Customer Review

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why pay this much?, 9 Mar. 2008
This review is from: D-Link DIR-655 Wireless N Gigabit Firewall Router - IEEE 802.11n Compliant - 300Mbps - 10/100/1000Mbps - 4-port switch (Electronics)
I had happily been using an old Belkin wireless router at home for many years to share my internet connection between three desktops and a laptop. It had performed perfectly well, and never let me down.

Similarly, at work, I had used many Netgear 834G wireless routers; it's a solid performer, and I believe that it is now available for about £40.

So why did I pay over £100 for this new-fangled D-Link 655?

It's all Virgin's fault. Stephen Kemp describes it well in his review below. I have been with ntl cable internet for years, without any problems using my old Belkin wireless router. When I upgraded to Virgin's 20Mbps download offering my old router just could not share it quickly enough! It is all to do with the WAN-side capability, and what they term the WAN to LAN throughput.

Plainly, even Virgin's 20Mbps downlink speed is way below the current widely available networking capability of 100Meg, but, most routers cannot pass-through and share from WAN (the internet) to LAN (your computers on your home network) at a sufficient rate to realise the benefits of Virgin's 20Mbps.

NB by sharing I do not mean to infer that the problem is due to multiple users all accessing the web at once, that is not the problem. If you imagine that three PC users in your home are all using the router to access the internet at once, it is very unlikely that they will all repeatedly call page downloads at the same time. We all spend more time looking at pages than calling them; this diversity factor means that sharing the downlink is not the cause of the problem. The problem might more effectively be thought of as the internals of the router acting like a bottleneck in the pass-through rate from the web to your PC.

I checked the reviews on the web and found several raving about this router's ability to do so.

The Gigabit networking is a nice bonus, and a further sweetener for the high purchase price, but it'll be a while before you'll be receiving downlink speeds above 100Meg, so if you just want the benefit of Gigabit linking home PCs than buy a £25 Netgear Gigabit switch and keep your current router (just connect the switch to one of your router's ports, and all your PCs to the switch).

I use wireless to a laptop and one desktop. Both are currently still using Belkin 54g cards. I get about 7Mbps wireless internet connection (compared to about twice that with a wired connection to the router) - yes, I know, less than Virgin's 20Mbps offer, but that's a whole other story!

I will in due course purchase N-wireless cards, but I'm hoping that they'll come down in price a bit soon - currently about £40 for a D-Link pre-N USB adapter.

Range is not a problem, good signals all over the house - my router is high up in the house - sits out of sight on top of a wardrobe on the first floor. I can use my laptop in my garage which is 30m separate from my house. NB I always could, even with my old Belkin wireless router! That is why I say you need to consider why you are paying a premium price for this product.

The sole killer application that it delivered for me is the WAN/LAN throughput, which I only needed because of the availability of Virgin's 20Mbps downlink (50Mbps is now being tested by them in a nearby town!).

If you just want Gigabit networking, buy a cheap Gigabit switch.

If you want greater wireless range, look to RangeMax or better aerial products.

If you want to share a fast internet connection - buy this.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Nov 2009 07:13:32 GMT
That is one of the most useful reviews I have ever read - thank you!

Posted on 8 Oct 2011 17:47:30 BDT
J. Edwards says:
Thanks for making me aware of the LAN to WAN throughput issue. Ignorantly I've always assumed that the WAN ports are always the same speed as the LAN ports, which now I think about it would be a waste most of the time but I would've never guessed that there might be such a difference between the two.
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