Wireless networking has definitely made life easier with wireless networks and hotspots available while you travel. But some hotel rooms still provide Internet connections via a wired Ethernet port. Same is the case with many offices and conference rooms. Ethernet connectivity is fine if you move around with single laptop or notebook, but with present generation devices such as tablets, phones and ultra-books that do not have Ethernet ports, wireless networking is the only source for connectivity. This calls for converting an Ethernet port into a wireless terminal and a wireless router is a must.
The front just has a status indicator
D-Link has come a long way and has been well known in the Indian market for their expertise in networking products. Presently, they also bring unique wireless routers which are highly portable—for example, the DAP-1350 which is a three-in-one pocket sized travel router, the Le Petit flash drive-sized USB router and the MyPocket, which is a credit card holder-sized portable battery operated router. These wireless products are usually aimed towards frequent travellers who need most of their wireless Internet-enabled devices to be connected to the cloud at all given times. Not all devices are 3G enabled and even if they are, using a tablet, phone and laptop with individual 3G connections could add up to additional costs on your wallet or business. Hence a wireless router is the only option to supply a single Internet connection to all the devices. Keeping this in mind, D-Link introduces yet another product, the DIR-505 All-in-on Mobile Companion. Let’s check out some highlights of this product to see if it really is worth a mobile companion.
An Ethernet and a USB port is the only interface
Build quality and Design
The shape and form-factor resembles a regular power adapter and also can be mistaken for a mosquito repellant unit. The antennae, power supply and the router are completely built into this compact unit, which is light in weight and highly portable. The device is powered by an internal power supply and works directly off a 110/220V power outlet. The top features a single physical switch with a three point option to choose the operation mode of the DIR-505 in router, repeater or AP mode respectively. The front has a single bright LED which when lit in red indicates the device is booting or connecting to another router and when green, indicates that the device is ready for use. The entire package or shell is built in a very sturdy and compact plastic shell, which has a matte-finished exterior. The white colour will eventually get tarnished in time, and hence you may have to keep the device clean with a damp cloth every time you use it.
The D-Link DIR-505 is a multi-purpose wireless device, which can be used as a router, an access point, a repeater, a Wi-Fi hotspot or a network attached storage unit. The built-in radio interface is IEEE 802.11 b/g/n compliant and has a data throughput speed of 150 mbps. It also features a single 10/100 mbps Ethernet port for LAN and WAN connectivity. A USB 2.0 port is also seen alongside the Ethernet port and one might think this device is also compatible with a 3G dongle as most routers today feature 3G compatibility modes. But sadly, this USB port is only meant or configured for attaching storage devices. A storage device, be it a USB pen drive or an external hard drive, when connected to the DIR-505, can be shared on the network with all the connected devices. It would have been nice if D-Link had enabled 3G dongle support which would add more value to this great product. We also hope DDWRT firmware would tap into the device and help enable more features as usual.
Different modes can be chosen for operations
Configuration and Interface
The DIR-505 is very easy to configure in router or access point modes and is even simpler to configure in repeater mode. To configure the DIR-505 in repeater mode, you have to just follow three simple steps—plug in the device, press the WPS switch once on the main router and then press the WPS switch on the DIR-505 for a few seconds and you are ready for boosting the signal or repeating the network with the same SSID and password of the host router. This is very essential when you are in a particular area where you don’t receive a good wireless signal. This is an essential device for accessing a wireless network in far away rooms or closed rooms such as AV rooms or conference areas.
Regular interface for configurations
Configuring the device as a router or access point is similar to configuring any other router from D-Link. It sports all the standard security features such as WEP, WPA/WPA2 and PSK, SPI firewalls, MAC filtering, IP filtering and others found on all routers today. You will need to configure the device once in your office or home network or every time you opt to use it in an unknown network environment. Using it as an access point or router is very handy as most hotel rooms or visiting offices usually have a single network point for Internet access and you can use this single point for multiple devices and gadgets.
Repeater mode scans for available networks
Just choose the network you want to repeat
Give the password for the network you have chosen to repeat
Since this wireless device is not designed to give you coverage for a whole house or office, it is basically to give you enough signal strength within an average-sized room. We did check this router out in our premises and managed to configure the DIR-505 as a repeater, but not using the WPS mode. The problem was that our routers inside the test labs are highly secure and the administrators have disabled the WPS switch for additional security. Hence we had to dig into the repeater’s configuration web-interface to set the host router’s SSID and password. Once done, we could boost our existing wireless signals further than usual. The area where the repeater was plugged in would usually give us around one bar of connectivity with the host router. But after the repeater was configured in the same location, we did get maximum signal strength and our network was visible for around 20 meters further than the repeater itself.
Check out the “repeated signal of “Techwifi”
Verdict and Price in India
The D-Link DIR-505, priced at Rs. 2,299 should definitely be considered as an essential piece of hardware in your travelling kit. The rugged build-quality, compact size and quick configuration are its USP and we recommend this product for every office and business traveller.
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