Monday, 21 March 2016

D-Link DIR-510L

D-Link DIR-510L

The D-Link name is synonymous with networking products and has been for a lot of years now. It’s hardly surprising, then, to find that it has quite an impressive range of personal hotspot and travel router devices on offer.

The one we have to test here is the Dir-510L portable router and charger. This is a long, thin device measuring 140 x 59 x 16mm, which has a number of interesting features.

In terms of connectivity, the DIR-510L offers 802.11ac wi-fi, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels up to a theoretical 750Mbps, a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, a WPS button and a pair of USB ports.

It’s the USB ports that are the main draw for many users here. One of the ports is designed for charging other devices, such as your phone, and it's compatible with 3G/4G adapters. The other port is designed specifically for USB drives, which can be used to share, upload or download files through the use of the MyDlink and SharePort apps.

Furthermore, the DIR-510L has a 4000mAh rechargeable battery, so it can work for a limited time when there’s no power connection, or it can simply be used to give a charge to a flagging mobile device. Incidentally, the battery will last for around four hours off a full charge when in normal use. Obviously if it’s charging another device, then it won’t get close to that length of time.

The Ethernet port acts only as a WAN port for connection to an already wired network, and from there you can turn the wired network into a wireless one. Basically, it has three possible modes: broadband router, mobile router and wi-fi hotspot. How you’ve connected it to the internet will determine the mode that’s selected. Interestingly (and this wasn’t mentioned in the documentation), when we had a 4G USB dongle connected, the wired network temporarily lost its internet connection, and the 4G network took over seamlessly without us even realising it. It’s a neat feature and one that we’re sure mobile workers would appreciate.

As for other features, the DIR-510L offers guest network support, IPv6, UPnP and DLNA support. Its design is lightweight and slim enough to be carried around with a laptop or tablet, and it can recharge itself via the laptop, so there’s no need for extra plugs to be used.

The only downside is the fact that the Ethernet port acts only as a WAN connection and not one you can use as a LAN port. Plugging in wired devices or extending to a switch, for example, are out of the question. It’s not a necessity, since everything is wireless these days, but it would have covered all bases if LAN support was offered too.

The D-Link DIR-510L is a great little travel router. It’s easy to use, has a wealth of features and we particularly like its use as a charging station too. Perhaps £77 is a little expensive for the home user, but for a business it’s one to consider.