[Cu-wireless] preliminary review of D-Link DI-614+ wireless broadband gateway

niteshad at whopper.de niteshad at whopper.de
Thu Jun 27 03:32:41 CDT 2002

	Just tonight, I finally got my D-Link DI-614+ configured so that it gets
on the net, rather than providing just a fancy LAN.  The problems were mostly
due to the MAC address filtering that the cable company has recently
implemented.  (Peter, rescue us please!)
	Overall, I find that the DI-614+ is a very reasonably priced, powerful
and well-integrated piece of networking hardware.  It's only weak point is
that the web-based setup seems to be rather finicky, especially regarding
initial setup (though I hope that this will be fixed with the next firmware
upgrade.)  For some reason, the DI-614+ apparently prefers Windows and IE for its
initial setup, as opposed to Linux and Netscape.  I could gain access to
the admin account on the router through Netscape running under Linux, but the
router balked at some of the changes I made; these same settings worked fine
under windows.
	That said, everything else on the DI-604+ works great, and is very easy
to configure through the web interface.  I very quickly got the WAP function
configured (natch!) and am happy to report that the range of the DI-604+ is
ample for my ~1000 sq. ft. apartment.  The DHCP server works flawlessly. 
All aspects of the DHCP IP range and lease time are configurable.  The maximum
IP lease is three weeks.
	The hardware based, stateful firewall is also a very well implemented
feature.  Any incoming intruder will be unable to see _any_ individual
computers behind the firewall, unlike many software based firewalls on the market. 
In addition, the firewall has built in Virtual Server support for HTTP,
HTTPS, DNS, FTP, SMTP, POP3, IRC and telnet servers; any incoming traffic
passing the firewall's rules will be transparently redirected to the proper
port(s) on the proper server behind the firewall.  Additional services, such as
SSH, can be custom configured using the firewall's configuration tools. 
Actually, though I haven't yet tested this, D-Link claims that the firewall can
be configured to recognize each individual allowed open port on each computer
behind the firewall, making it very customizable.  If all of this isn't
enough, one computer can be set to operate as a DMZ (De-Militarized Zone)
outside of the firewall.
	Another excellent feature, which the DI-614+ shares with its older
sibling, the DI-714 (don't buy a 714, they're more expensive, less configurable,
and the one that I bought had a faulty WAP in it) is the ability to "clone"
the MAC address of the computer used to configure the router.  This feature
allows one to sidestep the MAC address filtering implemented by certain
broadband ISPs (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are!) use in an
attempt to discourage the use of hardware firewalls, routers, WAPs, etc.
	I'd like to mention that I bought the DI-614+ from www.PCNation.com for
US$!20.  PCNation provides free UPS Groud shipping, and their warehouse is in
Illinois.  I received my DI-614+ just 2 days after I ordered it.  
	Other features that make the DI-614+ desireable for our purposes are its
antennas, which are connected via reverse-SMA connectors, meaning that one
can remove one or both 2 dBi "rubber-ducky" antennas and replace them with,
say, a couple of 15 dBi slotted waveguide omnis, or a 10 dBi vertical
co-linear array, depending on your polarization preference.  The on-board WAP is
capable of wireless bandwidth of up to 22 Mbps, but only with certtain newer
802.11b cards.  There are also 4 switched 10/100 Base-T RJ-45 LAN network
jacks and 1 10/100 Base-T WAN port on the back of the unit, making it very
versatile as a stand-alone networking box.  
	Needless to day, I _really_ like my DI-614+ and recommend that anyone
currently in the market for a wireless broadband router/gateway strongly
consider it as an option.  



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