Archive for April, 2011

D-Link DIR-600 Quick Setup Guide and Micro Review

 

Alright,

Today I decided to review one of my latest routers, the D-Link DIR-600.
The DIR-600 is a small and nice-looking router.

But the looks are not everything.
Just like most of the home-network routers (a.k.a. cheap routers), you will find annoying bugs on it and probably complain about reliability (you will).

Let’s look at its packaging.

Main Box

Box Set

The DIR-600 is bundled with a regular 2M CAT5E ethernet cable (up to 100mb/s).
The box pictures are of my own, and as you can see I haven’t even untied the cable.
This is because my home is fully wired with CAT6 cable, which allows up to 1 Gb/s.

D-Link DIR-600 Inside

Inside the box, below the manuals

Make no mistake, though. This router does NOT allow you to reach such speed.
I only recommend wiring with CAT5E if you have a (very) tiny budget.

CAT6 is the future and it is backwards compatible so it makes sense to do this, as you might get a CAT6 router in the near future. (You can already get one for less than $100)

Moving on: setting up the D-Link DIR-600 is pretty straight forward.

  1. Connect your xDSL or Cable Modem to the WAN port on the router (skip this if you are going to use it as an Access Point)
  2. Using the supplied (or not) ethernet cable, connect your computer to the router’s LAN1 port.
  3. Run the installation CD and follow the On-Screen instructions.

After the installation/setup completes, you will be able to log into the router’s administration panel by pointing your browser to http://192.168.0.1/.
By default, your username is “admin” and no password is assigned, so just leave the password field blank and click on the “Log In” button.


Advanced Setup

I rarely recommend you to keep the basic settings, so here’s what I recommend you to do:

  1. Log into the router by pointing your browser to http://192.168.0.1/ (again, the username is admin and the password should be blank by default)
  2. Click on “Manual Internet Connection Setup” (see screenshot below)
  3. This will bring you to the Internet Connection options page.
    Try to replicate the settings below.

    D-Link DIR-600 Internet Options

    Internet Connection Options

    The main changes you will be doing are:

    » Adding a Hostname (I used DIR-600 but you can use anything else)
    » Using Google’s Public DNS Servers (this is totally optional but I do recommend it)

    After that, Save your settings by clicking on the “Save Settings” button.

  4. Click on the “LAN Setup” link in the left sidebar. Scroll the page down until you find the “DHCP Server Settings” section.
    Make sure that your DHCP Server is enabled, and set the DHCP Lease Time to 14400 (at least).Now here comes a scary part for rookies. Find out your MAC address.
    This is actually easy, just follow these instructions (the Windows XP instructions also work on Windows Vista/Windows 7).
  5. Now that you have your computer’s MAC Address, scroll down the “LAN Setup” page.
    Under “DHCP Reservation”, enter your computer name, select an IP for it (an example would be 192.168.0.2) and the MAC Address.IMPORTANT: Make sure you check the no-label/no-name checkbox. This is actually the box to enable that specific rule.
    Repeat this for all your computers (or at least the ones you intend to connect-to the most).Save your settings.
  6. Click on “Wireless Setup”. If you do not intend to use WPS, I suggest disabling it.
    Try replicating the settings below.

    D-Link DIR-600 Wireless Setup

    Wireless Setup

    I recommend hiding your SSID, just like you see on the screenshot. In terms of security this is technically useless,  but at least it won’t broadcast your network name and basic settings to everyone in your street with a good wireless card.

    Make sure you select a good WPA key.
    If you need to generate a network key, I recommend using Wireless Key Generator.

    Make sure you print your password and store it in a safe and easy to remember place.
    Or, just save it as an encrypted text file on your computer.

    You will need this key everytime you need to attach a new wireless device to your network, so forgetting or losing the password will inevitably force you to reset the WPA key on the router (which in turn means you will have to reconfigure every device all over again to use the new key).

    Save your settings and configure your Wireless Devices with your WPA Key.

  7. Do not forget to pay a visit to the Time Settings. Make sure everything’s correct to avoid issues in the future – and start browsing!

This should cover the basics.
I have been using this router on my home, together with an ASUS WL-520GU (acting as an access point amd print server).

So far, the issues aren’t overwhelming but I reckon this router could be better.
Here’s the list of small (but annoying) issues that I have had with it:

  1. DNS Timeouts when using the DNS Relay option (resolved by using Google’s Public DNS Servers)
  2. DHCP Server Timeouts when connecting or requesting a new IP address (Resolved by using Static IPs)
  3. For some reason my PS3 does not like this router. It would never get an IP from DHCP when connected via Ethernet. (Resolved by setting up a Manual IP on XMB)

Apart from those issues, the router works pretty well and it does handle traffic smoothly.
Still, I cannot recommend it for the “regular joe”; because the issues I have had would have been literally a nightmare for new and inexperienced users (I can see most of them just returning it).