Jan 29

Product summary

The D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure offers a quick, yet comprehensive solution for network storage. We really liked the device for its flexibility and useful features, and at the same time wished it supported FAT32 or NTFS hard drives like the Iomega StorCenter Pro. The device can house two 3.5-inch SATA hard drives of any capacity in RAID configurations. It can also be used as an FTP, a DHCP, a UPnP AV, or an iTunes server with an excellent, intuitive Web interface. The DNS-323 comes up big where it matters most: throughput performance. Despite its few flaws and rather bulky power supply, we can easily recommend it to people who are looking for a fast, reliable way to extend their network’s storage and functionalities. If you are looking for a simple NAS solution that already comes with a hard drive, however, the Iomega StorCenter might save you some start-up time and money.

DNS-323

Setup and design

The D-Link DNS-323 boasts a simple, compact design with all the ports (Gigabit Ethernet, USB, and power) on the back. On the front is the hard-drive bay cover that has the power button and three blue activity status LEDs, one for each hard drive and one for the network port.

The DNS-323 doesn’t come with hard drives–leaving you the option to choose what storage capacity to add. It’s very easy to open the device to access its hard drive bays. We found it a bit too easy, in fact. More than once we accidentally opened the cover just by holding the device from the front to lift it up. It would be a lot better if the DNS-323’s face lid had some sort of lock to prevent this. Fortunately, NAS devices are generally not supposed to be portable, and the act of opening the cover doesn’t interfere with the D-Link’s working status. The device can take two 3.5-inch SATA hard drives, preferably of regular thickness: all you have to do is to slide the drives in and they fit in very well. Thinner drives don’t fit as snugly. There’s a release latch for each drive at the back of the device, in case you want to replace the hard drives. You can use just one drive with the DNS-323, but if you want to take advantage of the RAID configuration, the second one is a must.

If you get new hard drives for the DNS-323, all these options work very well and the setup is very convenient. If you want to use hard drives that already contain data, however, it’s a different story. If you have hard drives laying around that are formatted in FAT32 or NTFS file system (supported by Microsoft Windows), the DNS-323 will need to reformat them into Ext2 file system (supported by Linux) before they can be used. This means it’s impossible to move an existing Windows/Mac-friendly hard drive into the DNS-323 without having its data completely wiped. This can also be potentially problematic in case the DNS-323 fails and you want to just hook its hard drives to a Windows computer for data access or recovery. For all the NAS devices (of which the hard drives are user-replaceable) we’ve reviewed to date, the D-Link DNS-323 is the first that supports only the Ext2 file format. This makes the user-replaceable aspect of the device less flexible. The formatting takes a relatively short time depending on the size of the hard drives. In our case, it took about 5 minutes for a drive of 400GB.

lincoln-collector said:

I took a lot of time looking for an Ethernet capable 2-bay system and found several and went through three. You’d think the selection would be better but the selction is pitiful if you want an Ethernet capable NAS.

If you want/need an Ethernet capable NAS this is basically your best choice. After attempting to fill my need with other companies and/or other D-Link products, this is by far the best bang for the buck.

Anthony 110 said:

Fast download and upload, sleek look, runs cool, very quiet, easy setup.Overall a great product for cheap. The download and upload speed are usually around 2.0mb/s. It runs so quietly with the two WD 500GB drives I have in it, runs very cool as well with its little fan. Look sleek and feels fairly solid. I wish it had a few more features but for the money it was well worth it.

jiggysmb said:

Lots of features, you can connect a printer to network it, has iTunes server, FTP server and uPNP sharing(sort of). Most recent firmware added support for 1.5 TB drives so you can have up to 3 TB in this tiny enclosure. Could be portable!

Dlink support staff is usually 6 month behind. I got mine a few weeks before release and the support team had no idea what a DNS323 was. A few months later I had trouble with my original xbox (XBMC) only seeing the root files and support still had no documentation on the device.

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Jan 29

Product summary 

 DIR-825

The good: Virtual networked USB port; mobile router capability; true dual-band; intuitive and responsive browser interface; gigabit LAN and WAN; easy to set up; support separate wireless networks for guests; convenient preset settings.

The bad: Slow mixed mode performance; range could be better; bulky design.

 

 Setup and design

 
We didn’t experience any problems setting up the D-Link DIR-825. The router comes with a CD that contains the D-Link Router Quick Setup desktop software. Dutifully following the wizard, we were able, with minimal mouse clicks, to get everything up and running, including connecting to the Internet and other wireless clients, as well as setting up an SSID for each frequency. Alternatively, you can use the Web-based interface, which we found to be well-thought-out, responsive, and more comprehensive than the desktop application.

The D-Link DIR-825 looks just like the DIR-655, minus the third antenna. The two antennae, however, are still attached to the back of the router where all the ports reside. This is a cluttering and long-standing design trait found in all D-Link’s Wireless-N routers. Nonetheless, with the omission of the middle antenna, it’s much easier to get to the DIR-825’s ports than the DIR-655’s.

Features

 
Despite similarities in appearance, the DIR-825 is much more advanced than the DIR-655. It’s the second router from D-Link that supports true Wireless-N dual-band, capable of broadcasting simultaneously in 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies. (The first was the DIR-855, which we reviewed earlier this year). The DIR-825 is the first, however, to feature the SharePort technology that allows the router’s USB port to work as a networked USB port. SharePort comes with a software application called SharePort Network USB that you’ll need to install on your networked computers. The software lets the computer recognize a USB device plugged into the router as if it were plugged directly into the computer’s USB port. Unlike other USB-equipped routers that support only printers and external hard drives, SharePort lets the DIR-825 share virtually any USB device over your network.

We tried the Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme external hard drive with the DIR-825’s USB port and the moment we plugged it in, the SNU utility in all the computers in the network prompted that a new device has been plugged in and asked if it should connect to it. Once we selected the computer and connected to the drive, the utility on other computers showed that the hard drive had been taken and gave an option to message the host computer to release it, which would happen if the user at the host computer agreed. We were also able to share that hard drive (as though it was connected to the computer directly) and made it available for the rest of the network to access at the same time, the same way you would share a folder on that computer. This seems to be a workaround for the above-mentioned weakness.

 

User Reviews

 

RollinAlong said: Researched several different options for wireless networking prior to purchasing this model. I’m not overly techinical when it comes to home networking, but know enough to get myself in trouble and thankfully the ease of the router setup didn’t allow me to get in trouble. No issues with dropping the network.

jack5578 said:Dual band, great User Interface, lots of bells and whistles, lots of functionality. This router has all the functionality of a more expensive “gaming router” at a much better price.

This router is a great value for the price. It has all the current bells and whistles. 2.4 and 5.0 Mhz, simultaneous dual band, gigabyte ethernet ports, USB port to plug in any USB device to share. The user interface is really nice and has a lot of features to set your router up any way you want. This router has all the features of the more expensive “gaming routers”. I’m using this router for everything; web surfing, gaming, voip phone, video streaming, media server with PS3, and file and print sharing. This router doesn’t miss a beat. I have experienced no shuttering or slowdowns. Video streaming is smooth and steady, and voip calls are as clear as a landline.

If you buy this router, download the latest firmware for the router on the dlink website. I struggled for two days trying to get the shared printer to work. But once I downloaded the latest firmware it worked immediately. There is a little button in the user interface that says “check for latest firmware version” or something like that. When you click it, it says you already have the latest version. That was the first thing I checked when I had problems with the printer. Two days of struggle later, I went to the dlink website and saw there was a much newer version of the firmware. So, don’t believe the little status button in the user interface, go to the dlink website and look for yourself, download and update to the latest firmware.

brandnewjesus said:I love the ease of setting reservation list, prioritizing traffic, and port forwarding to have one person watching hulu and ps3 online, and bit torrent running without and lag across the house through 3 walls, 1 insulated.

The share port utility is pretty useful if you just need to grab something off your drive real quick, but if your planning on using it to back up you downloaded movies its a little slow.

 

Price range: $127.99 – $165.00

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Jan 26

Editor’s review:

The D-Link Wireless N Router DIR-615 annihilates any excuse you may have to not move to Wireless-N (300Mbps speed cap). With a price of about $40, the router is cheaper than even some Wireless-G routers–which cap at 54mbps–such as the Linksys WRT110. And you’ll get a lot for the price. While the DIR-615 lacks Gigabit Ethernet and USB ports, it has everything else you’d want from a Wireless-N router. It has decent wireless throughput speed and range and accompanies an easy-to-use Web interface and a generous set of networking features. If you are looking for upgrade your network to Wireless-N and don’t need any fancy features, look no further than the essential DIR-615. It is a great entry-level Wireless-N router that gives you possibly the biggest bang for your buck among wireless routers.

D-Link DIR-615 Wireless N Router User Reviews

Features:

The DIR-615, as expected from the price, doesn’t have a lot of wireless features found in high-end D-Link routers, such as Dual-Band, GuestZone (which enables you to make a separate wireless network for guests), or SharePort (which allows for use with USB devices). It does have a long list of networking features and a very responsive and intuitive Web interface.

Starting with the DIR-685, D-Link incorporates a Capcha with the log-in of the Web interface. This provides more security, but if you hate having to read the distorted text, which is how the Capcha determines that the input is not generated by a computer, this could be a nuisance. The DIR-615 offers numerous network features found in other Wireless-N routers from D-Link. You can then set up manual port forwarding–where you map information coming to a certain port to another computer in the network–or use the router’s preset settings for different applications and services such as instant messengers, BitTorrent, IP phone software, virtual servers, and so on. It also offers a comprehensive set of parental control tools including Network Filter, Access Control, Web site Filter, and Inbound Control. These tools allow you to control the network and limit access to the Internet by specific criteria, such as setting a computer to only allow access to instant-messenger services during a certain period of time. The router also lets you customize its firewall to allow some services, but not others.

Some user reviews:

techzav said:

D-Link DIR-615 works great for me! We tried a Linksys WRT-120 but it was not wrking well. The D-Link is easy to set up and does everything we need. For us, an outstanding product.

It Works great for us! Easy to set up and install. Even if the DIR-615 were more expensive it would be a super value. After spending 5 hours with Linksys “live chat” our WRT-120 still would not work. We use ours for Laptops and Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DSI.

rancher33 said:

I registered just to say it works fine for me. I used the set-up CD. I connected it wireless to a Blue Ray (Wireless N) for streaming Netflix. No problems…streaming wirelessly within a hour. (On the Blue Ray I had to disable wired Dynamic IP after doing a firmware update via ethernet on the BD) Excellent signal strength…. Wireless G laptop immediately recognized the network, excellent signal strength. Ran a ethernet cable to my Directv HD DVR….recognized the connection immediately.
No lock-ups, no reboots, no error codes, no tech support calls.
Haven’t had a reboot yet.
Everyone’s experience and equipment is different, but I wanted to chime in with how it went for me.

crvols said:

On Windows 7, it is a quick, easy and flawless install. Good solid connect during heavy downloads. Steady, quick during on-line gaming such as World of Warcraft.

Many had perhaps not followed the simple instructions. Read the instructions and follow the prompts from the provided CD install disk. Full configured by itself without intervention on my behalf on a newly installed Windows 7 operating system. Excellent security settings.

I had attempted to install two different manufacture routers Netgear and a Linksystem unit. Neither would function. The perceived cheapness of the DIR-615, is no reason to pass by the unit. It is an excellent starter unit or even that of an upgrade over an older and none functioning unit.

Now Price Range

$50.71 – $64.99

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Jan 23

D-link DIR 685 Storage Router  –  A router, photo-frame and NAS

Color screen, 2.5-inch internal hard drive bay, Framechannel and BitTorrent support, 2 USB ports

The D-Link DIR-685 is a aggregate of an 802.11n wireless router, a digital photo anatomy and a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. It also has air-conditioned appearance like a built-in BitTorrent downloader and the ability to appearance a variety of content on the awning by affairs it from the internet.

 

D-Link DIR-685 Storage Router Expert Reviews

Design and Build

 

The DIR-685 is unlike any ordinary router and looks rather cool with its upright posture. The overall build quality is quite decent. The front face bears a 3.2-inch LCD display. It is meant to also double up as a photo frame other than displaying information. But here lies the problem – 3.2 inches is a little too small to be viewed clearly from a distance. Thus, you can only admire photos if the router is kept right next to you. Also, the glossy pane covering the display offers a slightly irritating glare.

There are touch-sensitive buttons at the side of the display. They were alright, but the UI is to accusation (more on that later). There’s also a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Security) button. At the back, we accept the regular array of ports: 1 WAN, 4 LAN, 2 USB and one power. There’s aswell a side-door through which a 2.5-inch laptop harder drive can be amid into the device, which is the different aspect of the device. It supports up to 500GB HDDs. There’s an banish button at the added ancillary to get the drive out.

 

D-Link DIR-685 Storage Router Expert Reviews

Features and User Interface

 

The DIR-685 is an 802.11n wireless router. Unfortunately, it only supports the 2.4 GHz spectrum. Some other routers in the market have support for 5 GHz frequencies. The basic advantage of 5 GHz is that there’s less interference from other devices than 2.4 GHz (on which many cordless phones operate). As mentioned above, it supports a 2.5-inch internal hard drive – which is great. We were able to easily read/write data to the drive over all the PCs connected to the router.

The only flaw we observed is that the device supports drives only in the EXT3 file format. Linux fans would know right away that EXT3 is a popular file format used by many OS distributions. So neither can you just pop in any FAT32 or NTFS drive in there and use it, nor can you remove that EXT3-formatted drive and use it directly with Windows. But assuming that one wouldn’t be swapping drives so often, it’s something users can live with.

Moving on, let’s take a look at the User Interface on the device. It is operated using the touch buttons at the side. The main issue with it is the UI’s laggy behavior – which makes it somewhat irritating to use. On the other hand, the coolest thing about the UI is FrameChannel. It is an online content delivery service right to your device. You have to register at their website and then select from an array of widgets. Thus, you can have Facebook/Twitter updates, Facebook photos, RSS feeds, Blog updates and a lot of other stuff streaming on to the DIR 685’s screen. This feature makes best use of the screen in our opinion; now only if the device had a bigger screen.

The Statistics menu will show current internet upload/download activity. The Photos tab will let you slideshow photographs, but only from the internal hard drive. It is silly to see that you can’t just connect a USB media device at the back and view photos from it. There are a few things missing from the UI. For example, it does not display the progress of your BitTorrent downloads – which would have been nice. It would have been nicer if it let you control downloads directly via the router.

The router’s interface (accessed via a web browser) is easy to use. It has the regular array of options and settings like a regular wireless router. The built-in BitTorrent manager lets you download files directly to the hard drive – without the need for the PC to be on. This is indeed a cool feature for those who like to suck the life out of their unlimited internet connection. But the interface is pretty basic. There is no option to schedule downloads or select individual files from a torrent. Also, it is surprising to see that there’s no regular manager for downloading files from HTTP websites.

Lastly, the two USB ports at the back let you connect a storage device, scanner or printer – which can then be used over the network. But you can’t simply access it directly via Windows Networking. You need to install a bundled utility called SharePort. We would’ve rather preferred a simple plug-and-play solution.

 

Performance

 

We tested the device in three zones. We used Wireless Monitor software to test the network strength of the device. Zone 1 was when the test laptop (a Dell Studio 14) was kept next to the router, where it gave 95% range. Zone 2 was when the laptop was kept in an adjacent room about 40 feet away. Here it gave 50%. The third zone was in another section of the office, roughly 75-80 feet away. Here the signal strength ranged between 25 to 30 percent. Thus we can say that the router provides decent signal range.

We transferred a 50MB test file between the router’s internal hard drive and the laptop in the first zone to determine speed. It gave us a fair download rate of 2.6 MB/s, but the upload speed struggled at just 0.27 MB/s. Thus copying data onto the built-in hard drive was fast. But copying data from the hard drive to our test laptop was very slow.

 

Verdict

 

The D-Link DIR-685 works well as a wireless router and offers a fairly wide range. Some of the features like Framechannel and BitTorrent support are well appreciated. But priced at Rs. 15,000, the DIR-685 is priced almost three times more than regular Wi-Fi 802.11n routers. It may be a unique product – but for its asking price, it is not even close to perfect. The photo frame feature didn’t really appeal to us due to the small screen size. That, along with the DIR 685s other shortcomings and its high price tag forbid us from recommending it.

Reference:
http://www.techtree.com/India/Reviews/D-link_DIR_685_Storage_Router/551-108885-621-1.html

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Jan 22

The company announced at CES 2010 two new Wireless-N routers: the the D-Link Touch DIR-865 and the D-Link Wireless N Pocket Router. The Touch is a flagship high-speed Wireless-N router,whereas the Pocket Router is a minimobile router for people on the go.

The D-Link new Wireless-N routers DIR-865 reviews

According to D-Link, the Touch blends power, speed, range, security, functionality, and energy efficiency into one economical box that has the shape of traditional D-Link routers, complete with three external antennas. The router sports a 3-inch interactive touch screen for easy setup, configuration, and management of the router and Internet traffic.

The Touch supports true dual-band capabilities, working in 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at the simultaneously. Three data streams offer throughput speeds of up to 450Mbps when used with the same standard wireless clients. Like all Wireless-N routers, it’s also backward compatible with earlier standards (802.11a/b/g).

The D-Link new Wireless-N routers DIR-865 reviews

If the Touch is a high-end router for the savvy user, the D-Link Wireless N Pocket Router is designed as a travel companion for people on the go, and features multimode functionality. It can be used either as a wireless router to create an 802.11n Wi-Fi network anywhere one is needed, or as an access point (AP) to add Wi-Fi to an existing wired network. The device can also be used to add wireless capability to an Ethernet-ready device, such as a desktop PC or an Xbox 360.

Despite its small size, the Pocket Router also comes with a USB port and supports D-Link’s SharePort technology, which allows the router to work as an extension of a networked computer’s USB port.

Neither of the new routers from D-Link will be available until mid 2010. Their prices and other details will be revealed then.

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