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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

14 Feb 2008: Switch supports up to 9K Jumbo Frames
26 Nov 2007: Added info on Atheros chipset on Pg 2

D-Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router

At a Glance
Product D-Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router (DIR-655)
D-Link Xtreme N Notebook Adapter (DWA-652)
Summary One of the first Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n Draft 2.0 routers and cards based on Atheros xSpaN silicon
Pros • Gigabit WAN and LAN with excellent routing speed
• Most simultaneous sessions of any router tested
• Automatic QoS for Internet uplink and WLAN
• Tries not to stomp on neighboring WLANs
Cons • 2.4 GHz band only
• Wireless throughput tends to vary widely over time
• Does not statically fall back to 20 MHz channel for 11b/g neighbors

Rarely have I received so many requests for a product review as I have for the D-Link DIR-655. This is most likely due to its position at the top of our Router Charts, with its impressive 200+ MHz routing speed. However, in keeping with my policy of not reviewing draft 802.11n products, I have held off on its review.

But with the Wi-Fi Certification process underway, I'm reluctantly going to begin review of Draft 11n products. And since the DIR-655 was the first draft 11n product to post Draft 2.0 firmware and driver updates, and one of the first out of the Wi-Fi Certification gate, what better place to start?

The 655 is housed in an unassuming compact white plastic enclosure that's intended to sit horizontally on your desktop, although it has screw mounting slots in case you wish to wall mount it. Its size belies the power within however, showing, that at least in this case, size doesn't matter.

The front panel has the usual status lights shown in Figure 1 below, all of which are blue and backlight (very) small icons that indicate their functions. The lights are bright enough, but the icons are so small that they blur into undistinguishable blobs from most any distance that you're likely to view them. The lights are also monochromatic, so you don't get any indication of the link speed for any of the ports.

DIR-655 Front Panel

Figure 1: DIR-655 Front Panel

Connectors on the rear panel (Figure 2) include four 10/100/1000 LAN ports, one 10/100/1000 WAN port and power jack. All ports are auto MDI / MDI-X which means they'll figure out how to connect to whatever you plug into them. There's also a reset-to-factory-defaults switch but no switch to change the 655 between its Routing and "Bridge" (AP) modes, which is available in the web-based admin interface.

Update 14 Feb 2008: The switch supports up to 9K Jumbo Frames

DIR-655 Rear Panel

Figure 2: DIR-655 Rear Panel

Don't get too excited about that USB port, since it's just there to support the flash-key based Windows Connect Now (WCN) method, which hopefully will fade to black now that the industry has agreed upon Wi-Fi Protected Setup. Note that all three antennas use RP-SMA connectors for easy upgrade.

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