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D-Link DIR-645 SmartBeam router

November 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Home full of WiFi blackspots? D-Link has found a breakthrough technology to boost 802.11n.

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 21 November 2011

Overall 9/10

Features

  • 802.11n/g/b WiFi
  • SmartBeam smart targetting WiFi technology
  • Six antennas
  • WEP 64/128-bit, WPA/WPA2 and WPS security
  • IPv6 ready
  • DLNA certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • SmartBeam significantly improves WiFi range & performance
  • Stylish & practical design
  • Intuitive setup & graphical user interface
  • Well priced

Cons

  • Single band limits multiple user wireless streaming

Last month we reviewed the D-Link DIR-657, a router filled with proprietary tricks to get around the ever more limiting factors of 802.11n WiFi. It didn’t work and felt like the final proof that you can’t teach an old standard new tricks. Turns out we gave up a few days too soon…

With the ‘DIR-645′ D-Link is back for more and this time it comes wielding yet another new technology, ‘SmartBeam’. Whereas most proprietary router technology focuses on prioritising important traffic over a network, SmartBeam is different. It uses no less than six multidirectional antennas which don’t throw out wireless signal as a scattergun approach, but instead track and lock onto connected devices focusing beams in their direction. Think Top Gun minus the testosterone… and planes… and missiles.

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11 D Link DIR 645 SmartBeam router
D-Link claims SmartBeam is a genuine breakthrough in addressing the range and (by association) speed problems of 802.11n, boasting “strong and stable Internet connection in every corner of your house”. The company must be confident too since it hasn’t included any of its previous bandwidth optimising technologies, including ‘HD Fuel‘ seen in the DIR-657. D-Link has also gone against the grain by opting not to make the DIR-645 dual band. Consequently the shorter range, higher performance 5GHz band is excluded in order to focus all six antennas on maximising the travel of 2.4GHz.

This isn’t the only risk D-Link has taken. The DIR-657 also looks like no conventional router and its piano black cylindrical design is akin to a Pringles tube designed by Dark Vader. That said this is a compliment. D-Link is unclear on whether the cylindrical shape has any bearing on wireless performance, but it looks striking and the circular base has greater stability than traditional sideways balanced rectangular routers which require a separate clip on base just to stay upright. Style and practicality one, legacy nil. Continue reading

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