After 5 years of service, my Dlink DI-624 gave out and I needed a replacement. I found the DI-624 easy to use as well as reliable, so it was an easy decision to get another D-Link product. Before the DI-624, I was using a DI-714P+ which was one of the first combined print server/wireless router available. In addition, I've worked with many Link-Sys, Netgear routers and found Dlink to be the easiest to use, more frequently updated (in terms of firmware), and reliable. So my selection was down to the selection of Dlink routers available.
Recommend this product?
For those who are not familar with wireless routers, here are some simple definitions:
1. Router - A gadget that allows computers to talk to one another. It also allows mulitple computers to access a internet connection. It allows computers to share files. It also allows you to connect printers if they have networking capabilities. Most routers come with the ability to connect four computers by wires.
2. Wireless - Wireless connections require that your computer or laptop have wireless capabilities. This is also referred to as WiFi. WiFi is a type of long distance connection signal. So to use this, you will need a Wireless Router as well as computers that have WiFi connection. For your computer, you can get WiFi connection with different kinds of products from USB WiFi devices, to internal WiFi cards, to WiFi laptop cards, to built in WiFi in laptops. They will all let your computer connect to WiFi. In my opinion, if you are intimidated by this, then I would recommend getting a USB WiFi device. It's as easy to install as plugging in a USB Mouse. A wireless router is able to connect to as many as 250+ wireless computers.
3. Signal Types - There are 3 types of WiFi signals available to customers. 802.11 B, 802.11 G, and 802.11 N Draft. The signals are certified by a committee. Currently only B and G are "certified". N is sometimes referred to as Draft-N because it is not "certified" yet. The slowest is B which is 11 mbps (megabits per second). G is 54 mbps. N is 248 mbps. If you want to be on the fastest speed, you'll need a router that transmit at N as well as a WiFi device for your computer that receives at N. If your computers are currently on G and you want faster speeds, then you will need a new N router as well as new N connection devices for your computers. For the most part, all routers are backwards compatible. So if you get a G router, it will work with G and B. If you get a N router, it will work for G, B, and N.
4. Gigabit port - A lot of routers are boasting Gigabit ports. This means that you can get a faster connection for WIRED connections. The Gigabit feature is not for wireless connections. So if you plan on only having WIRELESS connections, this feature will not benefit you.
So here's how my selection went... and what I suggest.
1. B, G, or N? I have multiple computers all currently on G. However, I just got a laptop on wireless N. So I needed a N router. If you have computers on G and do not intend on upgrading those parts to N, then you do not need to spend the extra money on getting a wireless N router. A G router will cost you easily less than half the cost of a N.
2. Which Wireless Dlink Router? A good rule of thumb is to buy the most popular model. This is because if there's anything wrong, then the manufacturer will get a barrage of emails and complaints and be forced to fix it. So by picking a popular model, you'll get more firmware updates and hopefully less issues. For the N models, Dlink offers gaming routers, routers with LED windows to display messages, etc. but I found DIR 655 to be the most standard and popular N model. So for me, picking the DIR 655 Xtreme N is a easy pick.
3. Why not the DIR-628? Dlink makes two sets of N products. The Rangebooster and the Xtreme N. The Rangebooster is much cheaper than the Xtreme series. The N speed is not as fast. Rangebooster is 12X faster than G as opposed to 14X faster with Xtreme N. Xtreme N also features the Gigaport. So.. what does this mean? If you do not have any wired computers or devices and you're not picky about having the fastest wireless connection available, then Rangebooster may be a great option. Again, it's easily half the price. My husband has a Playstation 3 that is wired into the router. In addition, we have two computers that are wired into the router. So for me, it was an easy choice to go with the Xtreme N. (Keep in mind to take advantage of the Gigaport, you may need new ethernet cables too. )
4. If you don't have an existing network, then think about buying matching parts. So same line of router and computer WiFi devices. For instance, get all Rangebooster products or all Xtreme products.
If you only need G, note that not all G's are the same. G connect at 54 mbps. However, if you get some matching sets of networking products, they are able to double the speed. So for instance, my old setup with DI-628 (my old router) connected to my computers that have DLink's DWL-650 WiFi card. They have this AirPlus feature that doubles the connection speed. So I was actually connecting at 108 mbps on G. So just as a tip, use matching products if possible. If you get a rangebooster router, then get the rangebooster Wifi products for your computer. If you mix and match, then you'd get the basic levels of connection for each signal type (11 for B, 54 for G, and 268 for N). So when I connect my new router to my old DWL-650 card, my computer's back down to a 54 mbps connection.
5. Install and software - The DIR 655 has tons of features. The disk that comes with it allows you to quickly set up your router and get connected. After you get the basic setup going, you are ready to use the router. You don't really need to do anything further. However, if you need to make changes or turn up your connection, you can log into the router from any computer by surfing to http://192.168.0.1/. Here, you can change your passwords, connection methods, etc. The number of options are a little overwhelming at first. But overall, the interface looks very good.
The one change I would recommend to every user is to figure out which signals you have connecting to the router. For example, if you computers of all signal types (B,G, and N) connecting to the router, the router has to do more work in deciphering the signal. For me, I only have G and N, so the first thing I did was change the settings for the router to only accept G and N signals. If you only have N, then you can set it to only accepting N signals. This will give you a quick speed bump.
6. Range - I love the range and signal strength of the DIR 655. My router sits upstairs behind my 50" plasma screen. My old router's signal would be very low if I'm downstairs. If the microwave is on or a phone call comes in, then the connection would break. With the DIR 655 N, I can connect downstairs with the microwave on and on a cordless phone call. In addition, this connection is with the old wireless G signal. So basically, new DIR 655 router equals more signal strength and more range for the same computer.
The one thing I do not like... and this may be strange... is that this lovely looking router has blue LED lights. The blue LED lights are very very bright! When we go to bed, I can see the blinking blue lights from two rooms away WITHOUT my glasses! I wish they had an option to dim the blinking lights. Instead, I put a piece of tape over the front of the router so I can sleep.
Overall, if you're looking for the fastest available wireless router with all the flexibility in the world, DIR 655 is the router for you. You'll pay a lot more, but it's well worth it if you're into technology or are streaming files around your network.
If you're looking for N, but don't need the fastest speed and don't need any wired connections, then Dlink's Rangebooster series may be better suited for you. It'll be less than half the price of the DIR-655.
If you're looking for G, then you should be able to get routers for as low as $25 since these are getting obsolete.
Amount Paid (US$): 117
Driver Availability: Windows, Linux, and Mac