I am a media freak.
Let me say that again: I am a media freak. I am also a gadget addict, a power user who streams, downloads, plays online games and is generally considered by most ISPs to be a heavy bandwidth user and a general pain in the ass. Thus, I have used many routers in the past only to have them be unstable and crash even when flashed to latest versions. As an example of my normal usage pattern, I once had a router crash on me while I was bidding on Ebay; it reset and made me lose the auction, so in response I took a hammer to it.
Sure, I was running multiple machines on wired and wireless networks and even my iTouch (which is heavily modified too by the way), in addition to P2P testing and torrents. So what?
A friend of my father gave me a D-Link DIR-615, Revision B2 router as he saw I could make better use of it than he could. I flashed the DIR615 firmware to 2.25, the most recent version while I was writing this, and let the testing begin.
I have my laptop and a Broadcom 125mbps Airforce G adapter (yes you heard that right – despite the fact that it sucks up my battery), my sister’s laptop with a Linksys wireless G adapter in PCMCIA, my modded iTouch 32gb that downloads like crazy (I installed a freeware app called MX tube that lets you download flash videos on the fly directly to the iTouch memory) and lastly my wired SuperServer 1TB (2x500gb hard drives with dual NICs) all hooked up to the router. Let the downloading, game playing, media streaming, app updating, web browsing, and file transferring begin!
Here’s the usage scenario:
- On my laptop with the Airforce adapter, I was web surfing, doing online banking, checking my email, chatting with MSN plus, and downloading HD movie clips from Apple HD.
- My sister was doing some web browsing on Facebook and uploading pictures and sending email.
- My iTouch was downloading videos with MXtube and had multiple lyrics downloading with multiple connections on another freeware program called tunewiki.
So far so good, but after all this load I was wondering why it hadn’t crashed and reset yet. So I said to myself: “Alright, that’s it, 30gb of movies onto my laptop via wireless-G.” This was done through simple Windows file sharing over the wireless network. Oh, did I mention that at the same time, I was also going to run the infamous Ares p2p program, all in the hopes of crashing this router.
The file transfer was successful. This was getting frustrating.
For each 8gb file it took about 53 minutes to transfer. The Airforced laptop was in the same room as the router and the other machines.
It didn’t even flinch. It was still stable.
Frustrated, I called up my dad’s friend and asked him where he got the router. He paid $95 CDN for it. I paid $129.99 CDN for the D-Link DI624 I was using prior to receiving the DIR615 and believe me, it crashed too, just not as frequently as the Linksys I hammered to a pulp.
In light of all this I wanted to reward him for such an awesome find. He took me up on my offer of helping him and his friend with computer problems. The next day his friend and another person gave me their machines to update and whatnot. You may ask why I am mentioning all this. The answer is: Because this was the setup for round two of testing.
I figured I’d go all out for this next one. I’d continue to do all the above plus hook up two more computers and do Windows updates and even more rigorous testing to try to get this router to crash. I waited for my sister and my mom to begin using their computers.
- I was in luck! My sister came back from a trip to Italy and was sending and Facebooking all her pics like crazy.
- My mom was checking email and streaming videos from news websites, while also surfing general websites.
- On my Airforced laptop I started downloading more HD clips in full 1080p from Apple HD and movietrailers.com. Just because I know you care, I was downloading Hitchcock, Flash of Genius, Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus in full 1080p HD using qtlite-an awesome freeware app with media player classic.
- On my SuperServer, I was playing Unreal Tournament 2004 online and transferring file backups from the guest computers I was working on.
- On both their machines, I was running Windows Service Pack 3 update on both of them and transferring files to the SuperServer.
- Last, in a futile attempt to get this router to crash and reset, I loaded my iTouch again for some media downloading.
The router didn’t even flinch and the gameplay was smooth as butter for UT2004 on max settings.
I did some research and it seems the wireless bandwidth on the DIR615 is around 300mbps, which helps explain why the router was rock solid during all this activity.
I did notice my iTouch antenna bars go down a bit during certain times (such as when I put it to the test with the HD clips and Ares on the other computers). I’ve come to the conclusion that this router has really, really and I mean really good QOS. It really knows when and how to distribute bandwidth.
I believe this is the Holy Grail for this generation of routers. My friend’s “gamer” Linksys, which costs almost $300 (the one with the funky decals on it with the flat antenna in the middle) couldn’t do all that without crashing.
In the router configuration page, we find practically every feature that anyone could need, and every wizard that I could imagine in a simple, smooth, clean, and easy to use layout. In the wireless section there’s even a setting which allows you to choose the bandwidth of 20mhz to 40mhz for wireless and an auto-scan feature with a check box to enable the router to use the proper frequency without interference from external devices like cordless phones.
This is an amazing product, for an amazingly good price. Allow me to note that I didn’t test using any Wireless N adapters-however, the range for my iTouch never had an issue and I had coverage anywhere I went in my house.