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D-Link Wi-Fi Booster (DAP-1525)

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Wireless networking is so easy and convenient, it seems like magic — until you put an HDTV in a third-floor corner bedroom or a network printer in your basement office and find that the wireless signal just doesn’t reach. That’s when you need a device like the D-link Wi-Fi Booster (DAP-1525).

The Wi-Fi Booster is part of D-Link’s new Amplifi home networking product line, and uses SmartBeam technology to deliver uninterrupted connectivity to any location in your house. With SmartBeam, six multi-directional antennas locate and track devices on your network, beaming bandwidth to them, which eliminates wireless dead spots.

The Wi-Fi Booster connects to your current wireless router either via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This handy device extends an existing wireless network at the highest available wireless speed (up to 300Mbps), and can also function as a bridge, wirelessly linking to another DAP-1525 up to several hundred feet away.

In my testing, I was able to get 300Mbps, the highest supported speed, anywhere in my home, and even throughout my back yard, at distances of 150 feet or more, through interior and exterior walls.

The Wi-Fi Booster is a straightforward device, tall and cylindrical rather than the paperback-book shape of most wireless routers. It has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button for enabling secure connections, a switch on the back to select AP or bridge mode, and a USB port for connecting and sharing a storage device or a printer across your computers.

Setup is easy — you can either run the included CD-ROM or point a browser to the default IP address and run the configuration wizard. The software leads you through configuring the unit, enabling security, and choosing security protocols. The gigabit Ethernet ports are priority-enabled, which means port 1 has top priority, port 2 less, and ports 3 and 4 the least. By using these ports strategically, you can ensure that, say, your computer will take priority over the kids’ game system. The manual is excellent, guiding even inexperienced users through the steps necessary to use the device.

Adding a wireless device to the network is simple if the computer supports the Wireless N standard. Tell the computer to look for a wireless network, press the WPS button on the Wi-Fi Booster, and the computer finds and connects securely, with automatic protection against other users eavesdropping on network traffic. If the computer is an older model, it’s still simple to set up a secure wireless connection. The management interface guides you through the process of creating an encryption key, ensuring that no one can intercept the data flowing between the Wi-Fi Booster and the computer. The Wi-Fi Booster also includes a guest mode, which allows guests to connect to the Internet without being able to access other devices on your network.

D-Link includes SharePort Plus software, which lets users connected to the Wi-Fi Booster share a printer, scanner, all-in-one printer/scanner, or a hard drive plugged directly into the Wi-Fi Booster. Installing the SharePort software is easy, and once each user has the software installed, they can share the printer, scanner, and storage.

Used as a bridge, two Wi-Fi Boosters (or one Wi-Fi Booster and any wireless router) can connect to each other over relatively long distances. In my testing, I was able to get a solid connection between the Wi-Fi Booster and a D-Link HD Media Router 1000 (DIR-657) at a range of over 300 feet — more than enough to connect two buildings across a suburban street. The connection between the two networks operates at up to 300Mbps, more than enough speed for most small businesses.

Priced at around $169, the Wi-Fi Booster offers great range and high speeds, along with the very useful bridge mode; the ability to share a printer, scanner, or storage with all connected users; and four prioritized gigabit Ethernet ports. It is not a replacement for a wireless router, but can dramatically extend the capabilities of your existing router.

This story, "D-Link Wi-Fi Booster (DAP-1525)" was originally published by BrandPost.

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