D-Link Xtreme N Networking
|D-Link Xtreme N Networking|
|DWA-652 Notebook Adapter|
|DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router|
|DIR-655 Setup and Configuration|
|Status, Tools and Performance|
Networking has come a long way from the early days of 10 Mbit consumer networks that were still fairly expensive and slow due to the low bandwidth and implementation of hubs rather than switches for affordable small-size networks. I remember when I bought my first 10 Mbit network card. I believe it cost me over $60 . . . used. My first hub was a 10-base, 5 port unit that set me back over $100. Times have changed though and now a frugal shopper can purchase a 24-port 100 Mbit switch for under $100. Wireless networks have also flourished and now claim speeds up to 300 Mbit/sec on a consumer level. Welcome to the world of wireless "N" - still not a final spec, but getting closer. Companies like D-Link, Netgear and others have pushed this format and today we are looking at a complete "Xtreme N" setup from D-Link and will find out if it's good enough to get us all to throw away are wired networks once and for all.
DWA-552 Desktop Adapter:
No matter how fast your router and wireless network backbone is, your connection speed also depends on your client available bandwidth. D-Link outfitted us with the DWA-552 Xtreme N Desktop Adapter for this test and this device claims speeds up to 300Mb/sec. We'll test that out in a bit, but first a look at the actual hardware.
Like most of D-Links "Professional" series of products, the package is not overly flashy. Instead it shows a quiet, confident aurora that shows that it means business. In the package is the standard hardware component, a quick install guide and driver CD. The antennae do not come attached and all three will require installation. My 5-year old son helped out with this part of the installation, so I'm sure it will be no problem.
We are not always happy to take things at face value and when I noticed that I could remove the protective shield on this card by simply removing a couple of screws, I had to dive in and take it apart. There were not "Warranty Void if removed" stickers so I was happy. Under the full-sized shield are a few small components, which appear to be in stark contrast to the size of the shield.
Before we jump into the next device, let's take a quick look at the specifications according to D-Link.
Above is a picture of the DWA-552 ready to be installed and ripping up the network traffic with its 300Mbit speeds.