D-Link RangeBooster N 650

  • Editors' rating
    7.0 Very good
  • $159.99

Pros

  • Router with built-in ADSL modem available
  • RADIUS authentication
  • Windows Connect Now support

Cons

  • Not as quick as Netgear's Draft-N product
  • Patchy Draft-N interoperability

Based on Atheros silicon, the D-Link RangeBooster N 650 was one of the first Draft-N products to ship and early samples failed to impress. New firmware, however, has addressed most of the teething problems, and the DIR-635 router we examined performed well on both our throughput and range tests.

The DIR-635 is also a compact device with three prominent MIMO antennas at the rear, an integrated 4-port 10/100Mbps switch and a USB connector that can be used to configure the security settings using Windows Connect Now. A separate Ethernet port is provided for Internet connectivity, although a version with an on-board ADSL2+ modem is also available (the DSL-2740B). On the client side, PCI and USB adapters are both available, together with the PC Card we tested.

Setup is straightforward, with a wizard to locate the newly installed RangeBooster N 650 router and step you through the initial Internet and wireless configuration. The usual web-based interface handles everything from this point onwards.

By default, the wireless interface is configured to handle both 802.11b/g and Draft-N clients, although you can restrict it to just work with legacy clients if preferred. You can also disable the channel bonding if this is found to interfere with other Wi-Fi networks. Security is well catered for with legacy WEP support, missing from the first products, now available as well as WPA and WPA-2 encryption with shared key and optional RADIUS authentication if required.

An SPI firewall comes as standard, along with Network Address Translation, content filtering tools and VPN pass-through.

D-Link makes a number of performance claims, including up to 650 percent more throughput than 802.11g and speeds in excess of 100Mbps wired Ethernet. Elsewhere the company quotes a raw throughput of up to 270Mbps. However, all this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt: in our tests, the RangeBooster N 650 posted sustained transfer rates of between 60-70Mbps. Clearly this is well short of the marketing hype, and not quite as fast as the Netgear RangeMax Next. Even so, performance is pretty good, and a lot better than standard 802.11g.

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Interoperability with 802.11b/g adapters was good, but patchy with other Draft-N products. With the Belkin N1 and Linksys products, for example, we got figures pretty close to those from an all-D-link setup. But then these cards use the same Atheros chipset. With non-Atheros adapters the RangeBooster N 650 dropped back to 802.11g rates or lower.

Specifications

General
Frequency Band 2.4 GHz
Authentication Method RADIUS
Authentication Method RADIUS
Status Indicators Power, link OK, status, link/activity
Encryption Algorithm 128-bit WEP, 64-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2
Networking
Form Factor desktop
Type wireless router
Connectivity Technology wired, wireless
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft)
Network / Transport Protocol IPSec, L2TP, PPPoE, PPTP
Features DHCP support, NAT support, content filtering, dynamic DNS server, dynamic IP address assignment, firewall protection, Quality of Service (QoS), Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI), Syslog support, URL filtering, VPN passthrough, auto-negotiation, auto-sensing per device, auto-uplink (auto MDI/MDI-X)
Compliant Standards IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft), IEEE 802.1x, IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u
Wireless Protocol 802.11b/g/n (draft)
Switching Protocol Ethernet
Remote Management Protocol HTTP
Spread Spectrum Method DSSS, OFDM
WAN Ports Qty 1
Integrated Switch 4-port switch
Key Features VPN support, firewall
Modem
Antenna Qty 3
Type none
Power Device
Type external power adapter
Interface Provided
Type management, network
Interface Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX
Qty 1, 4
Connector Type 4 pin USB Type A, RJ-45
WAN / DMZ WAN
Type LAN, WAN, management
Miscellaneous
Encryption Algorithm 128-bit WEP, 64-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2
Microsoft Certifications Compatible with Windows 7
Antenna
Antenna External detachable
Antenna Qty 3
Directivity omni-directional
Antenna Form Factor external detachable
Header
Brand D-Link
Product Line D-Link RangeBooster N
Model DIR-635
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility Mac, PC
Dimensions & Weight
Width 7.6 in
Depth 4.6 in
Height 1.2 in
Weight 10.58 oz
Cable Details
Type network cable
Included Qty 1
Form Factor external
Slot Required
Type none
CNET Labs' Benchmarks
CNET Labs maximum throughput tests (at 10 feet, in Mbps) 68.1
CNET Labs long-range tests (in Mbps) 41.04

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