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D-Link DI-524 Wireless Router

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Date: 2005-04-19 12:47
Author: Dave Upton (Massa)
Category: User Reviews

Introduction

D-Link was founded in 1986, and since then has catered to both consumer and SOHO users. D-Link is already a well known name in the home networking market, however in the past D-Link products have been considered inferior to those of their competitors such as Linksys (Cisco) and Netgear (Bay Networks). Recently this stigma has begun to disappear with D-Link taking a large portion of the home and SOHO markets. The D-Link DI-524 is one of the company's new series of Wireless-G routers, offering transfer speeds of up to 54Mbps and WPA encryption.

 

In the Box

- D-Link Users Manual and Software CD
- DC Power Adapter
- Wall mounting bracket
- D-Link DI-524 Wireless G Broadband Router

Click to expand


Click to expand

 

Specifications

Standards
• IEEE 802.11g
• IEEE 802.11b
• IEEE 802.3
• IEEE 802.3u

Security
• 802.1X
• 64-, 128-bit WEP
• WPA — Wi-Fi Protected Access (WEP with TKIP, MIC, IV Expansion, Shared Key Authentication)

Modulation Technology
• Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM)

VPN Pass Through/Multi-Sessions
• PPTP
• L2TP
• IPSec

Device Management
• Web-Based – Internet Explorer v6 or later; Netscape Navigator v6 or later; or other Java- enabled browsers.
• DHCP Server and Client

Advanced Firewall Features
• NAT with VPN Pass-through (Network Address Translation)
• MAC Filtering
• IP Filtering
• URL Filtering
• Domain Blocking
• Scheduling

Wireless Operating Range**
• Indoors: Up to 328 ft (100 meters)
• Outdoors: Up to 1312 ft (400 meters)

Wireless Frequency Range
• 2.4GHz to 2.462GHz

Wireless Transmit Power
• 15dBm ± 2dBm

External Antenna Type
• Single detachable reverse SMA

Operating Temperature
• 32°F to 131°F (0°C to 55°C)

LEDs
• Power
• Status
• WAN
• WLAN (Wireless Connection)
• LAN (10/100)

Dimensions
• L = 5.6 inches (142mm)
• W = 4.3 inches (109mm)
• H = 1.2 inches (31mm)

Warranty
• 3 Year

Extra Features

The DI-524 supports the PPTP WAN addressing scheme (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, a new technology for creating Virtual Private Networks VPNs) which is a nice non-standard feature.

 

The Review

I am writing this review after using the product for approximately 2 months. I will start with an examination of the user interface and configuration options:

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As you can see this model offers the standard Wizard feature offered by D-Link.

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This Wizard is ideal for home users who know little about networking. A few simple clicks with easy-to-follow instructions will have even the most illiterate user up and running in no time. You are able to set a password, time zone, and the router will automatically detect the WAN taking you to the following page:
Click to expand
Here I have selected Static IP, as my internet connection has an assigned IP address, however most home users will have the Dynamic IP Address option selected. Upon selecting Dynamic IP Address the user can input a host name, and clone the computers MAC address if necessary.

Certain DSL providers in Canada such as Telus restrict the connection to a single computers MAC address. The clone MAC address feature on this router is extremely useful to users who have an ISP with this policy as it will save you a phone call to their Customer Service department.

The next screen presented by the wizard is the wireless SSID (Service Set Identifier – the public name of your wireless network) configuration page. Here you can set the SSID and channel of the device.

Click to expand

After this configuration you are prompted to set up encryption, and can enter a WEP encryption key to secure your wireless network.

Click to expand

This concludes the wizard setup and should satisfy most home users; however, for those of us that like to set up every little detail there are a few more pages of advanced configuration. I will start with the advanced tab.

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Here you are presented with basic virtual server configuration, which is used to give WAN users access to LAN services.

The next pane is the Application tab where simple port forwarding rules can be set for applications that need multiple connections.

Click to expand


Most of the configuration that I chose to do was done under the Firewall pane. Here you can see more extensive options for configuring ports that you would like open at all times, for example ports used by a VNC client or a game you play frequently. This is also where rules are usually set for instant messaging programs such as MSN Messenger which requires a range or TCP ports to be opened between port 6891 and 6900 as seen here:

Click to expand

You can configure port ranges to be allowed or disallowed for a range of IP addresses, and also dictate traffic source and destination. Another useful feature is the option to limit traffic based on time of day if for instance you wish to block all Bittorrent ports overnight.

The DI-524 offers standard DMZ configuration, however it does offer an interesting panel for changing wireless performance settings:

Click to expand

A number of interesting settings can be changed fron this page, but I will only focus on antenna power, as the remaining features are beyond my needs and knowledge to explain appropriately. You can set the antenna power to 100, 50, 25, or 12.5%. This is useful for users who are concerned with broadcasting inside an apartment building and wish to limit the range of the device.

Under the Tools tab the user is presented with the option to change the password, set up remote management, and upgrade the firmware. Another feature that has been included in this product and is becoming more popular is the ability to save or load configuration settings on your computer from the System pane.

Finally back under the home tab you can access wireless settings. Here you can enable or disable WEP and WPA encryption, (Note that WPA cannot be enabled from the wizard with the current firmware) set the SSID, and set up a WEP key or configure WPA radius servers.

That concludes the interface portion of the review, now on to some numbers.

I tested internet throughput both with and without the router, and as you can see, the difference is negligible:

Click to expand

I highly recommend enabling WEP despite the speed decrease it poses (please see Tom “Bouncer” Blakely’s review of the SMC 7004AWBR as he evaluates these differences).

 

Conclusion

D-Link has put out a solid product in the DI-524. In the time I have used it I have had to reboot it once during heavy file transfer. The configuration options are more than adequate for your average user and the product is extremely easy to configure. Selling for under $50.00 I have to recommend this router as a great performer for its price. It offers remarkable stability compared to other products I have owned and with a solid management interface it is a safe choice for the less technically inclined.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Rating
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by Eddie Z - 2006-01-08 17:43
After using Linksys products I decided to give this wireless router a try. I have to admit it is a good little product. It's very easy to set up and the signal throughout my location is very reliable. Not a bad price either.
by John - 2006-02-08 10:24
Just to make sure your information is accurate, Linksys is a Cisco company and NetGear is the Bay Networks company.
by anonymous - 2006-03-12 11:28
I've owned two of these junkers. neither one lasted very long. I switched to a linksys and have had no problems. I've also had problems with Dlink wireless cards (difficult to install) I can't speak for everyone else out there, but I'll stay away from Dlink products in the future.
by craigchambers - 2007-03-22 07:17
Caveat emptor -

If you're looking for something with full WPA support, look elsewhere. I have no problems with my Cisco access point, but having bought this to do some testing, I find that it doesn't make any attempt to speak with the radius server.
The tech support have not answered my query in 3 months regarding this - useless.
by Jeff - 2007-04-07 10:36
I have been using a DI-524 for about 3 1/2 years now and have been very pleased with the ease of installation as well as it's continued performance. I purchased it to set up a home wireless for when my daughter brings her destop home from college. Both our computers have D-link wirless cards plus I have added a D-Link DWL-710 range extender so I could use my laptop anywhere in the house or yard (Router is in the basement.)
While I don't understand all the different types of encryption for security, I do have my network secured. Initially it was only WEP 64 bit, but I've moved up to the 128 bit encryption. All of this was easlily accomplished both on the router and the range extender.
One of the reasons I bought the router originally was 1. the price and 2. the availability of the range extender.
Overall, a good easy to use, even for a beginner, product.
by chumly - 2007-04-22 08:12
While I have stayed away from WEP and opted for MAC address filtering and turning off broadcast of network and DHCP this gives me a seure network. I like the router, easy to use.
I stayed away from WEP because I install many operating systems and it is a pain to set up wep everytime. I have used this router for 3 years with no problems. The only times i have had to reboot is when I am having trouble with my cable modem.
by hocco - 2007-06-09 08:17
Hi,

I'm having a problem to configure this router, so it will allow to download from torrents. I know that the incoming port is 18768 but failed to find out how to configure the router.

Thanks a lot for help!!!
by anonymous - 2007-06-12 02:54
I will say that this product is excellent, though I feel some signal issues, but i think a good antenna should fix that. Overall its easy to configure. D-Link is good.
by anonymous - 2007-06-12 15:40
To counterpoint some of the early comments. Linksys may have a few products that work, but you are making a mistake to buy "new" or "cutting edge" products from them. Their customer service stinks, and they release defective products without proper testing or support. I've not heard similar complaints concerning D-link.
by Gil13 - 2007-10-06 06:41
>Specifications

missing : SPI implemented
by anonymous - 2007-12-17 17:38
Earlier, someone wrote:

"While I have stayed away from WEP and opted for MAC address filtering and turning off broadcast of network and DHCP this gives me a seure network."

This is absolutely incorrect - turning off SSID broadcasting and using MAC address filtering will NOT give you a secure network. Actually, neither will WEP. At a minimum use WPA with a long Pre Shared Key.
by eXtreM3 - 2008-04-20 04:48
Hello i have a problem with the Dlink DI 524 Wireless router... It is a good product, but after a random period of time , the router goes in someking of stanby mode or... I don't know.. It just disconnects from my broadband internet protocol and I lose my conection... The interesting thing is that it doesen't disconnect when there is no traffic, exactley the opposite, when I'm playing or when downloading or just chatting...why? If u can help , please post a reply, thnx.
by anonymous - 2008-05-26 17:16
For downloading with torrents, i followed all the guides but still had problems with my router having a full connections. (Incoming) There was one step that was left out of all the guides. In the router setup 192.168.0.1 blah blah Under the DHCP menu, I had to enable Static IP for my pc's ip address instead of letting the router use DHCP to assign the IP. As soon as that was done, my lights lit up green.
by anonymous - 2008-06-15 23:39
my router is having problems. it switches to my neigbors router then it has 1 bar... -.-
by blue_bottle_boy - 2008-08-01 08:58
I also have a problem with staying connected to the router. Every so often I loose connection to it. Is there a diagnostic tool which will help me analyse the problem?
by anonymous - 2008-10-09 17:33
There's a firmware upgrade that should fix those dropped connections. I remember doing this for this model a few years back. Check the D-Link site.
by tomapio - 2008-12-27 11:49
I have the same router and I haven't experimented any problems in more than 5 years. Just remember to change the antenna (I put a dlink 5 dbi) to increase the range and to update the firmware at least once a year.
by anonymous - 2008-12-27 13:40
I have problems with this product: Short signal range (2 rooms apart it already drops connections), slow performance when encryption is set on (pages take far longer to load), and it doesn't work with my MacBook (mac doesn't see it) and my HTC phone. I will have to replace it for these reasons.
by joseph - 2009-01-13 11:41
I recently attempted to upgrade the firmware from v1.11 to v1.23. Now, my wireless connection doesn't work. The wireless switch icon continually shows the red 'X'... even though I can view available networks... I just can't connect. (My connection via ethernet cable still works fine.) Restarting router and laptop doesn't fix.

Could all this have been caused by my performing the firmware upgrade using the wireless connection (which was advised against by Dlink)?

I've tried using the cable connection to re-update the firmware. No effect.

I've tried downloading new drivers (Intel(R) PRO/Wirelss 2200BG and Wireless Switch Setting Utility). No effect.

Any ideas?
by Philip - 2009-01-13 17:00
You should probably login to the admin interface in the router and go over the wireless settings, something may have been changed/reset by a firmware upgrade.
by anonymous - 2009-09-03 23:06
I bought one of these routers, along with a friend of mine. We both had trouble with the router maintaining it's port forwarding settings. After dealing with this problem for almost a year, I bought a linksys router and have had no trouble with it.
by antyl - 2009-09-06 18:40
to see more wireless router reviews
by zoltan - 2009-11-17 10:40
well known?

sure

equated with quality or service?

whose shill are you?
by zoltan - 2009-11-17 10:41
wow 'nat' really? gee, thanks?

provide a bit more detail.. something about cones and hybrids

or are you another product of the copy paste generation?
by mewnlite - 2009-11-22 05:31
One of my computers is a webserver. So there is a lot of port forwarding going on. I started out with a Linksys that was a pain. After only a few months I lost a port on it and switched to a DI-604. I never had a bit of problems with that but I wanted wireless so I went to the DI-524. I have never had any issues with it. One port feeds a switch which has 4 live webcams attached to it, all ported differently. Any time I make any port forwarding changes I also program them into the old 604 which I keep to fall back on just in case. I haven't had to use it in probably about three years time. The wireless feature is turned off most of the time, but works flawlessly when I need it.
OK - what got me here in the first place was I was searching for an answer to why I am getting TWO MAC addresses in my status window. One is just MAC address and the other is WAN MAC address. They are both identical except that one ends in f4 and the other f5. How can the same piece of equipment have 2 MAC addresses at the same time? :-)
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