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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [02.18.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson
Manufactured by: D-Link

Dual-Mode PC Card NIC: $129
Dual-Mode PCI Card: $129
Dual-Mode Router: $270

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Router Setup

Setup of the router is a lot more advanced over the Belkin 802.11b wireless router we looked at last year, which adds to usability, but also to complexity. Some of the setup dialogs are very easy to get through, luckily, but a lot of the advanced functions are quite complex to implement. Lukily, D-Link included a simple setup-wizard to help people get started.

In addition to the standard things, including all of the 802.11b configuration we covered previously, D-Link includes their "802.11b+" items, in case you're using 100% D-Link hardware.  These include 22 Mbps turbo mode and 256 bit encryption, though they're in separate places.  Disabling of 802.11b+ mode could be placed right in the initial 802.11b+ dialog in order to facilitate compatibility with non-D-Link products.

There is also the 802.11a specific network configuration, including choosing your WEP encryption key length, as well as the separate 802.11a SSID and channel.  Also, this is where D-Link's proprietary Turbo mode is switched on or off.  Note that if you try to join the network with any non-D-Link cards, they will be unable to connect, so for mixed-brand networks, it should be left Off.  Also a note on the WEP configuration on both 802.11a AND b+: it allows either hexadecimal or ASCII keys, but they must be of an exact length that the router will specify in order to be accepted.  This is quite different from the way Belkin used a passphrase to generate keys in their 802.11b hardware.

The built-in DHCP server is fairly advanced; offering adjustment of lease-times as well as setting the range of IP addresses that can be offered to DHCP clients.

The virtual server settings operate the same as they do on most home router devices, but also include a scheduling feature, where the time of day that this rule will be available can be set.  This is handy if you only want your server available at certain times of day, and do not want to allow access any other times.  D-Link offers pre-sets here, for quick HTTP and FTP servers, among others.

This router can set the network to be invisible to all but the the network cards you specify here by their MAC address, or this list can be used as a list of cards to deny access to the network. Also, the router can be set so that the network will not even be visible unless the network card is specified in the router as being allowed to have access. Remember, MAC addresses can be cloned, but there are so many possible combinations that randomly trying them or "brute-forcing" could take years, especially if the permitted MAC list is quite short.

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