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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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All PCI wireless NICs should come like this.  Usually, they'll have the antenna in the back of the PC, way down by the floor, usually under a desk, where most radio signals can't really get to well.  But with this NIC, D-Link just has some wires coming out of the back of it, leading to a nicely stylish antenna to be placed on the desk for improved reception.  While I'm sure this increases production cost, and therefore retail price of the card, many people would most likely end up buying add-on antennas afterwards if it were simply hanging off the back of the PCI card.  This shows a lot of forethought on D-Link's part, giving the user a good solution out of a single box.  But I wonder if they should have put the power and activity LEDs on the antenna unit, instead of the back of the PCI card?  Admittedly, with the network icons available in Windows to show network activity, they can be a bit redundant, but they're nearly useless sitting on the back of the PC.

I also wonder about the placement of the heatsink pictured below.  Not that it's placed on the back of the card, but the fact that the chips on this card get so warm as to need one in the first place.

The Router

This is a nice, lightweight device, that is just serious enough looking for an office, and just cool enough looking to sit in your living room.  Not only that, there are multiple installation options, including some holes which can be slid over screws so the router can be wall-mounted (screws are included, along with a CAT-5 cable).  There are also brackets and lugs that make it stackable with compatible D-Link devices for your own personal mini-rack.  The ideal setup, however, is sitting  flat, so you can see the indicator lights.  The one thing that was NOT included was rubberized feet so the device won't slide.

Not to worry, the stacking lugs are multipurpose, since they ARE rubberized.  They're not exactly large enough at the point of contact to make proper feet, but they serve the purpose quite well, without even looking improvised.

On the rear, we see 4 switched LAN ports, and a 10/100 WAN port.  Most WAN uplinks in the home are only 10BaseT right now, but they may get faster soon, and businesses could likely be using faster uplinks that require a 100BaseTX connection, so this is well though out.  We also see something quite critical here: a hard reset button, which some manufacturers take a pass on.


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