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Wireless Reviews

Feature Differences

The 628's feature set is the same as the 4500's with a few exceptions. You can use the 628 emulator to fully explore the features.

Figure 4 shows the main Wireless Settings screen, which has a radio button to switch the radio between the 2.4 GHz (default) and 5 GHz bands.

Wireless configuration
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: Wireless configuration

The 628 properly defaults to a 20 MHz channel width in 2.4 GHz, but does the same when switched to 5 GHz, even though it doesn't have to. Note that channels in the 5 GHz Lower (36, 40, 44, 48) and Upper (149, 153, 157, 161, 165) bands are available, whether or not you choose the Auto Channel Scan Wireless Channel option.

The 802.11 Mode selector provides just about all the options you would need to solve compatibility problems with "legacy" 802.11b/g clients. For 2.4 GHz you get:

  • Mixed 802.11n, 802.11g and 802.11b (default)
  • Mixed 802.11n and 802.11g
  • Mixed 802.11n and 802.11b
  • Mixed 802.11g and 802.11b
  • 802.11n only
  • 802.11g only
  • 802.11b only

and for 5 GHz you get:

  • Mixed 802.11n and 802.11a (default)
  • 802.11n only
  • 802.11a only

Security options are the same, which include a full suite of WEP, WPA and WPA2 settings, with both "Personal" (PSK) and "Enterprise" (RADIUS) WPA/WPA2 modes. Security settings stay the same when you switch between bands.

I did a quick WPS pushbutton session check with the Netgear WNDA3100 dual-band USB adapter that I used instead of D-Link's DWA-160 dual-band USB adapter. (D-Link still hasn't released updated drivers to fix the terrible 2.4 GHz performance that I found during my DIR-855 testing.) Netgear's client application doesn't make its WPS feature obvious, since you don't see the client WPS "button" until you actually try to make a connection.

My first WPS session attempt ended with the Netgear client reporting a WPA2-PSK connection. But while the client and 628 were associated, the client couldn't get an IP address from the 628. This was probably because a check of the 628's wireless security settings showed a setting of WPA only and TKIP. The second WPS run at least had the Netgear client reporting a WPA-PSK connection. But again, the client wasn't able to get an IP from the 628.

Figure 5 shows the Advanced Wireless controls, which are the same as found on the DGL-4500 (and DIR-855). But a check of the left hand menu bar shows that the WISH link present on other products is missing from the 628. WISH (Wireless Intelligent Stream Handling) is Ubicom's automatic QoS applied to wireless connections. I have never explored whether it really helps wireless multimedia performance, so can't say whether this is a significant deletion.

Advanced wireless configuration
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: Advanced wireless configuration

One other note is the Extra Wireless Protection checkbox shown in Figure 5. According to the online help, this is supposed to be shown only when the wireless mode is set to 802.11ng only. But I found it exposed when I changed to the 5 GHz band. This is a bug since this setting is supposed to prevent problems with 2.4 GHz 802.11b networks!

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