D-Link DGL-4300 Gaming Router

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The first “gaming” router surprises us with excellent multitasking performance

Month Reviewed: March 2005
Verdict: 9
URL: www.dlink.com

You already have a smokin’-fast DSL line and sub-20ms pings on more than 200 servers. What can a “gaming” router possibly do for you? D-Link promises that its DGL-4300 will deliver improved gaming performance even when someone sharing your connection is hogging bandwidth. We took the DGL-4300 into the Lab to put this claim to the test.

In a typical gaming situation—where the only computer connected to the network was being used for games—we saw virtually no difference in ping time between the DGL-4300 and any other router. When we used a download service that saturates our bandwidth to initiate a 400MB download (on both the same computer and a second computer on the same network) and then played the same game, we saw a much smaller spike in our ping than we did with a standard router: We went from a 30ish ping to an 80ish ping with the DGL-4300, compared with a 30ish ping to a 150ish ping with a standard router. When we looked at packet loss, we were even more impressed. Using a conventional router, packet loss hovered somewhere between 20 and 30 percent; with the DGL-4300, packet loss was virtually nil. Even though we experienced a slightly higher ping while downloading, the DGL-4300 correctly identified the game’s packets and pushed them down the pipeline ahead of the data transfer.

Quality of Service isn’t really a new feature. Many other routers offer QoS, but none we’ve tested are as easy to configure as the DGL-4300. To enable this router’s gaming-enhancement features, you need only switch one toggle. (Never fear: Network nerds can still dig into the advanced settings.)

The rest of the DGL-4300’s performance was up to par with other 802.11g offerings. It transferred our 700MB MPEG-4 test file in just less than four minutes, and it worked well out to 50 feet in a crowded Wi-Fi environment.

Single-user households won’t necessarily benefit from a router with QoS features, but if you live with three roommates who love to suck down huge downloads while you’re gaming, you should give this puppy a try. --Will Smith

+ Gaming: Quality of Service features actually work, enabling you to use your broadband connections more effectively.

- Working:
At $180, this router is a little pricey. Some competitors are shipping QoS as a free firmware update to existing products.

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