D-Link's DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router ($100 as of April 20, 2009) was one of the first gigabit draft-2.0 routers, and it's still one of the best. D-Link has added a number of valuable features via firmware updates, such as USB drive and printer sharing, and a special Wi-Fi guest zone. Factor in a low price tag plus comprehensive routing and firewall features, and it's no wonder the DIR-655 is one of our top picks.
The D-Link's throughput was very good overall, though certainly better at short range. This 3×3 antenna router also performed well with both the 2×3 and the 3×3 Intel cards.
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Housed in a drab matte-white box, the DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router won't win any design awards, but it can be mounted horizontally, vertically, or on a wall. You set up the DIR-655 through its Web utility; thanks to the utility's straightforward wizards, I had no problem getting connected. The single USB port on the rear supports flash or hard drives and printers (including multifunction devices).
Drive sharing is easy, but limited by the fact that only one Windows computer (Macs aren't supported at all) can access the drive at a time through a special system tray application. If someone is using a drive and forgets to log out, other users on the network won't be able to access it at all.
The D-Link delivered somewhat faster drive-sharing throughput than the Belkin N+ Wireless Router F5D8235-4 when we paired each router with our Western Digital MyBook drive, but it was still much slower than with a typical gigabit NAS. Printer sharing works in much the same way, with each user claiming an available printer from the system tray utility, and essentially owning that printer.
The Wi-Fi guest zone has its own SSID and encryption password to keep your primary password private, and is completely locked out of your wired network by default.
While its drive and printer sharing features have serious limitations, the D-Link would be one of our top picks even without them, thanks to its low price, great performance, easy setup, and handy guest access mode.
This story, "D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router" was originally published by PCWorld.
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