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The D-Link DI-701

The DI-701 not only functions as a firewall, but also as a residential gateway. I reviewed a Linksys router earlier that had connections for several machines to be based from it. That is the function of a router: to provide a firewall while also taking on the tasks of a hub that different machines can connect to. The DI-701 does not have connections for more than one computer, and therefore you would have to have a hub behind it to serve more than one computer. Before this begins to appear as a large weakness for the residential gateway setup keep in mind that many users are quite happy with their LAN setup, and have already invested in a hub to serve their computers. The residential gateway allows that user to add a hardware firewall and the ability to assign port addresses from the DI-701 without having to incur a large expense for a router with firewall capabilities. So how cheap can a user upgrade? The MSRP of the DI-701 is $120 USD. With the Linksys router priced at $200 the savings can start to add up.

The DI-701 is very well laid out. To the front are the LED's that indicate Power, Local status, and Internet (global) status. On the rear of the unit are the connectors for its power supply, an RS-232 connector that will only be used by those using terminal programs, and the RJ-45 connectors that allow your network to be hooked up. The input is set at 10 MBps, which is more than enough bandwidth for a cable/DSL connection. The output however is set at 10/100 MBps. This allows the network to operate at a full 100 MBps behind the DI-701. One thing I really like about this unit is its clear case. Dull beige or gray plastic is banned from it and I think its appearance is much the better for it. Another great feature on the case design is that it is wall mountable. Normally we can't expect too many other components with our networking purchase, but here is one area where D-Link does not cut corners. They include the RS-232 cable for anyone who needs to setup the gateway for terminal use, a short RJ-45 cable, the power supply, the CD with software, a quick start guide, and a very thorough manual. You can be assured that all the necessary hardware is packed in the box before you get it home. Good going D-Link!

Setup

Setting up the DI-701 is very easy. Hook up the power supply, and the provided short RJ-45 cable to your cable modem/DSL connection on one end and the other end to the "global" connection. Next hook up your single computer, or in the case of an existing LAN, hook up your hub to the "Local" connection. You are now in business. At this point you have to configure your TCP/IP settings in Windows to automatically detect the IP address. Now the gateway can assign an IP to your computer. If you have several computers simply repeat the process with each system. The last step is to insert the provided software CD and let the DI-701 manage your network. It's really that simple. D-Link even includes instructions in their manual for Telnet and HyperTerminal setup. Anyone who is new to setting up networking components will appreciate that half of the manual is devoted to trouble shooting.

 





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