AutomatedBuildings.com
Review - May 2001
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Wireless Networking Review

Next I unplugged my laptop and started roaming all over the house, Yes! I had  wireless internet/network connection everywhere. Out the door and around the house and the signal was still strong and clear. Well beyond my yard I kept clicking, the distant spec was met and exceeded. Yet another de-lighted D-Link customer.

Ken Sinclair, Editor
AutomatedBuildings.com


After publishing our March issue of The Automator on the Wonderful World of Wireless, writing my Engineering Systems Building Automation Column on Working Without Wires  and providing our review The Wireless Revolution at AHR Expo 2001, friend Bob Hetherington at www.hometoys.com asked, "when are you going to stop talking about wireless and do something about it?"  Bob offered me the opportunity to review one of the new products from the D-Link http://www.dlink.com/ Air Series of Wireless Network Adapters.

The first quick look at the product excited me because in addition to the wireless network the DI-713 included a router and firewall.  In D-Link's own words "D-Link’s DI-713 allows wireless LAN users to share a single Internet Connection while providing the safety and security of port blocking, packet filtering, and a natural firewall. Static address support, integrated DHCP, PPPoE, and device name support will allow it to connect to nearly any broadband provider whether cable or DSL based, and at the same time simplify local area network settings."

This was great because we were using Windows internet sharing through a desktop PC and then passing signal over Ethernet wire to a laptop. This provided neither proper security nor an easy plan B for email and internet access should the desktop fail. These concerns had us considering purchasing a gateway when we were introduced to the D-Link solution.

I must admit that I am a user of PCs but not particularly adept at system set up, especially in the area of networks, so the thought of reconfiguring our working network did not excite me. The literature made it all sound so easy, how could I resist?

Opened up the D-Link boxes, read the instructions which seemed quite simple and clear. Plugged in the DI-713 self test and blinked lights. All worked as described so I decided to install Laptop PCMCIA wireless card first. When I opened this box the manual for this device was missing.  Hardware installation however was a breeze. The card came up running and established communication with new router.  I started to reconfigure laptop network to talk to router but then it got a little confusing. The instructions seemed to assume that my old network card was PCMCIA card and this laptop had an internal network port. Once I got my head around this concept, disabled the internal network port and built the necessary new drivers it worked. 

I decided to connect the desktop to one of the Ethernet ports on the new router. On first boot of the PC it had a conflict error with the router so I had to reconfigure network settings and remove internet sharing.  Once this was completed that connection worked as advertised.  Networking between PC's worked right away, as well as printer and device sharing. The cable internet access seemed even quicker and crisper, possibly something to do with removing the internet sharing or the previous network settings.

Next I unplugged my laptop and started roaming all over the house, Yes!, I had  wireless internet/network connection everywhere. Out the door and around the house and the signal was still strong and clear. Well beyond my yard I kept clicking, the distant spec was met and exceeded.  Another satisfied D-Link customer.  

Conclusion

Product works well with great potential in the Automated Buildings industry. The wireless range should completely cover small buildings and cover the complete floor of a large building when plugged into the LAN connection on each floor. 

Imagine how this technology could radically change how we commission buildings. A commissioning agent could move through a large building with a laptop with a wireless connection, commissioning end devices, confirming temperatures, flows and other parameters while feeding Information directly into the controlling system and building the web site. Servicing also takes on a new look as maintenance staff could simultaneously interface with the field devices and central controlling systems.

Want to know more details about this product?
http://www.dlink.com/products/broadband/di713/SpecsTable.htm


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