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Wireless Reviews

{mospagebreak toctitle=Overview, Inside, Features}
Cloud Router
At a glance
ProductD-Link Cloud Router (DIR-605L)   [Website]
SummaryEntry-level 100 Mbps 802.11bgn router with a few cloud-based monitoring features thrown in
Pros• Almost 100 Mbps wire speed routing
• WDS bridging/repeating & AP modes
• Decent wireless performance
• Some admin/monitoring features via mydlink cloud portal
Cons• No guest or scheduled wireless access
• No IPv6 support

Typical Price: $29  Buy From Amazon

Overview

Updated 3/8/2012: Added link to SCB article

You may be sick of hearing about "the Cloud" by now, but you might as well get used to it. The Cloud has invaded NASes and networked media players and it's now starting to engulf the lowly router. The first example of this new genus is D-Link's DIR-605L Cloud Router.

You might expect that a first-in-category product would come at a premium price. But D-Link has taken a different approach by starting with an entry-level 802.11bgn router with 10/100 Ethernet ports, adding a handful of monitoring features available via its existing mydlink.com portal and pricing it under $50.

I covered 605L's cloud features in a separate SmallCloudBuilder article. This review will cover its feature set and performance.

The 605L is more physically similar to D-Link's DHP-1320 powerline router, than its "Amplifi" siblings like the DIR-827 and DIR-657. The small, well-ventilated case is made to sit on a desktop and has no bottom-cover mounting slots and no bundled vertical-mount stand. The dual non-upgradeable 5 dBi antennas seem to loom over the smallish case, but are light enough to not cause it to tip over backwards.

DIR-605L front panel

DIR-605L front panel

The front and rear panel callouts taken from the user manual don't need much explanation. As befits a sub-$50 router, all ports are 10/100, not Gigabit and there is nary a USB port for storage or printer sharing.

DIR-605L rear panel

DIR-605L rear panel

Inside

The inside shot from the FCC ID docs below isn't great, but it's clear enough to reveal that Realtek was tapped to power the 605L.

DIR-605L rear panel

DIR-605L rear panel

Other FCC photos had close-ups of all the key components, which are summarized in Table 1.

CPU Realtek RTL8196C 5 port 10/100 switch
& 32 bit RISC CPU SoC
Switch in RTL8196C
RAM 32 MB
Flash 4 MB
Radio Realtek RTL8192CE 802.11b/g/n 2T2R WLAN SoC
Table 1:Component summary

The design is very similar to the Amped R10000G that we just reviewed; actually more like its R10000 10/100 sibling. Note that the 605L doesn't have separate transmit power amplifiers like the Amped routers. But it was able to run all tests in Location F.


Features

Even though it is based on a different chipset than D-Link's other products, the admin interface has the classic D-Link router look shown in the Internet Connection screen below.

DIR-605L rear panel

DIR-605L rear panel

There are a few differences, though, so let's run through a feature summary.

Routing

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP WAN types
  • DHCP server with MAC address reservation, lease time setting
  • Built-in dynamic DNS client for dlinkddns.com, oray.cn and dyndns.com free and custom services
  • Static routes (32)
  • WAN port speed (10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, Auto)
  • Multicast stream enable
  • Remote admin access enable, IP access filtering, port setting and graphic authentication enable
  • UPnP enable/disable
  • Syslog support
  • Email and save logs
  • Syslog support
  • Browser-based log view
  • Schedulable Uplink/downlink bandwidth control for IP ranges. Can't specify service ports.
  • Cable connection/port speed check
  • Save/restore settings
  • mydlink event management

Firewall

  • Non-schedulable port range forwarding (separate public & private ports settable)
  • Non-schedulable triggered port forwarding (can't set source and destination ports)
  • Schedulable allow/deny MAC filtering
  • Non-schedulable deny MAC ACL
  • SPI firewall disable, anti-spoof checking, RTSP ALG
  • Schedulable Inbound/outbound firewall rules with source/destination, protocol and port range (50)
  • Schedulable URL filter (10)
  • DMZ host
  • WAN ping allow / deny

Wireless features

  • Modes: Router, AP, WDS, WDS+AP, WDS+Router
  • WEP, WPA / WPA2 Personal support
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) support, pushbutton and PIN
  • Auto and manual channel set
  • SSID broadcast control
  • Wireless modes: n-only, mixed b/g, mixed b/g/n (default)
  • Bandwidth: 20 MHz, Auto 20/40 MHz
  • Transmit power adjust (100, 70, 50, 35, 15%)
  • Beacon period, RTS threshold, Fragmentation, DTIM interval adjusts
  • Short/long preamble, CTS mode, STBC, 20/40MHz coexist, Short Guard Interval enables
  • WMM disable

Missing features

  • IPv6 support
  • HTTPs admin access
  • Wireless guest access
  • Wireless on / off schedule or physical wireless disable button
  • Wireless client isolation
  • WPA/WPA2 Enterprise (RADIUS) support

Thirty second reboots are required to save setting changes. But at least you can make changes on multiple screens and save once. Given D-Link's aggressiveness in supporting IPv6, it was a surprise to see support missing on the 605L.

D-Link hasn't posted an emulator for the 605L. So I've posted most of the key screens in the gallery with explanatory captions.

Routing Performance

Routing throughput running the latest 1.11 firmware and our router test process measured 87 Mbps WAN to LAN, 86 Mbps LAN to WAN and 133 Mbps total with up and down tests running simultaneously. This is a bit lower than most other routers that I judge 100 Mbps "wire speed". But, in reality, you would be hard pressed to see a difference.

Maximum simultaneous connections topped out at a relatively low 6,483. But again, this number is more than sufficient for a home/SOHO router.

The IxChariot plot below shows a moderate amount of throughput variation under the high continuous-traffic load of our test scripts.

DIR-605L Routing Throughput

DIR-605L Routing Throughput

Wireless Performance

The DIR-605L is Wi-Fi Certified and properly defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth mode on power-up. I successfully ran a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) PIN session that resulted in a WPA2/AES secured connection. The WPS session took a bit longer than I normally see with other routers to complete and I think the router had to do a 30 second reboot to store the new settings. All wireless performance tests were run with this secured connection using our wireless test process and our standard Channel 1 setting.

To compare performance, I ran a 2.4 GHz Wireless Performance table with the 605L and another recently-reviewed $50 single-band router, the TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND. The 605L's uplink throughput is generally higher than the TP-LINK's and it had higher Location D throughput (moderate-to-low signal level) in three out of four tests runs.

Wireless Performance Table

Wireless Performance Table

Throughput stability was generally good with no multi-second deep dropouts observed or large throughput jumps due to excessive link rate hunting. Top throughput of 99 Mbps was measured in Location A with simultaneous up and downlink tests running in Auto 20/40 MHz. mode.

DIR-605L Wireless Throughput - 20 MHz downlink

DIR-605L Wireless Throughput - 20 MHz downlink

Here are links to the other plots if you'd like to check them out.

Closing Thoughts

The DIR-605L is a decent performer for wired routing throughput with wireless performance better than many routers costing twice as much. Yet, when stacked up against the features of the equally-priced TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND, it doesn't look as appealing.

For the same money, the TP-LINK has Gigabit Ethernet ports, upgradeable antennas and can share a USB drive via FTP or UPnP, while matching the 605L with WDS support and up/downlink bandwidth-based QoS. But the D-Link still has the edge on the TP-LINK in wireless performance.

The real reason you'd opt for the DIR-605L, however, is its cloud features. As I've mentioned at the top of the review, those features mainly focus on letting you monitor router status and where your users are going on the web, so they won't knock your socks off. But I've provided the full details over on SmallCloudBuilder, so, be sure to read the rest of the story there.

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