 stands out in two regards*: 1) the power supply is built-in, eliminating a power cord and a power brick; 2) it is available in-store at my local Frys.
So far I have tested acces point and repeater modes, and both work as advertised. Out-of-the-box, the device rather cleverly acts as a fuly-function WiFi access point - it provides both dhcp and dns services, so you connect to it almost as if you were at a coffee shop [you do need to provide the WPA passphrase provided on the enclosed card.] The configuration wizards (one for each mode) were straightforward to follow. If you deviate from the script, however, you can get off-track with no obvious way to recover. No wonder there are so many reviews panning this device.
The one missing featture is "client mode" - not something I need, but others might want. Just be aware.
*A third way that the DIR-505 stands out is that it is made in "Taiwan", not "China". With all due respect to my many good friends and colleagues in China, most stuff made there is junk, at least compared to stuff made in Taiwan.
Awesome product. Had no problems with it.
October 12, 2012
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I travel a lot and I rely on the hotel wifi for my internet connection. However, the wifi connections in the hotel room only allow one device to be connected at a time.
Using this DIR 505 on the wifi hotspot mode solves this problem.
It is an awesome product.
September 23, 2012
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took it back twice - and STILL doesn't work - the support staff couldn't even speak English to help out (waste of 1.5 hours talking to them) - not impressed!