D-Link DIR-645 - Whole-Home Router

4/20/2012 5:29:27 PM

5 stars

Price: $119.99

D-Link DIR-645 is a break of router’s rule. Instead of being a fat short box with a short antenna, it is a bright black round cylinder. According to D-Link, it has something special inside to help improve wireless speed – which the company calls SmartBeam technology.

Instead of two or three normal isotropic antennas at the top, DIR-645 has six directional antennas inside its cover. They are designed to comunicate with wireless devices on your network and focus capacity on devices that need it, improve coverage range while avoiding interference. This method is against the one carried out by many high-glass routers that use less crowded 5GHz bandwidth to improve performance: DIR-645 just uses 2.4GHz.

Certainly, SmartBeam sounds effective. When tested with laptop using Centrino 2, DIR-645 outstood as the fastest router we have ever seen, outspacing Buffalo GigaStation WZR-G450H. At 1m range, we saw 46.6Mbytes/s in comparison to 44.3Mbytes/s for Buffalo, and in the test of 25m range where some routers even can not maintain the connection, DIR-645 could transfer files at a speed of 18.5Mbytes/s compared to 18.4Mbytes/s for Buffalo WZR-HP-G450H. Turning on channel-bonding turbo mode slowed down everything, so we set router in 20MHz mode.

Description: Description: D-Link DIR-645

However, when we tested router with D-Link DWA-160 USB adaptor our testing speed was slowed down staright away. We only saw 13.1Mbytes/s and 2Mbytes/s speeds at the ranges of 10m and 25m, respectively. It is completely in contrast with WZR-HP-G450H, which can stranfer files even faster than its own dongle. We tried testing router again with Dynamode WL-700N-MRT adaptor. With this one, we saw 56.1Mbytes/s, 54.8Mbytes/s, and 15Mbytes/s at the ranges of 1m, 10m, and 25m, respectively.

DIR-645 is easy to set up and configure. It has no preset modem, so you will have to plug cable or ADSL router into ‘Internet’ port of DIR-645 with Ethernet cable. Once you did that, you just need to plug PC or laptop into D-Link router via Ethernet and run the setup CD. It will check internet connectivity, remind you to set up admin password for router, and take you through setting up WPA or WPA2 encryption for wireless network. All steps are explained in detail, which makes the whole process become easy; the only strange part is that you have to disable Windows firewall before the setup runs, but you can turn it on later, and you are protected by router’s firewall during setup process.

With higher-glass setups, you will need router’s web interface. It is well presented with the main menus along the top, and the secondary menus on the left. It is not as nice as the interface of Cisco X3000 or third-party DD-WRT firmware, but it is easy to find the port forwarding feature and QoS, and besides, options are clear and explained obviously.

DIR-645 has a back USB port that you can use to share media file from flash USB drive or hard drive. Router can act as iTunes server or in DLNA mode, which allows you to share music, videos, and photos with DLNA player apps such as Windows Media Player, or with compatible devices such as TVs and phones. We did not encounter any problem in sharing media file from flash USB drive or hard drive with NTFS or FAT32 format – we could not make Buffalo WZR-HP-G450H’s media sharing feature work.

Share interests

You can also share the whole flash USB drive or hard drive via internet as if it was NAS device. You will have to install D-Link SharePort Plus app on each PC you want to use for accessing the drive – your network drive appears on the software, and you just need to double click to open it in Windows Explorer. It is for you to share USB printer online, but while the software was able to recognize our Lexmark Interpret S405 printer, we encountered a BSoD hanging (deathly black screen) when trying to connect to it.

D-Link DIR-645 is an extremely impressive router, and is the fastest router we have ever seen when tranferring files to a Centrino 2 laptop. D-Link 802.11n Dongle is disappointing, but when we combined router with a cheap Dynamode model, we found a high speed. It is not as fast as Buffalo WZR-HP-G450H in general, but it has better interface, and USB storage features do well. It is worths buying.


Verdict. Fast, easy, and good-looking, DIR-645 is an excellent router. However, avoid D-Link DWA-160 dongle.

Cable wireless router. 802.11n (300Mbytes/s), 4 LAN ports (10/100/1000Mbytes/s), 1 WAN port, UPnP, QoS, 190x95x117mm, two-year RTB warranty.

Power consumption: 3W at active mode

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