D-Link DFL-210

Stroke your rabbit foot for good luck before starting to install the DFL-210.

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The DFL-210 does not include a DNS server. If you put the same IP address in the DNS field as the default gateway, as you do with all other units tested here, your network clients will not be able to resolve URLs because they won't be linked to a real DNS server. For our tests, we used Google's free public DNS addresses of and, both of which were passed to clients as requested.

Next comes the "helper" servers, including addresses for up to two syslog servers and two more external time servers. This ends the setup process, and when you click the Activate button, all the details will be saved to the DFL-210.

This is actually a nice touch. Using the admin utility through a browser, the Configuration drop-down menu has three options: Save and Activate (as just done), Discard Changes, and View Changes. When fighting through more complicated configurations to make the unit usable, as we had to do several times, a list of planned changes ready to be implemented gave us a chance to double check before hitting Save and Activate.


Once restarted, network clients will have access through the DFL-210's firewall and security policies to the Internet through the WAN port. Converting the DMZ port for duty as the second WAN port takes some effort, none of which is detailed in the manual. Luckily, the technical support person we used, knew his product well and communicated even more clearly.

All rules and policies refer to named objects, such as lan_ip and wan_dns2, rather than actual addresses. The table matching names to addresses is the Address Book where we changed the DMZ port address to match the second broadband IP address, then created a group that linked LAN traffic to both the WAN and DMZ (now WAN2) ports.

There are three options for WAN load balancing: Round Robin, Destination and Spillover. Round Robin sends alternate packets through alternate WAN ports, and resulted in better bandwidth usage than any other router we tested. However, if clients outside connect via Secure-HTTP for any reason, the Round Robin alternate sources confuse the client, so Destination is the best choice in that case.

Feedback is just about non-existent. To track how many packets are coming and going, you must choose Status on the status line, then Interface. A screen named Interface Status appears, showing details from a single interface at a time. The only performance feedback is a text listing of packet and bytes in and out for that interface, along with the number of errors and dropped packets.

Although changing the LAN IP address from the default 192.168.1.x to our test lab's is technically only a matter of changing the lan_ip, lannet, and lan_dhcpserver_range and activating the changes, we missed the time window to connect using the changed LAN address from our admin computer. We could never connect to the unit after that until we reset it back to factory defaults and started the setup all over again. We then left the DHCP address at the default, because the aggravation wasn't worth trying that a second time.

D-Link likes to advertise that its small business products have "enterprise features," and the DFL-210 certainly has them. However, it also has enterprise complexity for setup and configuration. Once through that aggravation, however, the DFL-210 provided the fastest average throughput rate during our testing by a small margin.

Read more about LAN and WAN in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

This story, "D-Link DFL-210" was originally published by Network World.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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