Review: D-Link DGL-4300 108G Wireless Gaming Router (HW)
In working for a large regional ISP, I’ve done many installs of SOHO-type wireless networks. I also have one at home as well and consistently use my laptop from the easy chair to do this and that; my wife’s desktop, because it’s on the other side of the house (and because we have an older home and wired networking just wasn’t practical), is also connected wirelessly. So, when I heard that D-Link had produced a gaming-specific router, and with all the PC gaming and Xbox Live gaming done from home, I had to check this unit out. I can tell you outright I was not disappointed.
The DGL-4300 has a very similar case to the DI-624 [ product link ] only the gaming router is in a gamer-styled black. You have the option to set the router flat or stand it up on one end. The footprint is very manageable and is barely larger than most standard 802.11b routers.
There are two main features of this router that really set it apart from the rest. The first being the configuration interface. Now, understand that yes, it does include all the trimmings you would expect from a router and even more config options because it’s a gaming router. But that’s not the best part; you can actually make multiple changes without having to reboot after each change. Yes, for the changes to take effect you have to reboot. However, D-Link’s strategy includes marketing this unit for the somewhat tech savvy on up. I can tell you that I absolutely loved this feature. I knew exactly how I wanted my network set up so I buzzed through each config screen, making the proper adjustments to the settings and, once finished, I was able to then reboot and all of my changes took effect. Granted, I don’t often make changes to my router once it’s configured but this feature alone makes it very attractive, especially for those familiar with setting up a complicated wireless network.
Also on the subject of the router’s config, each config window is dutifully labeled and also provides in-line help as well. All the major features of most SOHO routers are included as well as a glossary for users to look up unfamiliar terms. Users can make adjustments to settings such as virtual servers, web and MAC address filters, inbound filters, advanced wireless plus many others. This is a fully featured device allowing users complete control over their wired and wireless network.
The other main feature of this router is called GameFuel, and let me tell you, it works. What GameFuel proposes to do is mark certain packets as being higher priority than others. Specifically, those packets coming from and going to your gaming applications. Example: my wife often does school work that requires her to move large files to and from various locations. She also enjoys watching trailers for upcoming movies and, of course, only the large version will do. Before, it was obvious while I was gaming that she was using our bandwidth as my games would begin to lag. However, now that I’ve installed the DGL-4300, I’ve encouraged her to do whatever she can to bog me down. The honest truth? She’s tried, and it ain’t happenin’.
I ran several tests where I would play various games, some PC-based, some Xbox Live-based, while performing some bandwidth-intensive tasks in the background. I fired up BitTorrent and downloaded some random game demo while playing Halo 2 over Xbox Live. Where before I could expect some lag while gaming, my experience was very smooth. I also tried some other games such as Project Gotham Racing 2 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and these games also ran smoothly. I figured as much since Xbox Live uses the same network resources no matter what game I played over it. So, my next test was to play some PC games.
While still performing bandwidth-intensive tasks (nothing like downloading Linux ISO’s just to delete them later) I played some Battlefield 2 and Guild Wars. Again, I could readily tell the difference in my gaming, comparing it to pre-DGL-4300 and post-DGL-4300 gaming sessions.
Built in, the router has a 4-port gigabit switch, allowing wired connections to run at 1 gigabit per second. The router also supports D-Link’s proprietary Xtreme G technology, allowing for wireless speeds up to 108 mbits per second of data transfer. I have also tested this technology by equipping a laptop computer with D-Link’s Xtreme G wireless card and moving several gigs of data between it and a PC connected at only 100 megabits per second (that limitation beind due to the PC having only a 10/100 NIC installed). Data moved quickly and efficiently at the speeds expected.
All in all, I am very impressed with this device and consider it the best addition to my network I’ve ever made. I play alot of games online and am very picky as far as experience. D-Link helps to solidify all gamers’ experiences by giving them GameFuel and, if you’re into gaming from a wireless connection, you can’t go wrong with D-Link’s Xtreme G technology. If your gaming experience is critical to you, you owe it to yourself to pick up the DLG-4300 108g Wireless Gaming Router.
» Official Product Page
» Reviewer // Shawn Wallace