Please see my update at the bottom of this review.
Recommend this product?
The DIR-655 was introduced to me as the "Cadillac of routers," and it has certainly lived up to its name. In addition to managing a cable internet connection (both wired to my desktop, and wireless to my laptop), I use it for VOIP phone service (Vonage) as well as networking a USB printer between the two computers. All three of these functions work quite well. In fact, I spent more last summer on an Apple Airport Xpress 1150, trying to get it to work my USB printer on a network, but it couldn't be done. The DIR-655 was able to do it. For 90 bucks on amazon, this does the work of a $60 router and a print server that could cost from $100 on up--to say nothing of a $200 wireless networked printer.
Setup was reasonably quick-some 20 minutes to install the router (per computer). Do keep in mind (you don't have to do this) that if you want to "install" the router on each computer, leave the default username and password as it is, until after the installation (onto the second computer). I changed it immediately during the installation of the first computer, and when I tried to install the router on the second computer, it couldn't continue because the installation assumes the default u/n and password. Having said that, the second computer didn't have any problems seeing the internet connection, or anything else. From what I can tell, the only thing that I can't do on my laptop is connect to the router itself--which is to say, I can use the router for any networking, including surfing the net, but I just can't access the router settings, logfiles, etc. UPDATE: I just realized that you can access the router settings (192.168.0.1 in a web browser) without inserting the CD and "installing" it. You just can't do it in the Google Chrome browser (4.x). But using Internet Explorer, you can definitely access the router, log in, etc., without using the CD and installing any software.
For simplicity's sake, I made the password to get into the router, the same as the password that I use for the wireless connection that any laptop has to enter, to get on the wireless connection I have set up.
Another thing to remember when installing this-FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. Routers are not just another USB plug and play device, and unplug what they say to unplug, in that order.
Finally, they seem to have put a lot of transparent plastic on the router. At least one of the strips was covering up vents, so I'd recommend taking it all off. No point in having this remarkable piece of equipment over-heat.
I simply plugged in the cables that were going into my old router, into the back of the new one, and my internet connection worked flawlessly. I hooked up one antenna, hit F2 to turn on my laptop's wireless card, and I was connected online. Both wired and wireless work quite well. A few weeks ago, I timed my internet speed (old router, wired) at 18 megs a second; on wireless I clocked in at 21.5 megs a second. Certainly this router is not slowing things down at all!
The easiest thing about the setup was using it for VOIP. I did say that the DIR-655 can be used for VOIP, but it will require a VOIP-enabled router or adapter for this. I have been using a Linksys router that I got from Vonage when I first signed up with them. Now, this old router simply connections my phone line to the D-Link, acting as the adapter for the phone signal, and it works quite well. I was thinking of selling my Linksys router on amazon, but they are only going for 8 bucks anyways, so this is no biggie. I literally just pushed in the power adapter to the Linksys, then connected the two routers via an Ethernet cable, and VOIP was working!
I have also used this router to connect a non-networked, USB printer and turn it into a wireless printer. I emailed the D-Link tech support (after calling them as well) and both times I was told it would work with my printer (HP Laserjet 1018). I don't know if it will work with any USB printer (that is, a printer that connects to the computer via a USB cable, as opposed to a wireless connection) but I really don't see why it wouldn't. To get the wireless printer functionality, you will have to insert the CD again, and install the small Shareport utility. Then, just plug the USB cable that connects your printer, into the USB port in the back of the DIR-655.
I do have one word of advice if you want to use Shareport to connect to a printer to be used between 2 or more computers. The default settings weren't the best for this, as what would happen, would be that both computers would connect to my printer via the router-but as soon as one computer had sent a print job, it would "own" the connection to the printer, and then when I'd want to print from the other computer, a request would have to be sent to the first computer, to allow the new computer access to the printer.
To allow both computers to print without this annoyance, click on the Shareport icon in the system tray, and down on the lower-right corner is a small icon that looks like a piece of paper (?). Click on that and select the Optional Settings tab. Then, select Enable Auto-connect, and then I went further and chose the "only for printer" option. This has allowed Shareport to let each computer print, without that annoying request that had to be approved.
One last bit of advice when using Shareport-don't X out of the program when you have a window displaying any information-minimize. It won't sit in your taskbar, but will minimize to the system tray, which keeps it running. Hitting the red X won't shut down the display window (like, say for an antivirus program) but will in fact shut the utility down itself.
There is one thing that I will probably troubleshoot later on-I seem to be getting a message from Windows XP that says that I am now connected online-every 30 minutes or so. Now when surfing wirelessly, I have not noticed a problem losing the connection at all. I think this is some setting that automatically seeks out the nearest router/access point, and then it tells me that it has connected. I can probably stop this, and would like to at some point. But I want to re-iterate that I have NOT had a problem with dropped connections, just with Windows continually telling me that I am now connected to this wireless network.
UPDATE: I just realized (just when I urgently needed a large print job, some 160 pages in all) that the Shareport utility won't print more than 15 pages at a time. I had to manually tell my laptop to print 3 documents at a time, some 15 times, to get 45 copies of the document that I was hoping to print. I can't tell you how time-consuming this is.
I just got off the phone with D-Link's tech support (they gave a number on a flyer inside the box, and I have to say that the connection was the worst I have ever had. There was static, and background talking, as well as an echo of my own voice. The person on the other end spent more than half the time summarizing my own words, mostly getting them mixed up. After 50 minutes on the phone, I was informed that the SharePort technology is only used for small print jobs; that there is nothing wrong with it because it works. The last suggestion from D-Link was to recommend that I purchase a print server from them, which is suitable for large print jobs, that costs 69 bucks on amazon. I will re-think this purchase altogether, and very well might just decide that going wireless is just costing me too much money. Already after a week of using it, the time I've spent trying to troubleshoot this device is much greater than any amount of time I've saved by going wireless.
Because of its convenience, apart from the problem with printing, I very well just might keep it, and then hook up my desktop with a USB cable directly to the printer; then email myself whenever I want a print job; then print from the desktop. That is rather clumsy, I admit; as Amazon's 30-day return deadline approaches I'll think about what would be best.
SECOND UPDATE (May 31, 2010)I have had for quite a while, another problem--when I send several print jobs in rapid succession, SharePort takes about 30 seconds in between each print job. If you don't mind waiting, this isn't really a problem, but I keep thinking that something is broken. I wish I could get some aid from their tech support. At this point, I have to admit that the ability to surf and print wirelessly is greater than the annoyances I've indicated, although I can't say for sure I would have purchased this unit if I knew beforehand, all the hassles.
THIRD UPDATE (June 16, 2010) The tech support at D-Link continue to have no clue about the problems I've mentioned; there are various others involved in their forums. But I was tickled by the fact that I can access more than just my printer wirelessly. I took my USB cord, detached it from the printer, and plugged it into my scanner, and I was able to scan wirelessly, and save it to my laptop's hard drive. For some reason I thought that only printing could be done wirelessly. This will save me the trouble of having to boot up the desktop, just to scan something.
FOURTH UPDATE (June 29,2010) The last few weeks I have had so many problems with the SharePort utility (designed to allow me to work with my printer and other USB peripherals wirelessly) that I have uninstalled it, tried older versions of SharePort, and even another program (that D-Link purchased and rebranded as SharePort, from a Japanese company). Nothing seems to work. I am giving up on the idea of being able to print wirelessly. But at least I can connect to wireless internet.
IF I HAD TO PURCHASE A NEW WIRELESS ROUTER TOMORROW, I WOULD NEVER BUY A D-LINK. I HAVE SPENT TOO MUCH TIME REBOOTING, REINSTALLING, AND TROUBLESHOOTING.
Amount Paid (US$): 90
Driver Availability: Don''t Know