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D-Link DI-701 Residential Gateway/Broadband Router
Last updated: 6/7/01

Introduction.  The DI-701 has one 10/100Mb Dual Speed Ethernet port for connection to a home or small office network and one 10Mb Ethernet port for a DSL Modem, Cable Modem, or other Broadband access device.  It provides the safety and security of both port blocking and a natural firewall.  The unit's Network Address Translator (NAT) supports up to 32 users for sharing a single Internet Connection.

Operation.  Unfortunately, an operational review of this spiffy-looking, semi-transparent product was stopped cold by its inability to communicate with "my" Surfboard SB2100D cable MODEM.  I have verified that this particular DI-701's global interface, the interface that connects to the cable MODEM, is not defective.  It does in fact work when it is connected to a local DHCP server.  It did release a renew an IP address.  But it will not renew its IP address from my cable MODEM.  This may have something to do with the fact that the cable MODEM marries itself to the MAC address of the Ethernet interface to which it is connected.  An Ethernet network adapter's MAC address is “burned/hardwired” into a chip on the board itself and is a permanent part of the adapter.  Each and every Ethernet card in the world has a unique MAC address.  The DI-701 has a unique MAC address as well, which presently cannot be changed.  Other broadband routers have the ability to clone a MAC address.  That is, if you have connected  PC to a cable MODEM and the MODEM has married itself to the MAC address of the PC's network adapter, one can configure one of these routers to change it's MAC address to that of the PC's network adapter so it can communicate with the MODEM.  The DI-701 does not have this capability.  If it did, I think it could be configured to work with my service.  This shortcoming will obviously affect others whose service providers have implemented a marriage between cable MODEMs and specific network adapters.

Other negatives.

  • Although one can setup a virtual server behind the DI-701's firewall there is no means that I can see set up specific ports and triggers for games, mIRC, etc. for multiple PC's behind the firewall.

  • Although the DI-701 has a serial interface, it cannot be used to access the Internet with a dial-up MODEM.

  • The DI-701 would be easier to use if it had better user interface.  It has a Windows interface which has to be installed, but it is rather sparse functionally as compared to competing products.  The unit would be much better if it had a browser interface for all functions including firmware upgrades.  As it is, firmware upgrades can only be done via telnet or the serial interface.

  • An On/Off switch or reset button would be nice.

Pluses.  Now that the negatives have been covered, here are some positive things about the product:

  • It does have HOST name function

  • The unit has provisions for mounting it to a wall with two screws and the screws are provided.

  • The power adapter runs cool to the touch and the unit itself runs slightly warm with no fan.

  • A crossover cable is included to connect the unit directly to a PC or to an uplink port on a hub or switch.  This cable is rather short at a little over two feet; a longer cable would allow more installation flexibility.

  • A three-foot serial cable is included.

  • The unit and accessories are double-boxed with excellent packing and has an attractive retail presentation.

  • The documentation is quite good.  The Quick Starter Guide and User's Guide are well-written and illustrated and printed on quality paper.  This documentation is duplicated on the CD which comes with the unit.

Bottom line.  The DI-701 is an attractive, well-designed piece of hardware.  The firmware/software is incomplete and is not up to the quality of the hardware.  The documentation is good.  The support has been so so.  I have been in contact with D-Link by E-Mail and phone regarding the DI-701 to MODEM connectivity issue.  A person promptly answered my last ditch, long distance phone call to D-LINK tech support today, but that was followed by an excessive hold and I hung up.  D-Link has had ample time to fix this problem.  I am obligated to finish this review and report the results.

The DI-701 has a street price of about $80.  There are competing single-port routers in the same price range and combination router/Ethernet switches with price tags in $100 to $130 range.  The later can support multiple PC's without the additional expense (upfront and energy) of a separate hub or switch.  I have tested two of them.  Both are easier to use, have more capabilities, and work with my cable MODEM.

Larry

Specifications:

Protocols

  • IP,
  • NAT,
  • ARP,
  • ICMP,
  • DHCP,
  • VPN - PPTP client/server

Management/Setup Options

  • Locally via direct serial cable connection through Console port
  • Locally via GUI for Windows 95/98/NT/2000
  • Remotely via Telnet

Local Port

  • RJ-45, 10/100 Dual Speed Ethernet (MIX)

Global Port

  • RJ-45, 10Mb Ethernet to an external Cable/DSL Modem (MIX)

Console Port

  • DB-9 female connector

LED Indicators

  • Power,
  • Local Link,
  • Local Speed 10/100,
  • Local Full/Half Duplex,
  • Internet Link,
  • Error

Supported Applications

  • Microsoft Netmeeting
  • ICQ 99 or newer
  • PC Anywhere
  • CuSeeMe
  • iPhone

Games

  • Microsoft Age of Empires
  • Quake
  • Diablo
  • Starcraft

Network Security Features

  • Packet Filter
  • Network adapter address (Local)
  • IP Address (Local/Remote)
  • Port (Local/Remote)

Input Power

  • 5V DC @2.0A

Physical Dimension

  • 16 cm x 10.4 cm x 2.8 cm

Agency and Regulatory

  • FCC part 15 Class B

More info is available on D-Link's web site.

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.