D-Link DIR-600 wireless router
A small and surprisingly quick D-Link wireless router
- Very good 802.11n wireless networking performance, small, relatively easy to set up
- No keyword filtering, Internet and wireless setup wizards are separate
D-Link's DIR-600 may look small and slow, but it's actually a very quick 150Mbps, 802.11n wireless router. It's well suited to a small house or apartment and it can be used to stream video in addition to distributing an ADSL2+ connection.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
D-Link's DIR-600 is a wireless router for a small house or apartment. It has a 150Mbps, 802.11n wireless access point, a 4-port 10/100 Ethernet switch, as well as a built-in firewall and filtering settings. You'll have to supply your own modem.
The DIR-600 is small and can be placed flat or vertically on a desk (via a supplied stand), or you can wall-mount it. It has relatively bright, green status lights on the front and only a single antenna sticks out of the rear.
Setting up the DIR-600 is reasonably simple. You have to get past a CAPTCHA screen when you log in to it, which can be annoying, but it's a good way to thwart automated attacks if you always leave your router remotely accessible. Once you're in the Web interface, you can let the wizard guide you through all the steps you need to take to get online. However, you'll need to know the type of Internet connection you use (PPPoE if you're an ADSL2+ user), as the DIR-600 won't auto-detect it.
We wish the wizard also went through the wireless networking settings; after you get online, you have to go in and click on the Wireless Setup portion of the menu, and from there you can choose to either use the wizard or enter your network details manually. Either way, we recommend you set up the wireless access point before you run the Internet wizard. If you do it manually, you'll be pleased to see that the network name, speed and encryption settings can all be applied from the same page.
You can either use Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or manually configure the security of your wireless network. We were pleased at how effortless the latter was with this router.
In our tests, the wireless access point ran at around 135 megabits per second (Mbps) in our test environment, and it recorded transfer speeds that made us smile. From 2m, it averaged a transfer speed of 5.01 megabytes per second (MBps), while from 10m it averaged a faster rate of 7.36MBps. We were able to replicate this several times in our test environment, but the performance might vary in your own environment. This fast average speed over 10m suggests that the router is well suited to streaming video — and that includes HD video. It's a much faster performance than the 150Mbps-based Netgear DGN1000 ADSL2+ modem/router, for example, which recorded average rates of 3.55MBps and 2.98MBps in the 2m and 10m tests respectively.
The Advanced section of the router's interface is where you can find the port forwarding and filtering settings. Forwarding ports is simple: simply type in a name for the filter, enter the port range you want to open, and enter the IP address of the destination computer. Or, you could just select one of the predefined rules from the list.
Port forwarding is simple and doesn't require too many clicks: just enter your settings and click apply. You can quickly add multiple rules from the same page (up to 24).
A QoS setting also exists in the router, but it can't be customised. You can only enable or disable it with the promise that your gaming traffic will be prioritised over Web traffic if you enable it. The firewall is customisable though, and you can tell the router to block traffic that's coming or going through the specified ports of your computers. There is also a DMZ setting and dynamic DNS support (using DynamicDNS or dlinkddns.com).
The DIR-600 also has a parental control page that allows you to block access to (or only allow access to) certain sites — and you can schedule this access. You can't tell it to restrict the access of specific computers on your network, so the filters will apply to all computers. Furthermore, the filter is URL-based, so you can't filter general keywords. That means you'll have to know the address of the sites you want to restrict (perhaps put a call in to Senator Conroy). If a site is blocked, it will not give an error message — it will just look like the site is down, which means your kids might tell you the Internet is broken and that you'll have to call tech support. Just ask them which site they were trying to access in order to get out of that ordeal.
Up to 24 URLs can be filtered.
We wish the parental control also had keyword support, but since few people are interested in Internet filtering anyway, it doesn't matter. The bottom line is, this is a good little wireless router. If you already have an ADSL2+ modem such as Billion's excellent little 5200S RD and want to distribute your Internet connection, as well as share files and stream media across a handful of devices, then the DIR-600 is a good choice. It's quite easy to set up, and its wireless speed was very fast in our tests.
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