We recently reviewed the D-Link DIR 505 All-in-One Mobile Companion that can help extend or repeat your existing wireless network at home, office or in a hotel room. Now Digisol has also launched a very similar product, but with a few differences in features and performance. The Digisol DG-WR3001 Wireless repeater was with us for a while and we tested the product to find out more about it.

Design and Build

The DG-WR3001N is very similar to the D-Link DIR 505 in terms of appearance. The WR3001N is very compact and shaped like a power adapter that plugs into a wall unit directly without the need for any power cable. The device is rugged and is made of an all-white hard plastic shell. The front face features all the status LEDs such as Signal, WLAN, LAN, WPS and power. A WPS button is present on the front. The left side sports the RJ45 connector for a physical Ethernet connection when needed. A physical mode selection switch that sets the device to access point, repeater or client mode is seen on the right side of the device. The rear has a two-pin AC power plug. This two-pin plug is of the standard used in certain countries but fits loosely into Indian sockets, making contact with the power source a bit unsteady.

DG-WR3001N

DG-WR3001N

Features and Performance

The Digisol DG-WR3001N is a three-in-one wireless peripheral, which can be configured to run as an access point, repeater or client by simply selecting the mode switch located on the right side. Each mode needs to be initially configured once before it starts its function as desired. The DG-WR3001N uses two internal antennas to simultaneously transmit and receive signals and works on the 2.4GHz frequency band with a maximum output power of around 13 dB when using the 40MHz band. It complies with the IEEE 802.11 b/g/n wireless interface standards and has a data throughput of up to 300MB/s. It has a 2MB internal flash ROM and 16MB of SDRAM.

10/100 Ethernet port for LAN

10/100 Ethernet port for LAN

The device can be used as an access point that can convert any standard wired Ethernet connection into a wireless network. This mode can benefit users who are located at a distance from their main wireless router and cannot get enough signal strength for normal connectivity. The AP mode is great for those who want to connect a laptop, phone or other Wi-Fi-enabled device in an area where there is only a physical network connection available. Places such as hotel rooms, conference areas or cyber cafes can take advantage to create a simple, quick and secure wireless hotspot.

The WR3001N can also be used as a client and can benefit those who don’t have a Wi-Fi interface on desktop PC, gaming console, televisions or other such device. Simply switch the device to client mode, connect the Ethernet cable from the LAN port of the device to your device’s Ethernet port and you can be connected to any wireless router in seconds. You can also use this mode to extend your local network over a larger area where physical wires are not able to be laid. Extending a local network between different floors, two buildings, or even between two large rooms is possible.

Three mode physical selection switch

Three mode physical selection switch

Repeater mode offers a similar benefit. In this mode, the WR3001N relays and boosts a weak wireless signal around it. Those who use Wi-Fi-enabled devices in large offices or homes can use this mode to extend Wi-Fi coverage throughout the entire area.

Wall mounting built-in power unit

Wall mounting built-in power unit

We did casually test the device and found it very simple and user-friendly whilst configuring it. Using the device in AP or client mode requires the user to connect and configure the network using any Internet browser at the initial stage. The repeater mode does not necessarily need any PC to be configured as it can be set up with just the press of the WPS button on the front panel after pressing the WPS button on the host router. The repeater connects to the host router and configures its SSID and security password automatically. If you need to assign a different SSID and password, you need to first wirelessly connect your PC or laptop to the repeater and make the necessary changes. 

In formal testing, we found the device to be satisfactory for our usual daily networking activities. Video streaming, Internet browsing and data transfer over the wireless network work as usual and we did not even feel that the network was actually going through the repeater. In fact, some of our in-house staff did not even notice they were automatically connected and routed through the repeater. You can expect to get a maximum range of around 20 metres from the repeater, but this will vary from location to location as the wireless network is affected by the number of barriers and the material used in the surroundings.

Repeater mode manual setup - Scans for available networks

Repeater mode manual setup – Scans for available networks

Manually setup an SSID in repeater mode

Manually set up an SSID in repeater mode

When comparing the device with the D-Link product, we found a few differences that you should be aware of. While the D-Link DIR-505 has a 150Mb/s interface, the Digisol DG-WR3001N has a 300Mb/s interface. The DIR-505 has a USB port, which can help share any USB storage over the network; the WR3001N does not have any. The WR3001N has a client mode, whereas the DIR-505 has a router mode. The WR-3001N retails at around Rs. 2,999 and the DIR-505 is available for around Rs. 2,200. Because your specific needs will determine which of these products is better for you in terms of speed, connectivity, features and price, it is hard to say that either one offers greater value for money than the other.

Verdict and Price in India
Since we have seen two different brands offering similar products which differ only slightly, it is definitely going to be a dicey decision for the end-user to put a finger on the one he or she requires. While a speed of 150Mb/s or 300Mb/s won’t make much of a difference, as these products are going to be used over short distances, the differences between the two are USB storage sharing and client mode operations. However, priced at Rs. 2,999, this product seems expensive if you compare it to the similar product from D-Link.

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