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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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The Performance section is also split into 802.11a and b sections, and each takes care of the respective standard's performance options, such as data rate, and fragmentation.  This is also where you specify whether it's necessary to be on the approved MAC address list in order to see and access the router. Also, located in the 802.11b+ section is the option to restrict it to 11 Mbps, making it an ordinary 802.11b network (so long as encryption tops out at 128 bit).

The Administration tab is where you set such items as username and password for the router, for both administrator and user accounts, remote management options, time and time zone, and a time server, if desired.  You can also save and load settings from your PC's hard drive, so you can have a back-up of the configuration should something happen to the router.Firmware upgrades are also handled here, as are some special options concerning VPN pass-throughs and dealing with PING events coming from your WAN connection, all in the Miscellaneous section.

The status tab shows all sorts of useful information, such as packet statistics, connected clients, and the router's logs, and a button to release and renew DHCP addresses.  The logs can even be saved by sending via SMTP e-mail, though a copy/paste will work just as well.

All told, this is a very advanced router, which is very worthwhile for both home users and businesses to consider.  But the lack of 802.1x security, and especially AES encryption hurts it, even with its powerful and versatile firewalling features.  Encryption is an absolute NECESSITY in a wireless network, and AES encryption is intended to run much faster and with much less overhead then the original WEP encryption, freeing more bandwidth for data transmission. Luckily, D-Link will have it implemented in a future firmware version, so we can look forward to these features eventually.  We just have to wait for them.

NIC Configuration

The drivers for these NICs are identical, and default to using the Wireless Zero configuration utility in Windows XP.  The thing is, this utility doesn't support 152 bit encryption OR 802.11a until AFTER Service Pack 1, so keep this in mind.  If you don't want to use it, you can get decent function from D-Link's utility by unchecking the appropriate box.

Anyway, once Service Pack 1 is installed in XP, or the drivers are installed in other operating systems, you're ready to go.  We'll take a quick look at configuring in Wireless Zero, since this is the default, but this doesn't change between compatible NICs.  Note, however, that Wireless Zero does not support D-Link's proprietary Turbo modes.

If you're not using XP, or if you want the proprietary D-Link features, or if you just don't like Wireless Zero in general, there's D-Link's utility.  It's fairly simple, with 3 useful tabs, and the usual "About" tab with a logo and D-Link's website.  The first tab is for general configuration

This is where you see a list of all wireless networks your computer has ever seen, or sees now.  You can add as many networks as you want to the preferred list, and these will be the networks that your computer automatically attempts to connect to.  Highlighting a network and hitting Properties brings up some of the important stuff

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