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Funny router acts as a server and shows pictures

The wireless home rarely turns out to be as wireless and flexible as it was originally intended. New gadgets mean new connections and, unfortunately, in many cases – new problems that may only be solved by a cable.
The DIR-685 is meant to take care of most of these difficulties as it is an all-in-one router that is a bit smarter than anything else on the market.

The built-in hard drive turns the router into a server where you can store shared photos, music and other files in a connected home without a trained network technician in the family. Because the hard drive is built into the router, you don’t have to make a lot of settings. In addition, it is quite easy to set up your own ftp server and access the files even outside the home.

Rss feeds and weather
The 3.2-inch (small) LCD screen can display teletext-like news via rss feeds, today’s joke series or your own and friends’ photographs from, among other things, Facebook. It is made possible through an easily administered free online service called Framechannel where you simply tick what you want access to.

To call it a photo frame is, in all honesty, a stretch, because looking at pictures when the screen is so small is not that fun. Sure, it’s nice that you can take a picture with your mobile phone and then send it via e-mail directly to the DIR-685, but in many mobile phones you actually have the option of viewing the image in a larger format.

With the help of touch buttons on the side of the screen, it is easy to navigate the various menus on the screen anyway. Then it turns out that the LCD screen, despite the limited size, works perfectly to clearly inform about the network’s activity and settings. It also works well
to deliver beautifully presented local weather forecasts.

With an integrated storage area, the DIR-685 is also capable of acting as a torrent server (if anyone has been tinkering with such things since the Ipred law came into force) or of providing other computers, media players or game consoles in the network with movies, images or music because it supports upnp ( universal plug and play).

Replaceable hard drive
The hard drive on the PC for Everyone’s test sample was 120 gigabytes, which is plenty. Soon it will also be possible to easily upgrade it to a larger one.

On the back of the screen are two USB inputs that can handle so-called shareport technology and enable the connection of an external hard drive, scanner or printer to the network. It failed at all during PC for Everyone’s test, despite several deep dives into the manual. It turned out that this necessary shareport feature was not present on the test instance, but is in place when the router
reach the store.

Buzzes like a kitchen fan

With the DIR-685 you avoid a lot of worries that are otherwise associated with wireless networks. Like the router should have the standard 11n and not the slightly slower 11g if you intended to watch movies in HD quality. Or that you should not mix components with 11n and 11g as the network will never be faster than its slowest link. With 11n throughout the network and a router that transmits via five gigahertz and has more channels (compared to 2.4 gigahertz), the difference in speed can be big, especially in an apartment where there are many networks fighting for space.

Because the little box works so hard and with so much, it needs to be cooled down at regular intervals. Then it unfortunately starts to sound like a smaller kitchen fan. Do you have DIR-685 on your desk too
to, for example, access to see images on the screen, the buzz naturally becomes extra tangible.

Still, compared to the average router, the DIR-685 graces its place on the desk, and the included stand keeps it steady despite the cords on the back. Given that the screen only takes up around a quarter of the front’s total area, it feels like it will be significantly larger in future D-Link models. Then it becomes even more fun to use a wireless router.

Plus: Good router and innovative all-in-one solution.
The screen could be bigger.
Grade: (8 out of 10)

Manufacturer: D-Link, www.d-link.se
System requirements: Windows XP (SP2)/Vista, Mac OS X.
Network standard:
IEEE 802.11n/g, 802.3/3u.
Gates: 4 lan, 1 wan, 2 usb.
Security keys: Wpa, wpa2.
Screen: 3.2 inches, 1.6 million colors.
Size: 16 x 12.5 x 2.5 cm.
Weight: 230 g.
Write and read speed when tested on a 2.5-inch Samsung disk (250 GB/7200rpm/16 M): Write speed: 5.5 MB/s, 44 Mbit/s. Read speed: 9.92 MB/s, 79.36 Mbit/s.
Network performance: When transferring between two computers at a short distance.
1 stream/1 file transfer: 40-60 Mbit/s. 5 streams/5 file transfers: 70-90 Mbit/s.
10 streams/10 file transfers: 80-120 Mbit/s.
(802.11n is designed to work best in environments with multiple concurrent clients. Total bandwidth increases with the number of concurrent sessions/transmissions.)
Scope: Same range as other 802.11n routers with internal antennas. In our test about 150 meters in an outdoor environment when it was placed in a window during the test.
Power consumption: 8W.
Guarantee: 1 year.
Approximate price: SEK 3,000.

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