Wednesday, 04 March 2015 16:24

VIDEO: D-Link’s Viper, a canny dual-band router with bite

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D-Link’s Viper takes on the look of a Mac Pro while delivering a powerful range boost that supports more than 25 Wi-Fi users at the same time.

Once upon a time, wireless routers were boring rectangular boxes with an antenna or two sticking out of them, chugging along to give life to Wi-Fi.

Fast forward a few years, and today’s Wi-Fi routers blend design and power with features and benefits that make a real difference to your connected home.

D-Link’s Viper takes on the circular tube-like look of a Mac Pro, rather than a circular filing cabinet, and even without any visible antennas, delivers the widest range of any wireless router I’ve used before.

I set up the D-Link Viper in a friend’s busy home office, in a very large apartment that always had issues getting Wi-Fi to work across its entire range.

This was despite buying around a year ago the most expensive dual-band Netgear router available at the time at Officeworks, which also promised a big Wi-Fi range, but did so best with 802.11ac-class devices.

While the Viper is also naturally a dual-band AC capable router, the devices I was connecting were not AC-capable, and so even with Netgear-branded wireless extenders from the same timeframe, I just couldn’t get reliable Wi-Fi to all parts of that particular apartment.

This made streaming video on machines furthest away from the router an unreliable affair, even when boosted by a wireless extender.

However, it was extremely pleasing to see that D-Link’s Viper did the job, delivering enough power to allow not just regular Internet access, but also streaming video to a spot in the house that was previously just too far away.

The unit in question is D-Link’s Viper Dual Band AC1900 ADSL2/2+ Modem Router (DSL-2900AL), and right from its stylishly designed box and ‘out of the box’ unboxing experience, you got the feeling this router is something special.

Clearly, even modem makers these days can see the value in presentation, and the delight this brings to users before they’ve even turned the device on.

Of course, if you do have AC-class Wi-Fi devices, then you can expect even better performance, with the Viper offering Advanced AC SmartBeam technology along with Advanced Quality of Service (QoS) controls to efficiently distribute bandwidth to end devices.

As D-Link promises, the Viper ‘significantly increases Wi-Fi performance, allowing users to experience superior speed, coverage, reliability and efficiency.’

Another feature is its support of 25+ Wi-Fi devices simultaneously. I have been in friend’s houses where the router they used had hit its limit of 15 devices at the same time, requiring someone’s phone or tablet to be disconnected from Wi-Fi to allow someone else to connect.

Being able to support more users and more devices than ever is of paramount importance in today’s hyper-connected Internet of Things world, so the Viper certainly has you covered in this regard.

Sporting a new and easy-to-use user interface, as well as a smartphone app, the Viper was effortless to set up, while also sporting both USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports.

Since launch, the Viper has had a firmware update too, making it even better.

Graeme Reardon, D-Link Australia’s MD said of the router at its launch that: “With more and more Wireless AC end-point devices launching onto the market, including Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, consumers require the best and most advanced networking equipment to take advantage of the new applications that these devices are bringing to our everyday lives.

“Thanks to the Viper’s blazing fast Wi-Fi speeds and expanded coverage areas, now you can stream multiple High Definition content streams simultaneously to different end point devices around your home, whether these are smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops or Smart TV’s and Wi-Fi Audio gear.

“Online gamers, music lovers and video buffs can expect a dramatically enhanced Wi-Fi signal strength that ensures superior coverage and speed to share and stream content to all corners of their home.”

D-Link’s video gives a good, quick summary of the device, as you can see below:

A quick summary of its specs are as follows:

  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi connectivity (N600 + AC1300)
  • Three Gigabit LAN ports and one configurable Gigabit WAN/LAN port to connect to an NBN or UFB service
  • Built-in ADSL2/2+ modem for connecting to an ADSL enabled phone line for a high-speed broadband Internet connection
  • USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports to connect storage drives and printers for sharing across the home
  • Dual Active Firewalls (NAT/SPI) to control traffic and prevent exploits and intrusions
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) to quickly and securely add additional devices to your network
  • Secure WPA/WPA2 encryption algorithms
  • mydlinkTM web portal and mydlinkTM Lite Mobile Apps (available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices) enables users to remotely access, view, and manage their device(s)

The RRP is $379.95, with a quick check at JB Hi-Fi and Officeworks showing their pricing is $379, although a quick check at the StaticIce website shows some stores selling it for as little as $299.

Thus far, it is the very best router I’ve ever used, the best looking router I've used, has the most impressive wireless performance I’ve seen yet - and it even comes with a three year warranty.

If you need more Wi-Fi performance or just want to support ever more Wi-Fi devices, while having a device that looks decidedly modern to do it all, then watch out - you might get bitten by the Viper!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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