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.
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!
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