D-Link’s DIR-605L Cloud Router, ($40) announced at this year’s CES, is not a remarkably noteworthy router. It’s notable for what it lacks: It’s a single-band, has no Gigabit Ethernet ports, and no USB port. It’s also noteworthy for the one new feature it has: D-Link’s mydlink cloud service. However, even with some of the remote capabilities you get using the mydlink service, the router lacks in performance and management.
The DIR-605L is a cheap router and certainly does not support the latest and greatest in networking hardware specs. Four 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports are on the rear panel. Two external 5dBi antennas are fixed to the chassis; you can’t upgrade to antennas with higher gain. Theoretical throughput is up to 300 Mbps; considerably slower than single-band routers currently available that are capable of up to 450 Mbps, such as the Buffalo AirStation Nfiniti High Power Giga Wireless-N Router Access Point (WZR-HP-G450H). Internal components include Realtek’s RTL8196C chip.
The chassis also features reset and WPS buttons. The device is small, with a plastic, black housing. There are seven LEDs on the top representing power, WAN activity, wireless status, and LAN port activity.
The D-Link DIR-605L is one of the few routers on the market that does not ship with a setup CD. Instead, an accompanying quick install guide gives instructions on how to connect the router and then use a browser to access the management interface.
On entering the browser-based management interface, the software tries to detect the type of Internet connection you have. My connection, WiMAX with DHCP addressing, could not be automatically detected. I manually selected “DHCP” which enabled the WAN link.
You have the choice to use automated or manual setup. The automated setup is rather limited; for instance, automatic set up of wireless security only displayed the option to apply WPA/WPA2 encryption.
Clicking on “Manual Setup” brings up the standard black-and-orange interface that’s been in D-Link routers for the last couple of years. In this interface view you can see security to WEP, WPA, WPA2 or WPA/WPA2. I didn’t see a way, at first, to set wireless mode (to 802.11n only or Mixed) or to set channel width. Those options are in the advanced wireless screen as well as more granular settings such as transmit power.
The setup process is sufficient and certainly it isn’t terribly difficult to set up the DIR-605L. However, compared to other consumer routers that are on the market with robust wireless setup which is almost automated (save for the fact you need to run a CD), the DIR-605L’s setup seems dated.
Working Within the Interface
The DIR-605L offers the standard features found in most consumers routers. There’s MAC/ACL filtering, DMZ, SPI firewall, Dynamic DNS and other more common capabilities.
The QoS offering is a bit thin, but you can use the feature “Traffic Control” to allocate a specific amount of bandwidth to a client on your network. This is to keep any one machine from hogging bandwidth. There is no way though, to manage the bandwidth of specific applications; such as allocating more bandwidth to gaming or Skype traffic like there is in DD-WRT-flashed routers, or in a single-band router dedicated to gamers, such as the EnGenius ESR9855G Multimedia Enhanced Wireless 300N Gaming Router. Per representatives at D-Link, because this is a low-cost router, the option to perform QoS by application-specific traffic is not included.
The feature most advertised with the DIR-605L, is the mydlink service. The service lets you manage your network devices, receive notifications, browse users connected to your network, and configure the router from an iPhone, iPod, or Android device. The service does allow you to do those tasks, but it doesn’t offer full remote management of the router.