REVIEW: D-Link WBR-1310 Wireless Router

With all this hullabaloo over 802.11n Wi-Fi, you would think that there would no market share left for the regular old 802.11b/g Wi-Fi router anymore, right? Well, not everyone is on the highest of the high-speed Internet connections and even those who are have a hard time using the 802.11n standard to its fullest. For most households, a budget-minded wireless router, like the D-Link WBR-1310, is perfectly adequate.

Features at a Glance

Even though the D-Link WBR-1310 wireless router is largely catering to the lower end of the market, it is not without its fair share of decent features. No, these things won’t floor you and it doesn’t come with any speed- or range-boosting functionality, but it seems to get the job done.

Some of the more notable features include four 10/100 network ports in the back for wired connections, advanced firewall protection, a web-based management utility, 24/7 technical support, Network Magic software, and a free 30-day trial of the eTrust EZ Antivirus.

And yes, the D-Link WBR-1310 is perfectly compatible with both the 802.11b and 802.11g standards, offering you a maximum throughput of 54Mbps. In the real world, you won’t get anywhere near this kind of speed, but it’s unlikely that you have a DSL connection that pushes those kinds of limits either.

What’s in the Box?

Inside the box, you get everything that you’d expect from a wireless router. Aside from the WBR-1310 itself, the package also contains the detachable antenna, CAT5 Ethernet cable, power adapter, mountin kit and vertical stand, and a CD-ROM containing the installation wizard, product documentation, and special offers.

There’s no physical user manual, so you will need to rely on CD for any troubleshooting or specific questions. Naturally, you can also contact D-Link if you need some more in-depth assistance, but this is a relatively straightforward affair. You can just follow the Quick Start Guide, which is included as a single sheet inside the box.

Installation and Configuration

While you could partake in a manual installation of the D-Link WBR-1310 wireless router, it’s a lot easier to just make use of the installation wizard that is included on the CD. This installation wizard, as far as I can tell, will only work with Windows-based PCs. There is documentation on the disc for Mac and Linux users, but you can tell that D-Link has put the Windows guys at the forefront on this one.

To get started, you will first insert the CD into your Internet-connected computer. It’ll look for updates and that kind of thing. After that, it will configure the router to suit your needs. The entire setup process took no more than 10 minutes to complete, including the time it took to set up some wireless security settings. For example, you may want to hide your SSID (block SSID broadcast). It is also important to set up a proper network password, preferably using WPA rather than WEP.

As with most routers on the market today, the configuration is done through a web-based interface. After everything is up and running, you can access the wireless router’s administrative panel by entering 192.168.0.1 in your favorite web browser. The D-Link interface is reasonably straightforward and easy to understand.

Signal Strength and Reliability

I didn’t expect the world of the D-Link WBR-1310. I was just expecting a basic 802.11g Wi-Fi router that would provide me with a consistent and reliable Internet connection. For the first few hours, this was exactly the case, offering speeds that were almost as good as having a wired direct connection to the modem.

And then I got booted. There was no real rhyme or reason for this. I just lost the connection to the network altogether unexpectedly and it was forced to try and connect again. This was with the internal wireless card on my Dell laptop. Strangely, it could re-connect on its own and I had to “repair” the wireless connection. Signal strength returned to excellent and all was well again.

The next day, I encountered the exact same scenario, so I decided to run a highly unscientific experiment based on my previous experience with wireless routers. Leaving the router unplugged overnight, I found that the next day offered a much more reliable connection. I suspect that there may be some mild overheating issues with this router and it’s the heat that is causing the slightly unreliable connection.

Conclusion

Considering that the D-Link WBR-1310 can be picked up for between $20 and $30 these days, you probably shouldn’t expect the world of it. This wireless router won’t wow you with its speed or extra functions, but it’s perfectly suitable for the needs of most consumer homes. It’ll get your Wii online. It’ll connect little Timmy’s laptop to the web without wires. And that’s about it.

The setup wizard made installation an absolute breeze, making the process simple enough for even novices to understand. They may require some help with the security end of things, but at least they can get the basic network set up. There’s even an option for network connected printers.

In the end, the D-Link WBR-1310 is a reasonable option when it comes to affordable wireless networking, but the sudden cutouts in signal can get really frustrating really quickly. Perhaps if the router had better ventilation? For this reason, I can neither recommend nor not recommend this router. It’s cheap, but you get what you pay for.


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