D-Link N150 Home 150 Mbps 4-Port 10/100 Wireless N Router (DIR-601) Reviews
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D-Link N150 Home 150 Mbps 4-Port 10/100 Wireless N Router (DIR-601)

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More like a 802.11g+ router, not really "n"

Nov 29, 2010 (Updated Nov 29, 2010)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:Speed boost over 802.11g. Consumes less power than older D-Link routers. Improved configuration page.

Cons:Speed boost is marginal. Router does not provide range improvement. Definitely not "true" 802.11n.

The Bottom Line: If you are looking for a true 802.11n solution to stream HD content, skip the DIR-601.  If you are looking for a cheap solution with improved "G" speeds, its ok.

I bought this unit on black friday at $20 to replace an old (but working) 802.11g D-Link router (DI-524) to hopefully add 802.11n speeds.  While the unit works and is an upgrade to the previous unit, I would hardly consider this a "true" 802.11n unit.

First, and most importantly, the speed.  With all the 802.11g routers I have used the max throughput I am able to pull is 2.7MBps (or 21-22mbps), including the DI-524 unit that was replaced.  Note that these speeds were obtained even with my laptop directly next to the router.  Using this new DIR-601 unit I was able to pull around 4.2MBps max (or 32-33mbps).  While this is definitely an upgrade from the previous unit, this is not what I would expect from a router capable of 802.11n.  Yes, I understand the unit is not rated for 300mbps, rather being rated at 150mbps, but I would expect to get at least 50mbps if not more.

Secondly, the range.  Honestly, I don't see an improvement in range.  In fact, I think the range has decreased from the previous DI-524 unit.  The DI-524 unit was 2.4GHz, like all 802.11g routers.  The DIR-601 unit is set to 20MHz by default, with an option to do auto 20/40MHz switching.  Just the increase in frequency would lead me to believe an increase in range but it is not the case.  I instead saw a quicker dropoff in range, with a dropoff in speed consistency.  This might be due to the fact that the power consumption of this unit is half as much as the previous DI-524.  The DI-524 is rated at 5V@2.4A (~12W), the DIR-601 is rated for 5V@1.2A (~6W).

Lastly, the rest (which no one really cares about...lets be serious here.  All people care about with routers are speed and range, right? :) ).The router configuration page is a major upgrade from older D-Link units (including my DI-524).  The old D-Link router config page looked like something out of the Netscape Navigator days.  The new one, with this DIR-601 unit, looks quite a bit more modern and offers a lot more features and options.  The only caveat is that you are not directed to the advanced options by default.  Maybe there is a way to turn this off, but everytime you go into the configuration page you are presented with a page to either select use the wizard or do manual configuration (the latter of which allows you to access all the advanced options).  Also, like all previous D-Link configuration pages, every change you make forces the router to do a full reset which is quite annoying.  Nothing has changed with D-Link...oh well.  Power consumption is rather low (as mentioned above).  5V@1.2A (~6W).  Considering the unit it replaced was used sparingly, it is nice to know I am wasting less electricity.  I doubt I will ever get to the point were I recoup the $20 value by just the energy consumption alone, but this wasn't on my mind when I bought the unit.

Not much else to say.  The 50+% speed boost was worth the $20 for a router that is used sparingly, but if you are looking for a full blown 802.11n solution that can be used to stream HD content over a wireless network I do not think the DIR-601 should be your choice.  4.2MBps is 32-33mbps which SHOULD be enough to stream HD content, but it all depends on the quality of the content.  Content that I have compressed at 10-15mbps streams fine, while uncompressed content at higher bitrates stutters.  As such I would label this router 802.11g+ not 802.11n.

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 20
Driver Availability: Don''t Know

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