The Advanced tab is where all the fun starts as D-Link offers an impressive range of features to play with. The virtual server page provides enough entries to redirect inbound traffic to 24 different destinations such as web and FTP servers and all systems on the LAN that have received an IP address via the router are available in drop-down lists. There is also the same number of options for port forwarding and each entry can contain single port numbers and ranges. Schedules are created from the Tools tab and these can be applied to both virtual server and port forwarding rules to determine when they are active. D-Link’s QoS (quality of service) is a smart feature as it allows up to ten rules to be used to prioritise specific traffic types.
For testing we used our standard residential environment and installed the DWA-645 PC Card in a 1.6GHz Fujitsu Siemens notebook running Windows XP SP2. Using the open source Iometer we wirelessly linked the laptop with a Supermicro Pentium D 3.2GHz on the LAN and with no encryption over a two metre line of sight connection it reported an average raw read throughput of 64Mbps – slightly slower than the Nfiniti. We then activated the WPA-Personal encryption options and saw Iometer return 46Mbps.
For real world performance we saw a 691MB video file copied from the laptop over an open link to the PC in 109 seconds for an average speed of 51Mbps and with WPA2 in action this dropped down to 46Mbps. Moving the laptop to the floor below and placing two brick walls in the way slowed D-Link down significantly with an open link delivering a meagre 29Mbps – not much better than most standard MIMO wireless routers.
As with any draft-n wireless product you’re taking a gamble on future upgradeability as D-Link will not guarantee either that the DIR-635 will be forward compatible with future 802.11n specifications or that it will even work with other vendor’s draft-n products. Performance is noticeably better than standard MIMO routers but we were unable to substantiate the improved range claims. If you already have a MIMO type wireless router and are happy with it we’d say stay put for the moment although the high level of general features offered by D-Link does make for a tempting proposition.