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LAN & WAN Reviews

Popup Blocker, Anti-Virus, SpyWare Detection

Popup blocking (Figure 24) is implemented in the DSD-150 as a thin client function. The advanced options in the popup "Settings" menu are check boxes to enable a beep when blocking a popup, and notifying with a tray balloon when blocking a popup.

The allow list lets web pages where you need to allow popups to have them without the inconvenience of toggling popup blocking in your browser. But since most browsers already have these functions built-in, this feature really doesn't bring anything new to the party.

Pop-up Blocking screen

Figure 24: Pop-up Blocking screen (click to enlarge)

AntiVirus/Spyware management is also handled by a thin client application. So when you click this menu you get the popup window shown in Figure 25. The popup on the Mac is exactly the same functionality as in Windows, but I was unable to get the anti-virus engine to start on my Mac.

Anti-virus / Spyware screen

Figure 25: Anti-virus / Spyware screen (click to enlarge)

I attempted to get help from D-Link's customer support chat function, which worked on Windows but not on the Mac. But after providing some basic information showing I had latest firmware and thin clients, the connection went strangely silent.

Anti-virus scanning appeared to work on my PC, but I had a difficult time seeing whether the Spyware detection function really worked. I installed Lavasoft's Ad Aware and cleaned my PC before installing the DSD-150. I then planned to get infected by surfing to known problem sites and then scanning with both AdAware and the DSD-150 to see if there was a difference in coverage. But the DSD-150 was so difficult to work with, I wasn't able to complete the experiment.

I was also unable to test the Spam blocker because I don't have POP3 e-mail which is the only species of mail supported by the DSD-150. From reading the menus it does not appear to be a spam blocker, but instead, a spam marker. The only aspect of spam blocking that you can set up is the spam tag (i.e., text that will be inserted into the subject line of suspected spam). Your email program has to do the heavy lifting of making sure that tagged mail gets deleted or moved to the appropriate folder.

Conclusions

The DSD-150 has grand ambitions, but the reality is that the product needs a lot of work before Moms and Pops (or small biz owners) will be able to trust it to keep their computers safe from Internet-borne harm. If my installation experience is typical, many would-be users will have the product packed up and on its way back to the store before spending even half the time that I did trying to get it working.

D-Link needs to do much more in both its documentation and in on-screen status / progress messages before the installation experience approaches anything near user-friendly. But even if the installation went perfectly, there are too many misses and inconsistencies in its functions for users to get the "warm comfies" that this category of product needs to impart to the user from day one. All this product has to sell is security, and when it fails to deliver - even just a little - the seeds of doubt are planted.

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