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Wireless Reviews

Routing Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

Routing performance for the 685 using our standard test method is summarized in Table 1. The 685 delivered an unprecedented 659 Mbps of downstream throughput and 703 Mbps upstream. I frankly didn't believe these numbers and triple checked the results and they appear to be real.

I have no idea who can take advantage of such extreme throughput. But if you do, please note that the front panel LCD will break up and go crazy if you actually run at even around 100 Mbps. The router doesn't lock up, however.

Test Description DIR-685
Throughput - (Mbps)
WAN - LAN
659
LAN - WAN
703
Total Simultaneous
757
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 200
Firmware Version
1.01NA
Table 1: Routing test results

Figure 12 is a composite plot of the three routing tests, which shows pretty steady routing throughput. If you check the Router Charts you'll see that the 685 sits comfortably at the top.

Routing throughput composite plot
Click to enlarge image

Figure 12: Routing throughput composite plot

NAS Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

I ran a quick check of the 685's NAS performance using both iozone and Vista SP1 file copy methods. Figure 13 shows the iozone results, which are around 5 - 6 MB/s after cache effects die out at the larger file sizes.

iozone NAS throughput

Figure 13: iozone NAS throughput

Vista file copy tests showed 4.85 MB/s for write, but a surprising 11.2 MB/s for read. The 5 MB/s is slightly better than I have seen with other router USB-drive sharers and the read performance is around 2X better. But neither will make you happy if you're moving a lot of big files around or doing large backups.

Wireless Features

The wireless features of the DIR-685 are essentially the same as on D-Link's other single-band draft 11n routers. Figure 14 is the Basic Wireless settings page, which contains the familiar set of D-Link wireless controls. Scheduled wireless enable, SSID, 802.11 Mode, Auto channel selection, Channel select, Transmission rate and Channel Width, Short Guard Interval, WMM Enable and SSID Broadcast Disable are all there.

D-Link has been trying to back away from supporting 802.11b in its draft 11n routers and the product data sheet makes no mention of 802.11b support. But the 802.11 Mode selector includes it among the 802.11g Only, Mixed 802.11g and 802.11b, 802.11b Only, 802.11n Only, Mixed 802.11n, 802.11b and 802.11g and Mixed 802.11n and 802.11g modes supported.

Routing throughput composite plot
Click to enlarge image

Figure 14: Basic wireless settings

The 685 supports manual setup for wireless security with WEP, WPA, WPA2 and mixed WPA/WPA2 options. Also supported are the Consumer and "Enterprise" (RADIUS) forms of WPA/WPA2, which are selected via the slightly obfuscated PSK/EAP switch.

There is also a wizard to walk you through wireless setup, allowing you to name your wireless network and set security settings. The wizard permits No security (not recommended) WEP, or WPA.

WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) is also supported to make enabling a secure connection very easy—as long as your client also supports WPS. Tim was able to complete a WPS PIN session using the Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 client that resulted in a WPA2/ AES secured connection.

I was glad to see that the 685 supports a wireless Guest Zone (Figure 15). The Guest Zone creates an entirely different subnet for wireless "guests" to provide Internet access. It has its own SSID, DHCP server, MAC address filtering and wireless security. You can also control wireless client-to-client communication and routing between the Guest Zone and your LAN and WLAN.

Wireless Guest Zone
Click to enlarge image

Figure 15: Wireless Guest Zone

Figure 16 shows the Advanced Wireless settings, the most useful of which is Transmit Power. The Short Guard Interval control would also be more at home on this page.

Advanced wireless settings

Figure 16: Advanced wireless settings

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