Customer Review

414 of 423 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reliable, solid router with wireless performance comparable to routers twice as expensive, July 23, 2012
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This review is from: D-Link Wireless N 300 Mbps Home Cloud App-Enabled Broadband Router (DIR-605L) (Personal Computers)
In my capacity as IT admin, general geek, and most importantly family tech support rep, I make lots of recommendations for tech purchasing. So when both my parents and myself needed new routers to replace aging 802.11g routers, I went to work researching. Long story short -- this router from Dlink, the 605L, is extremely reliable and has excellent range, which are the most important criteria for home users.

Solid routers are notoriously difficult to find/recommend. You may have noticed that even the highest-rated routers on Amazon (such as the Cisco-Linksys e4200v2 and the Asus Dark Knight n66u) both have as many as 15-30% 1 and 2-star reviews! Why is there so much divergence in opinion? For one, networking equipment performance varies depending on location installed, and the experience of the installer. Choosing the right place to put the router, upgrading to the most stable firmware, and choosing the right channel/band/bandwidth are just as important as the device itself.

In my personal research I narrowed the field down to 4 models: two expensive, feature-rich models (the above-mentioned linksys and asus), capable of hard-drive/printer sharing, gigabit switch ports, and three-stream dual-band operation for maximum bandwidth, and two inexpensive but reliable, stable, and easily configured models (this model, Dlink 605L, and the linksys-cisco e3200). If the advanced features I just mentioned don't interest you, the cheaper models are all you need -- and at less than forty dollars, the 605L (this router) is a clear winner. (What about dual-band 2.4/5Ghz vs single-band 2.4Ghz operation of this router? In most locations, even though there is more traffic on the 2.4ghz band, it usually has better range. Bandwidth on the 5ghz channel tends to be higher but only at close to medium range. For most, 2.4ghz works just fine and supports the most devices.)

I settled on the 605L and bought it two weeks ago, setting it up in a relatively central location in a medium-sized single story house. In that time it has operated reliably with zero connection drops or required resets since I plugged it in 2 weeks ago, which is a remarkable feat in and of itself. Also, it has excellent range; I would estimate the wireless range is in the 65-75th percentile for home routers and is comparable to the range of most $60-80 routers. My parents' furthest device is about 40 feet away with 4 walls in between, and it gets about 50% signal which is enough for ~50Mbit of bandwidth (half of what you get when you plug in to the 100Mbit ports on back of the router, of which there are 4). Since most home internet connections are less than 25Mbit, this is more than sufficient for 99% of people who might consider this router. From the same location, I was able to do a file transfer between two computers (the other plugged into the router directly) at a rate of 1GB/2.5 min, which is reasonably fast (about 7-11MB/s).

Most important for novices is the easy setup interface. After plugging the device into your modem and a computer for initial setup with ethernet cables, typing in 192.168.0.1 takes you right to the web-based setup interface (admin/). You start with the simple setup wizard -- allowing you to set up your basic ISP settings and your desired WiFi name/password -- and for most people this is all they will need to setup and the router's default settings will take care of the rest. For advanced users, the manual settings provide a lot of additional control, such as parental controls, access lists, firewall tweaking, 40mhz band option, QoS settings, etc. But both routers I purchased were connected to the internet and all devices (asus laptop, mac mini, smart tv, roku, ipad, printer) with the basic setup option within 5 minutes.

The 'cloud' features allow you to view/block connected devices and reboot the router from a website (mydlink.com), as well as seeing your current internet bandwidth use (an instantaneous poll of your current use -- not cumulative use). Handy for family techs.

For its reliability, range, and simplicity, this is an excellent choice. (Other options under a hundred dollars to consider might be the linksys-cisco e3200 and apple's 2012 model airport express.

Feel free to ask questions in comments.

Tech specs:
CPU: Realtek RTL8196C 5 port 10/100 switch & 32 bit RISC CPU SoC
Switch: Realtek RTL8196C
RAM: 32 MB
Flash: 4 MB
Radio: Realtek RTL8192CE 802.11b/g/n 2T2R WLAN SoC

------------
An update, 7-nov-2012:
I have been running this router since purchase months ago without restarting once due to connection issue! This is a small miracle. I continue to highly recommend this router, esp now.

Competitive update:
Asus has announced a soon to be available router, model RT-N12HP (google search if curious) that has huge 9dBi amplified antennas specifically designed for implementations where maximum range is required. If you have a largish area to cover, this router might be a better choice, though the release date hasn't been announced yet.

A response to a comment question:
I did a stress test where I ran a Netflix video, Skype call, iPad online game, a large file download, and a 4GB local transfer from a wired to WiFi computer simultaneously; the local network was only marginally affected by the Internet traffic, and I was able to determine using a network monitoring tool that the Netflix stream was using half of our internet bandwidth, and the other devices split the rest. This is because the QoS will prioritize rich media and VoIP over things like downloads. This seems to me to be optimal behavior, where bandwidth is split rather than gobbled up by one device.
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Comments

Tracked by 14 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 56 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 31, 2012 6:50:51 AM PDT
mcrin says:
I assume it has mac address filtering? I am looking to replace my venerable linksys WRT-54G as it is starting to go wonky after 10 years of faithful service.

Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 9:59:02 AM PDT
dakishimesan says:
Yes - MAC/ACL filtering, DMZ, SPI firewall, Dynamic DNS and other common capabilities. QoS is automatic, or you can use "Traffic Control" to allocate a specific amount of bandwidth to a client on your network. The router also supports port forwarding & triggering, dynamic-DNS, UPnP and standard firewall protections. Parental Control Rules let you manage a black/white list of sites that users can access and a schedule associated with each.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 10:13:26 AM PDT
dakishimesan says:
from SmallNetBuilder, features...

Routing

DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP WAN types
DHCP server with MAC address reservation, lease time setting
Built-in dynamic DNS client for dlinkddns.com, oray.cn and dyndns.com free and custom services
Static routes (32)
WAN port speed (10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, Auto)
Multicast stream enable
Remote admin access enable, IP access filtering, port setting and graphic authentication enable
UPnP enable/disable
Syslog support
Email and save logs
Syslog support
Browser-based log view
Schedulable Uplink/downlink bandwidth control for IP ranges. Can't specify service ports.
Cable connection/port speed check
Save/restore settings
mydlink event management

Firewall

Non-schedulable port range forwarding (separate public & private ports settable)
Non-schedulable triggered port forwarding (can't set source and destination ports)
Schedulable allow/deny MAC filtering
Non-schedulable deny MAC ACL
SPI firewall disable, anti-spoof checking, RTSP ALG
Schedulable Inbound/outbound firewall rules with source/destination, protocol and port range (50)
Schedulable URL filter (10)
DMZ host
WAN ping allow / deny

Wireless features

Modes: Router, AP, WDS, WDS+AP, WDS+Router
WEP, WPA / WPA2 Personal support
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) support, pushbutton and PIN
Auto and manual channel set
SSID broadcast control
Wireless modes: n-only, mixed b/g, mixed b/g/n (default)
Bandwidth: 20 MHz, Auto 20/40 MHz
Transmit power adjust (100, 70, 50, 35, 15%)
Beacon period, RTS threshold, Fragmentation, DTIM interval adjusts
Short/long preamble, CTS mode, STBC, 20/40MHz coexist, Short Guard Interval enables
WMM disable

Posted on Aug 3, 2012 11:05:06 AM PDT
Thank you for the thorough discussion of the D-Link and other options. I am going from a slow DSL line into the house to a cable connection. The house is 2800 square feet on two floors, and it's not easy to find a central location for the router. Your description talked about using the D-link router in a one-story building. Do you think it would work equally well in a two and a half story building?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012 7:37:22 PM PDT
dakishimesan says:
My first reaction was one of doubt, however now that I think about it, I think you might be okay, but only if you find a relatively central location. The house I have this router is is about 1800 square feet; the room furthest from the center of the house is about 50 feet. When worrying about range, the sq footage of a house is less important than the distance in feet from the router of each device. So a device on the second story right above the router should get excellent signal. You'll have the most problems with a device on the second story and furthest away, since the story division creates an extra wall. By two and half, do you mean a basement (notoriously difficult to reach b/c of lots of concrete).

To be safe, I would go with a product with higher range. Like the Asus n66u or Cisco e4200v2.

Posted on Aug 16, 2012 9:25:39 PM PDT
Scott says:
Maybe a dumb question but could I print from an iPad with this thing or do I have to have an Airport Express -period?

thx

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2012 5:29:07 AM PDT
dakishimesan says:
Not a dumb question at all. But for AirPrint, it's not the router that matters, but the printer - the printer just has gto support airprint and be connected to the same network (ie same home wifi network, such as that created by this router) as your iPad. Do a Google search for "AirPrint 101" to find apple's help article on the subject; and here is an example of air print compatible printer on Amazon: Canon PIXMA MG5320 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One Printer (5291B019)

Posted on Aug 20, 2012 9:20:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2012 9:21:59 PM PDT
ronsrn says:
do you know if this router would support direct tvs cinama kit wireless?? the tech that came here said i need an n router - i looked up what i had and its a dir 615 - i believe that is an n router so what would be the difference?? it wont hold onto the signal for some reason

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 8:18:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012 8:19:20 PM PDT
dakishimesan says:
If it is capable of connecting to the signal but continues to drop it, it is probably on the edge of the DIR-615's range; either that or the issue that some newer devices are incompatible with certain very old routers. Specifically -- make sure what's called uPnP, or universal plug and play, is enabled on your router, which helps the router self-configure its connection to certain devices. If the issue is range, try moving your existing router closer to your home theater, or if not closer than try mounting it higher (like on top of a bookshelf) in its current location.

Otherwise, for $34.99 you can't really go wrong buying this router to see if that solves the problem.

Posted on Aug 24, 2012 3:22:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 24, 2012 3:23:39 PM PDT
S. Apana says:
Thank you for your detailed analysis and recommendations. We just upgraded our internet speed and the tech that came to install the modem mentioned that I needed a new router to take advantage of the higher speeds. So I've been looking and trying to figure out what to get and your review has me leaning toward getting the DR 605 but a couple of questions - I have two wired PCs that will plug into the router - should I be looking at a router that has gigabyte ports vs this one that just supports 10/100 ports (which is what I have now)? Would I notice any improvement in speed by getting a 5GHZ router vs just going with this single band 2.4GHZ router? Thanks for your input....I do have a two story house but I think my router is centrally located so have not had issues with the rooms upstairs having issues with connecting.
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