GCN LAB REVIEW

D-Link AirPremier N DAP-2590

The AirPremier N Access Point from D-Link Systems comes in a sturdy metal case that can be mounted on a vertical surface with the hardware that's included. This is fortunate, because if not mounted on a wall, its footprint is an awkward 6 inches by 8 inches.

The D-Link’s single gigabit local-area network port had Power over Ethernet, which saves having to deal with an extra cable — and, more important, uses one less power outlet. The bases of three external antennae can be inclined 90 degrees and rotated a full 360 degrees. The antennae themselves can also be rotated 90 degrees, so they each can occupy any conceivable position in the hemisphere centered on its base. This is by far the greatest amount of flexibility for antenna placement of any access point in the review.

GCN LAB TEST

D-Link AirPremier N Access Point DAP-2590

Pros: PoE port, four operating modes, dual-band
Cons: Low file-transfer speeds, large footprint.

Performance: B-
Ease of Use: A
Features: B+
Value: B-
Price: $349.99

The AirPremier N has two "Draft-N" radios. It can be set to use either the 2.4 GHz band, which is compatible with 802.11b, g and n devices, or the 5 GHz band, which is used by the 802.11a and n devices. This provides flexibility, as the 5 GHz frequency can be used if the 2.4 GHz band already has too much traffic or other interference.

Although the D-Link has no router mode, it does have four operating modes. It can function as a standard access point or as a Wireless Distribution System node that can operate with or without access point broadcast. It can also be used as a wireless client adapter if you are desperate for one.

In our Veriwave throughput tests, the DAP-2590 maintained a rate of 244.84 megabits/sec when transferring data packets of 1,518 bytes from a wired to a wireless client. In the other direction, the rate rose to 258.90 megabits/sec, which is in expected ranges. With five simulated clients, these speeds dropped an average of 1.7 percent — one of the best among those tested. With WPA2-PSK authentication enabled, we achieved an average drop of 2.5 percent, which gave the D-Link the lead in this department.

However, the DAP-2590 did not fare as well in our file transfer tests. At the shorter distances — 10 feet, 20 feet and 40 feet — of the download test, the D-Link was the slowest. At the longer distances — 80 feet and 160 feet — it wasn’t in last place, but it was pretty close, averaging as low as 1.47 megabits/sec at one point. In our upload tests, the DAP-2590 performed similarly, coming in last at most of the distances.

At $410 retail [tk: price being double-checked by writer], the D-Link AirPremier N Access Point is not what we would consider a fantastic bargain, even considering its two frequencies, different operating modes and flexible antenna placement. Its file transfer rates simply do not warrant such a price. However, if shelf space is at a premium, and you have wireless devices that need bridging, then this might be the access point you need.

D-Link Systems, 714-885-6242, www.dlink.com

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