Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars D-Link Needs to Work on Their Software, June 20, 2008
This review is from: D-Link DWA-556 Xtreme N PCI Express Desktop Adapter (Personal Computers)
I have a D-Link 655 Xtreme N router, and it has worked very well. I decided to purchase an Xtreme N PCI-E network adapter (D-Link DWA 556) to make the most of the speeds these units were supposed to be capable of together. I purchased the DWA 556 through Amazon and had my son bring it to me in Thailand, as he was about to visit. I also purchased a D-Link DWA 130 Xtreme N USB network adapter. The DWA 130 has worked very well, for the most part. The DWA 556 has been another story.

To make a long story short, I had multiple problems installing the card and getting it to work. Some of these had to do with the bios, as my motherboard is about a year and a half old and it had issues with getting the pci-express slot to work. I (my son actually) was able to get the card to work after using a very good bios update utility from Asus. However, upon returning from a trip of a few days, the software for the card seemed to be acting up. It appeared at times to have difficulty making a secure connection with the router after entering the password, though I have Windows XP and this was apparently a known issue only with Windows 2000. If I disabled the card through windows, windows was unable to enable it. If I tried to open the connection manager, often the window would not open at all, so no adjustments could be made.

Inspired by the fact that the card had worked well for a brief period, I went ahead and updated the driver from the D-Link website. The updating process was not smooth at all. At times the update would hang up part way, but then still act as if it was installed later. When I tried again later, the installation went through, but terminated with a sign that told me there was no card to be found on the machine. A final installation seemed to be successful, but I was then unable to boot my machine at all. It would get to the Windows screen, then shut down and restart repeatedly. I first removed the card, but this did not help. Finally I booted in safe mode and removed all of the software for the DWA 556. At that point everything returned to normal.

When I called tech support, they said that my mistake was to have purchased the card in the US and then to have used it on a machine purchased in Thailand. They said my having taken the card out of the country also voided the warranty, so I am left with a loss of about $80.

I am not fully persuaded by the argument that the source of the problems was my using the card in a different region. Some of the problems I experienced were also mentioned in reviews of a similar card (D-Link 552) within the US with a US-made machine. An example would be the fact that at certain points when using the D-Link connection manager, the load on the CPU would be really high (in my case making for a whine from the computer that was very hard to tolerate or work with). Furthermore, some of these problems, like getting the connection manager to open up, also occurred with an older D-Link wireless G network adapter that I had purchased in Thailand.

Since I am not an expert in these matters, I cannot thoroughly assess the idea about using parts in a different region. I feel I have to give D-Link the benefit of the doubt there. I do want to say this, however. Why don't the makers of these products spend more time on developing decent software? If you read online reviews of supposedly high-end network adapters (D-Link as well as others), you wouldn't really want to buy ANY of them. Often the problems appear to be in the software. To summarize my own experience, my D-Link software was unable to work fluidly with two different adapters from D-Link (one a card and one as USB backup). The connection manager for the DWA 556 overloaded the CPU. Often I could not get the connection manager to open up at all. Finally, I had problems several times getting through the password stage on a secure connection (with a very good D-Link router).

I would like to urge big companies like D-Link to ease up on the breakneck race to make new products available at an ever faster pace, and instead start offering software that is fully tested, reliable, and easy to work with. This would save many earnest computer users hours of figuring and trying things out, when their technicians and developers should be doing that work in advance.

I give this product a three because I think it probably can work well given the right conditions, but I feel the software is really poor.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 27, 2008 10:23:40 AM PDT
D-link seems to make poor drivers/software for these gigabit devices.

Posted on Mar 21, 2010 12:49:48 AM PDT
I have this exact same card and ran into similar problems with D-Link driver/software. What you need to do is download the ATHEROS AR5xxx/AR9xxx Network driver, the latest version for xp is ATHEROS AR5xxx/AR9xxx Version 7.7.0.466. Station Driver has the latest available drivers to download or just search the web http://www.station-drivers.com/page/atheros.htm. I believe this card uses the ATHEROS chip in it so these drivers are specifically written for it. Download the latest drivers from ATHEROS and all your problems should disappear. Hope this helps anyone out there.

Posted on Sep 29, 2010 9:27:47 PM PDT
malphig says:
D-Link has made the best router since Vista first came out, and it is still the best router under Windows 7 and Server 2008R2. It is upsetting, as the reviewer points out, that the network adpaters that they make don't work correctly -- especially since the problem could probably be fixed by a software fix rather than a hardware change.
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