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Written by Carl 'lowlight' Nelson [07.14.00]
Manufactured by: ZyXEL, Umax, Netgear, Linksys, and D-Link
Suggested Retail Price Price: Varies - $100-200
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D-Link DI-701

The DI-701 stands out if course because of its price.  At a MSRP of just $115, it is the cheapest unit in this round (and cheaper than I have seen overall!) An even better deal can be had if you use IBuyer's search engine (Here's a link directly to the product page for you).  At under $100, this is a stunning deal.

You can click on the picture to the right for a higher resolution shot.

1. Ease of Installation

The DI-701 was one of two units that required you to install software to set it up.  The others simply allowed you to run their ip address through your (4.x and up) browser, and set it up from there.  Whether this is an advantage or a disadvantage depends on your personal preference.  Either way is easy enough, but some might find it easier to run the software and set it up, than it is to type in the ip address into your browser.  The only disadvantage, I guess, would be having to install more software onto your system.  If you're like me, you try to keep Windows as clean as possible (do you know anyone who has been running Windows for more than 6 months? I feel sorry for them).

This is the main setup windows (out of four total).  As you can see, the setting up of these routers is pretty simple.  In the 'Management' tab (not shown) you enter your "Router Name". This can be confusing at first.  This is basically the name your ISP gives you to set up your PC, mine is cr730731-a, that should seem familiar to you cable users out there.  Next, you tell it to obtain the port information automatically; this tells the router to get the info from your ISP's DHCP server, just like your PC normally does when you boot up.  Your router will then act as a DHCP server to your system(s).  This means that if you were already set up for cable or DSL access, this is pretty much all you have to do!

Setting up the DI-701 was an absolute breeze.  One thing I should mention is that you have to make sure you plug the cable modem into the router BEFORE you power it up.  This will prevent many problems (I didn't do that the first time using this, and I couldn't get it working at first...).

2. Value

How can less than $100 NOT be value? Pictured here are all the contents of the DI-701 package (not including the AC adapter, which all units come with, obviously).

The manual is pretty decent; well written for first time installers.  It was obviously originally written in English, which is nice (if you speak English).

The blue cable you see is a crossover Ethernet cable, for attaching your router to a hub or to your PC.  You NEED to use this type of cable if you are attaching FROM a router to anything!  Also included is a serial cable for TFTP access (which you'll need to upgrade the firmware).

All in all, the DI-701 contains everything you need, assuming you have Ethernet cables to go from your modem to it, and from your hub to your PC's. 


Want to see the full picture? Click for higher resolution.

3. Virtual Server Setup

Virtual Server setup was fairly easy with the D-Link DI-701.  Just run the config utility, go to the 'Virtual Server' dialogue, and enter the port you want to open, and the local IP of the computer you are opening.

The problem I had with this method is that the most common ports aren't listed until after you type it in.  If you want to open Telnet port, you'll have to know that it is Port 23.  Other than that, it was pretty simple.  The ports close or open as soon as you hit 'Save'.  One thing I did like was the ability to browse for the IP you want to open the port on (rather than remember each PC's IP individually).

4. Flash Upgrading

This unit was the only one that required you to log on via the serial cable to do ANYTHING.  To upgrade the firmware, just download the latest file, and follow the instructions here.  Using the cable was pretty simple, but it required more effort than should be needed.

5. Taste Test

  • Ease of Installation: B Having to install software can be a nuisance.  There also weren't many settings available to change from the software.
  • Value: B The price can be beat (but it can get close, as we're about to see).  Only one cable is included, so make sure you have enough at home.
  • Virtual Server Setup: C+ I would have liked at least a list of the most common ports...
  • Flash Upgrading: C- There is no reason we should have to plug more cables to our PC to upload firmware.

Overall: C+ / 70% (Not scaled to out normal grading system)

All these images can be clicked on for a high- res version!

    

Next: Linksys BEFSR11

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: D-Link DI-701
Page 3: Linksys BEFSR11
Page 4: Netgear RT-311
Page 5: Umax Ugate 3000
Page 6: ZyXEL Prestige 310
Page 7: Conclusions

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