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D-Link Wireless Broadband Router

 Author: Tim Higgins
 Review Date: 6/26/2001

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Model: DI-713P
Pros:

- Supports 64 & 128bit WEP
- Built-in Windows/LPR print server w/ bi-directional support.
- Good throughput vs. distance performance

 
Cons :

- Does not support all bi-directional printer functions
- 45% throughput decrease with WEP enabled
- Can't attach external "booster" antennas

 

   

The Basics

 
Indicators
  • "M1" Status

  • "M2" Status

  • WAN Link/Activity

  • LAN Link/Activity

  • Wireless Link

  • Wireless Activity

  • Ethernet LAN Link/Activity (3)

  • Ethernet LAN 10/100 (3)

Connectors
  • One RJ45 10BaseT Ethernet WAN

  • Three RJ45 10/100BaseT switched Ethernet LAN

  • One DB9M  "COM" port.

  • One DB25F parallel printer port.

  • Power

Comes with
  • printed Quick Installation Guide - Router

  • printed Quick Installation Guide - Print Server

  • Quick Install CD

  • Print Server software CD

  • One CAT5 UTP cable

  • 120VAC Power supply

Other
  • Two moveable position, non-detachable monopole "rabbit ears"

  • Hardware reset button

  • NO Uplink port or Normal / Crossover switch for LAN Ports (see this page if this concerns you!)

 

Introduction


The DI-713P is a remodeled version of D-Link's now-discontinued DI-713 that adds 128bit WEP encryption and a built-in print server to go along with a cosmetic makeover.  The changes allow it to join our Practically Recommended list, so read on to see why...

 

What's different?


We won't be covering all the features of the 713P, since they were described in the 713's review.  So go on over and read that one if you need detailed info on most the 713P's features.

The 713 to 713P change essentially makes the 713P and SMC's 7004AWBR Wireless Barricade identical twins.  Both are sourced from AMIT, who seems to have a chunk of the wireless router market, supplying SMC, Asante, D-Link and Canada's GVC with routers.

The 713P has a new circuit board that keeps the indicators on the front panel, but moves all connectors to the rear... a change that may be welcomed by many home users.  The all-plastic enclosure is rounded on the top, so if you want to stack something on top, it may tend to slide off.   You probably wouldn't want to stack anything on top anyway, since that's where you need to view the indicator LEDs.  The 713P doesn't feel as warm to the touch as the SMC, primarily because of the thermal insulation provided by the plastic box (enclosing a metal bottom chassis and metal top RF shield).  Ventilation holes are on each side and top rear of the cabinet.

The circuit design uses the same components, except for a different radio card than the 713 (and also different than the SMC uses).  The card is now fully connectorized (PC card bus and antennas) but still fully enclosed and not intended to be user-accessible.  This new card adds 128bit WEP encryption to the 713's 40/64 bit, but my performance tests confirmed a similar WEP-enabled performance degradation. The Wireless Performance section below has all the details.  On a positive note, you'll be able to enter four Hexadecimal WEP keys instead of one.

D-Link DI-713P - Wireless Setting screen   D-Link DI-713P - MAC address control screen

The 713P came with an earlier firmware revision, but upgrading it to the latest rev available on the D-Link support Web site added wireless and Wired MAC address control, including the ability to control which wireless clients can associate with the 713P's Access Point. This firmware raises the number of single port mappings (Virtual Servers) to 20 but, unlike the SMC, the number of triggered port range Special Applications stays at 4.

Other differences from the SMC (aside from the different appearance and organization of the admin pages) are:

  • the 713P doesn't have a DHCP client list on the DHCP server page (but you can view DHCP clients using the drop-down list on the MAC Address Control page).

  • you can't control the 713P's Admin page access timeout

  • you don't have an option to discard PING requests from the WAN

That's about it for the features, let's see how it performs!

 

Router performance


I ran the Qcheck suite to test routing performance, with the following results:

Firmware/Driver Version:

2.56 build 2a

Test Description

Qcheck Transfer Rate (Mbps)

[1Mbyte data size]

Qcheck Response Time (msec)
[10 iterations 100byte data size]

Qcheck UDP stream 
[10S@500Kbps]

(Actual throughput- kbps)

(Lost data- %)

WAN-LAN

4.0

 4 (avg)
7 (max)

494

 1%

LAN-WAN

3.6

 5 (avg)
8 (max)

475

 5%

(Details of how we tested can be found here.) 

Comment: No surprises here. Routing Transfer rate is comparable to many present generation products and plenty fast for most broadband applications. UDP stream performance shows that the router is just starting to strain to keep up with a 500kbps stream rate.

Retesting the DI-713 with upgraded 2.53 build 9 firmware yielded essentially the same routing performance.

 

Wireless Performance


I used an ORiNOCO Gold PC card as the wireless test partner, and also re-ran tests on the 713 for comparison. I upgraded the 713 to the latest firmware before running the re-test. (More details of how I tested can be found here.) 

DI-713P (New)

Test Conditions:

- WEP encryption:
DISABLED
- Tx Rate:
Automatic
- Power Save:
disabled

Firmware/Driver Versions:

AP f/w:
2.56 build 2a
Wireless client driver:
Variant 1, Version 4.00
Wireless client f/w:
Variant 1, Version 6.16

Test Description

SNR (dB)

Qcheck Transfer Rate (Mbps)

[1Mbyte data size]

Qcheck Response Time (msec)

[10 iterations 100byte data size]

Qcheck UDP stream 
[10S@500Kbps]

(Actual throughput- kbps)

(Lost data- %)

AP to Client - Condition 1

58

4.1[No WEP]
2.2[w/WEP]

5 (avg)
7 (max)

496

0%

AP to Client - Condition 2

34

4.1

4 (avg)
5 (max)

494

0%

AP to Client - Condition 3

21

4.1

5 (avg)
8 (max)

492

0%

AP to Client - Condition 4

20

4.1

5 (avg)
7 (max)

490

0%

 

DI-713 (Old)

Test Conditions:

- WEP encryption:
DISABLED
- Tx Rate:
Automatic
- Power Save:
disabled

Firmware/Driver Versions:

AP f/w:
2.53 build 9
Wireless client driver:
Variant 1, Version 4.00
Wireless client f/w:
Variant 1, Version 6.16

Test Description

SNR (dB)

Qcheck Transfer Rate (Mbps)

[1Mbyte data size]

Qcheck Response Time (msec)

[10 iterations 100byte data size]

Qcheck UDP stream 
[10S@500Kbps]

(Actual throughput- kbps)

(Lost data- %)

AP to Client - Condition 1

50

4.1[No WEP]
3.2[w/WEP]

4 (avg)
9 (max)

494

0%

AP to Client - Condition 2

34

4.0

4 (avg)
7 (max)

496

0%

AP to Client - Condition 3

16

2.3

4 (avg)
7 (max)

399

0%

AP to Client - Condition 4

20

3.8

4 (avg)
7 (max)

486

0%

Comments: Testing confirmed differences between the old and new versions.  Throughput (Transfer Rate) on the newer 713P takes a 45% WEP-enabled hit vs. an 22% degradation on the older model.  On the other hand, the 713Ps radio seems better than the 713's, delivering consistent performance in all four of my test locations.

 

Summary


If you're trying to decide between the 713P and SMC's 7004AWBR, it's kind of a toss-up. Here's a comparison chart to help you.

Feature

Advantage

Throughput vs. Range

D-Link

WEP-enabled throughput

Tie (45% loss)

Number of Special Applications

SMC (8)

Number of Virtual Servers

Tie (20)

Print Server

D-Link (see Note 1)

Price

D-Link (see Note 2)

Documentation

D-Link (see Note 3)

Warranty & Support

SMC (see Note 4)

Notes:
1)
Although D-Link says that the 713P supports bi-directional printers and SMC doesn't, D-Link also says that the 713P may not properly handle or relay all printer generated messages. So you may have problems using your printer with either product.

2) Although with frequent rebates and deals you may be able to buy either product for less than the other, D-Link has historically tended to price aggressively and drive pricing in a product category down.

3) D-Link supplies a printed User Guide, Router Quick Install guide sheet, Print Server Quick Install sheet, and HTML based Quick Install guide (which only viewed correctly with Internet Explorer). SMC supplies a printed Quick Install guide and CD with PDF copy of the User manual.  In all, I felt that D-Link did a better documentation job.

4) SMC has limited lifetime warranty and 24/7 toll-free phone or email support. D-Link's warranty is 1 year with 6AM-6PM (PST) M-F phone (you pay for the call), or email support. SMC also tends to come out with firmware updates more frequently.

All that being said, the DI-713P joins our Recommended Product list, so you really can't lose either way!

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