D-Link DCS-2630L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi Camera Review

Introduction


Home security is an ever growing trend as technology gets smaller and better, and at the same time, it has also become a lot for affordable for the everyman. Today I’m taking a look at one of the best options in this category as I’m having D-Link’s DCS-2630L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi camera in my testing area.

Where most home surveillance cams still come with a 720p resolution, the D-Link DCS-2630L adds on top of that and goes for the full 1080p HD experience. While 720p already was a great step up from the old 480p CCTV resolution, it just doesn’t beat the full 1080p experience. The Wi-Fi camera doesn’t just feature a higher than usual resolution, it also has a wider field of view, allowing you to monitor an up to 180-degree wide area. Basic cameras only feature 90 or 120-degree view, which allows the DCS-2630L to monitor a lot more real estate that might prevent you from having to set up multiple cameras. The wide-view feature is also a lot better to look at than a traditional wide view fisheye view that distorts things.

Recording video during daylight is an easy thing, but you’ll also want to monitor what is going on when it is dark. After all, that is the time of day we usually associate with the need for protection. D-Link added night vision capabilities to the DCS-2630L with the help of infrared LEDs. The camera is able to see in the dark at a distance of up to 5 meters (16 ft) with as little as 0 Lux light. The IR LEDs can be turned on manually, but the camera also features a light sensor that determines when the LEDs are needed.

Next to the six infrared LEDs it also features two PIR sensors that detect infrared radiation when a person or animal passes for an enhanced motion detection. And that is another one of this cameras features next to just being able to show and record what is going on. With motion and sound detection, the camera is able to start recording automatically and also push notifications to your Windows, Android, and iOS device to let you know that something is going on.

D-Link didn’t just built-in a high-quality microphone to picks up on loud noises like the breaking of glass and the ability to send notification alerts about this to you, it also features 2-way audio that lets you send audio back. A high-quality speaker lets you respond to what you see using your mobile device.

The Full HD sensor features a 1/3-inch 3-megapixel sensor to deliver images in sharp and rich detail while the camera lens is made of glass for the best possible results. All this coupled with the de-warping technology provides you with a clear and ultra-wide 180º field of view surveillance. The camera comes on a wall mountable metal stand with flexible tilt for the perfect angle. It also allows for 360-degree camera rotation to ensure that your video is perfectly level no matter where you mount it.

It isn’t just an ordinary camera on the Wi-Fi field either and it sports a proper IEEE 802.11ac dual-band connection for reliable connection and streaming. It also features a convenient WPS button for quick and simple connection with the rest of your network infrastructure. Everyone can press a button. Besides the wireless connection, the DCS-2630L also features a micro SD/SDXC card slot with support for up to 128GB memory cards. This is enough for up to a week of continuous clip recordings in 1080p.

A status LED lets you know what your camera’s doing, which is a simple but very useful thing. The whole camera in itself is very power effective and only requires a USB connection, portable battery, or power adapter to run. That also allows for a very flexible placement.

Feature Highlights

  • 180-degree Ultra-Wide-View
  • Full HD 1080p video
  • Night vision up to 16-feet
  • Sound & motion detection triggers e-mail / push alert notifications
  • 2 PIR Sensors – Enhanced motion detection senses when a person or animal passes for accurate
  • notifications
  • microSDXC card slot – Record continuous, scheduled, or detection triggered video clips directly to a
  • microSDCX card up to 128 GB
  • Unique De-warping technology maximizes the video quality with less distortion to eliminate a fish-eye view
  • Built-in two-way audio
  • mydlink app support for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows phone

Specifications

Packaging and Content

The D-Link DCS-2630L is a consumer camera and the package is made to be as eye-capturing as the camera catches images. The front displays the camera and usage scenario as well as the product highlights such as 1080p and wide eye lens.

On the rear, you will find more detailed information about the functions and features, all in full colour.

Each of the two sides is full of information too. On one side you find the features listed above the minimum requirements for usage.

On the other side, you’ll find a simple representation of the camera’s easy setup and usage as well as what’s inside the box.

Besides the Wi-Fi camera itself, you also find the Quick Install Card with default information and QR-code for easy setup as well as the quick install guide, a GPL code statement, and an assistance card if you should have trouble.

There’s also an AC/DC adapter included with a plug fitting the region where you bought it. Due to the clever usage of micro-USB, the camera is also easily powered otherwise.

SilverStone ES01 PCI-E Remote PC Switch Kit

Introduction


There are many forms of being lazy, or maybe we should rather call it an extra comfort feature that expands your abilities. Today I’m taking a closer look at SilverStone’s ES01 expansion card which allows you turn your PC on and off as well as reset it remotely. This can either be used as an extra security feature or as a simple addition to the already existing methods. The ES01 is available as both a PCI and a PCI-Express card, so you can make it work in almost any system. I’ll be taking a closer look at the PCI-Express x1 version today.

SilverStone’s ES01 is a convenient remote switch kit designed to wirelessly turn your computer on or off as well as reset it. It uses the existing 2.4GHz standard with RF wireless technology which is known to work great and offer a great range. The ES01 remote kit is rated for a range of up to 20 meters which is quite cool and allows you to work the magic from afar.

The adapter comes with an included Y-cable which ensures that your computer case’s own power and reset buttons can be used concurrently with the ES01. You normally wouldn’t want to rely purely on a remote for such a crucial function, and you don’t need to. However, at the same time the ES01 it can be used without connecting the Y-cable to the chassis buttons in order to add another level of security besides BIOS passwords and software solutions to which the ES01 can be a good alternative. It will mostly be users with computers located in hard to reach areas or systems with special usage scenarios that will find the ES01 remote switch kit to be very handy, but it is up to you how you’d like to use it.

The expansion card in itself is a low profile card and it isn’t very long either. It will easily fit into even the smallest chassis and comes with an included low-profile bracket too. All it takes is two screws to switch from the normal to the low-profile bracket, so that’s a job quickly done if needed.

The remote control uses a common CR2025 Lithium manganese button battery with a 3V voltage. It has a maximum measured EIRP of 3.76dBm and naturally operates on the 2.4GHz band. It is about the size that you would know from your car key with remote functionality, but weighs far less. It also comes with a convenient ring for attachment to key rings, backpacks, purses, and more.

Feature Highlights

  • Control your computer from anywhere in the room using 2.4GHz RF remote
  • 2.4GHz receiver PCI or PCI-E card included
  • Works as far away as twenty meter
  • Includes power / reset switch Y cable
  • Includes optional low profile expansion slot cover

Specifications

Package and Accessories

The SilverStone ES01 comes in a fairly simple package which is fitting for a simple device. The front teases the remote capabilities which doesn’t leave much left to the imaginations. You instantly know what it’s for.

The rear of the box contains the specifications and functionality in several languages. Everything extra that you might want to know before you make the purchase.

Inside the box, we find the add-in card with y-cable attached, a low-profile expansion slot bracket for use in SFF chassis, the remote control and battery for it as well as a small manual.

Tenda AC15 Dual-Band AC1900 Gigabit WiFi Router Review

Introduction


Tenda might be a company that is mostly known for the entry-level products at lower speeds, but they also got some top of the line devices that easily can compete with anything else on the market. Today I’m taking a look at the new Tenda AC15 which is an AC1900 Smart Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi router.

Tenda designed the AC15 with the smart home in mind and as such the router brings a lot of features that can make your everyday digital life a lot easier. Starting with the dual-band AC1900 technology we know that we have a strong router in our hands that will deliver some of the best possible wireless network speeds. The AC15 also features beamforming technology that helps to boost the range of the high-powered amplifiers and external antennas.

The AC1900 standard defines a total speed capability of the router up to 1900Mbps where it is capable of delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently. The Beamforming+ technology helps to achieve the best connection with each device as it locks onto a device’s location and strengthens the signal in that direction rather than blasting it equally in every direction.

The router is equipped with 3 external dual band antennas with a 3dBi strength. Sadly the antennas aren’t replaceable, at least not without taking the unit apart, but they should offer plenty of performance for small to mid-sized homes.

Tenda built the AC15 router around a Broadcom dual-core processor and equipped it with DDR3 memory, but the specifications page does not reveal which exact processor nor how much memory it has. That might, however, be something we can find out through the user interface or by opening it up.

Next to the obligatory WAN port, Tenda equipped the AC15 router with three more Gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired network devices. It also features a USB 3.0 port for easy storage and printer connections which then can be shared to any device that you want via your network. This also allows you to create a personal cloud system and that’s even an easy task to do thanks to Tenda’s personal cloud system. We’ll have a close look at that when we got to the user interface.

There is an ever-increasing concern what effect WiFi signals can have on us humans and it’s better to be on the safe side than sorry. Whether this is a concern to you or not, the Healthy e-life functions in the router allow you to dim the LEDs as well as turn the WiFi signal on and off by a user defined schedule. Why should you be bothered by blinking lights and wireless signals when you aren’t home or asleep. Might as well turn it off, which also saves on the electricity bill.

The initial setup and further configuration of Tenda’s AC15 is a breeze as you can do it from any device, whether it’s wired or wireless. You can either use the easy web setup wizard or use the available Tenda apps. Once setup, you have a powerful wireless router that supports IPTV, VPN, FTP, DDNS and DLNA among others.

Feature Highlights

  • Ultimate 11ac speed of up to 1900Mbps, delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently.
  • Broadcom dual-core processor with DDR3 memory for multi-client with responsive performance and fast speed.
  • Beamforming+ technology boosts range for the 802.11ac WiFi devices.
  • High powered amplifiers and three external antennas for whole-home coverage.
  • USB3.0 for personal secure cloud and printer sharing.
  • Smart managements of WiFi schedule, LED indicator and power saving all are for your healthy E-life.

Package and Accessories

The retail package for the Tenda AC15 router is a beautiful full-coloured one. The front teases the features and the units design with its eye-catching and bright design.

The rear of the box has some more information on the routers usage scenarios as well as more information about the features.

The full network specifications can be found on the side of the box, so you know what you get before you make the purchase.

The router itself is wrapped with a plastic cover to protect it from scratches. There’s also an extra SSID and password sticker on the plastic which you can remove and place somewhere else for safe keeping.

There’s an install guide, GNU license notice, and a wireless standard certification included, but the last two are more for legal reasons.

Besides the router and the manuals, we also find a power adapter, an RJ45 LAN cable and the foot for the router inside the box.

 

ASUS RP-AC56 Dual-Band Wireless AC1200 Range Extender Review

Introduction


When you invest in a wireless network repeater in order to increase your range and cover dead spots in your home, you can either go for a run-of-the-mill unit that provides you with the basic functionality or you can go all out and get a device like ASUS’ RP-AC56 wireless dual-band AC1200 range extender and access point. The ASUS RP-AC56 is anything but ordinary and today I’ll take a closer look at everything this little device has to offer.

The ASUS RP-AC56 can extend your existing 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi network with speeds up to 1167 Mbps and thanks to its two external antennas it will have a great ability to enhance Wi-Fi signal coverage and boost your Wi-Fi everywhere. But it does a lot more than that, it also comes with a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port for even more connectivity as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for music streaming.

The dual-band repeater supports both the legacy 2.4GHz band and the newer 5GHz band for AC1200 speeds. The two external antennas support MIMO for the best connection even when multiple devices use it at the same time. With speeds up to 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band you can get close to what a wire connection has to offer, at least with the proper signal strength and isn’t that just the reason that we want a device such as the RP-AC56.

ASUS made sure that the setup is as easy as it can be, all it takes is a push of a button thanks the easy WPS setup. Hit the button on your router and then on the repeater, wait for a little bit, and the connection will be established. And that really is all you need to do, but you can do more. The LEDs on the front don’t just show which network band is being used, they also show the signal strength in three steps (Red, Yellow, Green) which in return allows you to find the perfect position for maximum coverage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf-0m-BMyo0

As previously mentioned, the RP-AS56 comes with a convenient Gigabit Ethernet LAN port built-in and the function of it depends on the usage of the RP-AC56. The flexibly designed device can work as a normal repeater, but it can also work as a wireless access point or as a media bridge. In access point mode it can be connected to any wired network and create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. In media bridge mode it can be connected to any Ethernet-compatible device to give it Wi-Fi capability where it didn’t before.

The LAN port can also be used for easy access to the web-based configuration menu without the need for any driver disc or application, but it isn’t something that is needed. You can naturally also set it up wirelessly from devices such as your tablet or smartphone.

You can also connect speakers directly to the RP-AC56 wireless repeater and stream your favorite music direct from any mobile device that has the ASUS AiPlayer app installed. It is compatible with a wide range of multimedia formats and delivers a smooth and effortless streaming experience. The AiPlayer app is available from the App Store and Google Play and it also works for streaming without extra software when used from a Mac and iOS device.

Additionally, the RP-AC56 also supports ASUS’ ExpressWay feature that uses the dual-band capabilities to create an efficient connection with improved reliability. In normal mode, the repeater uses the two bands simultaneously for connecting to devices for the widest compatibility. ExpressWay can dedicate one band for connecting to the router and the other band for connecting to the device as long as one of them supports the 5GHz band. It also features the hassle-free Roaming Assist technology. With this enabled, you never have to switch connections manually between RP-AC56 and your ASUS router as you move around the home. Your device will connect automatically to the strongest Wi-Fi signal whether it’s from the router or the repeater.

Features

  • Extend your existing 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi network with speeds up to 1167 Mbps.
  • Two external antennas enhance Wi-Fi signal coverage and boost your Wi-Fi everywhere.
  • Quick and secure setup with just a press of the WPS button.
  • Smart LED signal indicator helps you find the best location for optimum Wi-Fi performance.
  • Rotating mains plug for flexible positioning in any power socket. (Not in all regions)
  • ASUS AiPlayer app for streaming music, with multi-protocol support.
  • ASUS ExpressWay uses full-speed device connections to boost performance.
  • Roaming Assist helps you to get a stable connection everywhere in the home or office.

Packaging and Accessories

The ASUS RP-AC56 comes in a great looking retail box that shows how the device looks on the front where it also shows the main features and highlights the Android and iOS support.

The rear of the box explains what the device does and how you can utilize it. It also showcases the AiPlayer for wireless streaming and more details on the features. Overall it’s a great box where you shouldn’t be left with any questions as to what the device you’re holding in your hands can do.

Inside the box, we find a quick start guide and ASUS VIP Member Warranty Notice in multiple languages as well as a 3.5mm audio cable to connect the repeater to an amplifier or speaker set.

D-Link DXE-820T Dual Port 10Gbase NIC Adapter Review

Introduction


Among our recent upgrade to 10 Gbit networking here in the eTeknix review section wasn’t just the awesome 12-port smart switch that we saw a little while ago, D-Link also supplied me with a DXE-820T dual-port 10 Gbit Ethernet Network card to be able to connect with the switch in full speed. After all, what good does a 10 Gbps switch do when my test rig doesn’t have the same kind of performance.

The D-Link DXE-820T is a dual-port 10 GBASE-T RJ-45 PCI Express high-performance adapter designed for the high-speed PCI Express bus architecture. This adapter offers the increased bandwidth needed in modern environments as well as being a reliable and functional PCI network card. It has been specifically designed to allow throughput at rates up to 40 Gbps, thus eliminating the bottleneck that exists with current 32 and 64-bit PCI bus architectures.

The DXE-820T requires a PCI-E v2 x8 or x16 slot for enough bandwidth, but you don’t need to provide any extra power connectors or other things besides your network cables, naturally. The card is capable of a transmitting distance of up to 100m with Cat 6A or higher in 10 GBASE-T mode and up to 100m with Cat 5 type cables in Gigabit mode. This makes the placement of the switch a lot easier.

The DXE-820T features TCP, UDP, and IP checksum offloading functionality, which transfers the checksum processing tasks from the computer’s own CPU and onto the network card itself. The DXE-820T’s ability to handle the checksum processing means that the CPU’s processing power can be used for other tasks while still achieving 20 Gbps network speeds. It also means that the network card needs some extra cooling in the form of an active fan as well as a passive heatsink.

The adapter also features an onboard screening of 802.1Q VLAN tagged Ethernet frames, allowing you to assign multiple subnets to each server and isolate devices within each VLAN from the rest of the network for better traffic control and security. With support for advanced features such as 802.3x flow control, jumbo frames, and SNMP for network management, the DXE-820T can easily interoperate with your current networking equipment.

With two ports at your disposal, you can increase the network throughput even further than the 10 Gbit per second on each port. With Smart Load BalancingTM, the DXE-820T can configure multiple adapters to work as a team, sharing traffic and ensuring data reliability. This both creates a faster network and provides fault tolerance resulting in a stable and efficient network.

The low profile design allows the deployment in space restricted areas and D-Link also included a low-profile slot cover right away. The card itself is powered by Broadcom’s BCM57810 chip.

The card naturally supports Jumbo Frames for optimized setups and it allows for values up to 9K. The DXE-820T is compatible with all major operating systems with drivers available for both user systems and server systems such as Windows Server 2012 or Solaris 11.

Feature Highlights

  • High-Speed data transmission at rates up to 40Gbps allow for seamless data transfer.
  • 10GBASE-T technology supports distances to 100m over CAT6A or better copper cable.
  • Advanced Features: 802.3x flow control for traffic management, 802.1Q VLAN tagging for increased security, and checksum offloading to reduce CPU processing burden.
  • Bandwidth Management: NIC partitioning enables administrators to manage bandwidth for greater network efficiency.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The DXE-820T NIC card comes in a very neutral box that only really reveals that we have a D-Link product inside. But it’s a network card and it isn’t like you would put the box in the display after installing the card anyway, so simply is good.

We do find a little sticker on the rear of the box that reveals what is inside, the model number along with serial, mac address, and hardware version.

There is both a driver disk and a quick installation manual inside the box, and D-Link also included a low-profile bracket for use in small-form-factor systems. Everything you need to get going with that extra speed.

D-Link DIR-890 AC3200 Ultra Triple-Band Wi-Fi Router Review

Introduction


When you pick the router you want to own, you can either pick an ordinary router for your setup or a great one if you want just a little more. But there is also a third option and you have the choice to go for something extraordinary. Today I’m taking a closer look a router from the last category as I’m having D-Link’s impressive DIR-890L AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router in my testing area.

The DIR-890L brings impressive performance via three bands instead of the normal two bands, and it also comes packed in a stylish design with six antennas for maximum range, coverage, and speed. D-Link’s DIR-890L has a futuristic kind of design that somewhat resembles a drone or spaceship. A lot of the times this kind of designs can go too far, but D-Link seems to have nailed it and hit just the right spot between normal, futuristic, functionality, and design. It looks great!

We get more and more smart devices in our homes and that is something that increases exponentially the more people live in the household. We have smart TVs, smartphones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, computers, and much more. All of these need an internet connection through our one and only entry and exit point, the router, which means that we quickly can reach limits around the available bandwidth and channels, and we experience bottlenecks and lag.

Traditional routers have a 2.4GHz band for up to 600Mbps throughput that is suited for surfing, emails, and instant messaging as well as the newer 5GHz band that has a little less range but a lot more performance. D-Link added one more on top of that in the DIR-890L AC3200 router, they added a third band. The third band is another 5GHz band, freeing up some space on the first one by balancing the connections out. It also prevents slower connected devices from bottlenecking the band from faster ones. Each of the 5GHz bands has a maximum throughput of 1300Mbps which gives the DIR-890L a total wireless throughput of 3200Mbps. Effectively this is like three routers in one.

As mentioned above, not all wireless bands are the same, but that isn’t something you need to worry about with this router. The Smart Connect Technology allows the router to choose from the three Wi-Fi bands and automatically connect each device on the network to the best and clearest band available at the time of connection.

The Smart Connect feature is awesome as it manages everything itself and removes any worry from the user’s end what band to pick and choose from. You can still choose to use each band separately with their own individual SSID name and password settings should you wish to do so.

D-Link gave the DIR-890L six antennas and the router features beam-forming technology to improve coverage. With this technology, the router can direct the bandwidth in the direction of the devices connected and thereby give you a better overall connection experience whether you stream your movies, Skype with friends, or play online games.

The six antennas are adjustable in almost all directions, except down. So unless you want to place it upside down, then you can’t have it look like a spider on six legs as some of you probably already imagined. It is not something I would recommend doing as it would place the vents upward and allow for more dust to settle inside the router. You sadly can’t replace the antennas with aftermarket ones on the Ultra AC3200 and that might be a downside for some people.

The router naturally also features wired connections and not just wireless ones, although the wireless features are the selling point in this router along with the great hardware base. You get one WAN port for the internet connection and four Gigabit Ethernet ports for your LAN. The DIR-890L also comes with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port for file sharing from external storage drives or creating a network printing environment from your old USB-based printer. The D-Link share port allows all this with ease and also allows you to use the built-in DLNA server and stream to compatible devices.

D-Link also packed the router full of useful software features such as parental controls, blocking of unwanted devices, internet activity monitoring, and Wi-Fi guest networks. Intelligent Traffic Prioritization selects the fastest Wi-Fi for every device and prevents older devices from affecting optimal performance. VPN setup and all common features such as NAT and port forwarding aren’t a problem for the DIR-890L either.

There are a lot more features, but we’ll see them on the following pages when we take a look at the user interface and options. If all that shouldn’t be enough, or you just don’t like the interface for some reason and would like something else, then you can flash the router with DD-WRT, the open-source router firmware. The D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi Router should be fully compatible with the open source Linux-based router operating system.

If all that shouldn’t be enough, or you just don’t like the interface for some reason and would like something else, then you can flash the router with DD-WRT, the open-source router firmware. The D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi Router should be fully compatible with the open source Linux-based router operating system.

All this requires some power to run and that comes from a 1GHz dual-core processor that has no trouble keeping up the data packets for your gaming sessions or 4K media streaming. Speaking of 4K media streaming, the DIR-890L is a Nvidia GameStream-Ready product and certified for optimal compatibility with the newly released Nvidia Shield 4K Android TV Console.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

A Premium router also needs a premium package, and the D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router has that. The huge box has a premium finish and is made from thick cardboard. The outside has a full-colour print with the router itself and the name on the front.

The rear of the box displays the main feature highlights in a graphical way, easy to see, read, and understand.

It isn’t just a folded box around an inlay either, but a real box where you lift the cover up.

Inside you see the beautiful router right away, safely secured and with the accessories packed in the boxes on either side.

Inside is a power cord, AC power adapter, and an RJ45 LAN cable to connect your new router.

There’s also a beautiful Quick Install Guide to help you get started, a configuration card with all the default settings and room to write you own as well as an extra sticker with the defaults for you to place where it is convenient.

Synology Router RT1900ac High-Speed Wireless Router Review

Introduction


Synology has a long experience producing network attached storage and surveillance devices so it was just a matter of time before they expanded into more similar areas. They got the knowhow and the expertise to do so and today I’m taking a closer look at their first router, the Synology Router RT1900ac Wireless Gigabit Ethernet router.

Let us first have a look at the basic hardware specifications. The Synology RT1900ac is built around a powerful dual-core CPU with a 1GHz clock speed and it comes with 256MB DDR3 memory. The dual-band 802.11ac wireless router can transfer with up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It is equipped with three external and replaceable MIMO omni-directional high-gain dipole antennas with 3.5 dBi for the 2.4GHz band and 4.6 dBi for the 5GHz band.

With a hardware base like that, you don’t need to worry about lags or bottlenecks. The RT1900ac has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, all located on the rear in-between the three antenna mounts. The RT1900ac features a power button which is a nice thing to see on a router and while it isn’t a feature that is used a lot, it is great to have when needed.

Both the wired and wireless network connections will benefit from Synology’s bandwidth prioritization and network traffic control system that allows you to prioritize the important traffic such as your games. After all, you will always want to have the lowest latency that will give you that extra edge on the virtual battlefield. But that doesn’t mean that the Synology RT1900ac only is good for gaming, it is also awesome for streaming. You can enjoy buffer-free playback of your 4K movies when streaming them to your media devices around the house.

You don’t even need other devices in order to stream your favourite movies, shows, or music to your smart TVs and audio systems as the RT1900ac is DLNA compatible and comes with both a USB 3.0 and an SD card slot. You can also use it to stream from other network storage locations should you not want to use the direct storage features.

The access to connected devices isn’t just limited to media streaming. You can share any files on a USB storage drive or SD card (SDXC) via the Synology RT1900ac and access the contents from anywhere as well as share files with family, friends, and coworkers. The RT1900 supports all the common protocols such as SMB, AFP, FTP, or WebDAV. Whether you use a Windows PC, a Mac, an Android, or an iOS device, you’ll have access to it all.

As mentioned, Synology has quite some experience within the network area and they naturally created a great operating system for their new router. The new operating system is called Synology Router Manager (SRM) and it includes both basic and advanced tools such as VPN support, RADIUS server, and more.

The operating system is very similar to DSM, Synology’s NAS operating system, and comes with the same user-friendly interface and multi-task abilities. You can also go beyond the basic and pre-installed features and download more functions through the Package Center. Transform your router into a personal VPN server, professional RADIUS authentication server, 24/7 download hub or make it into your multimedia hub. The choice is yours.

We have seen two out of four sides on the new Synology Router RT1900ac so far and below is the third side where we also find features to highlight – there is something everywhere on this router. On this side we find a button to turn the Wi-Fi completely off and back on again for when it isn’t needed. There is a growing concern among some people who fear that exposure to wireless signals of all sort can affect us and those people, and everyone else too, have the ability to easy switch the wireless signals on and off depending on when they are needed.

Next to the Wi-Fi on-off switch we find the WPS button for easy connectivity between the router and other devices. A simple touch of the button on both devices and they will pair with each other and establish a connection. No need to search for the correct Wi-Fi network among all the possible ones and no need to enter any complicated passwords.

There is one more thing that I haven’t shown you yet and that is located right on the front of the router, around the corner from the USB port and SD card slot, and it is the one button that I have been missing on every single device with these ports since they came into existence. A hardware eject button. Simply press the button and the operating system will safely unmount the drive and make it ready for safe ejection. This is so much easier than having to log into an administration interface just to press a button to eject the drive.

Now that we’ve seen what the Synology Router RT1900ac is all about, it is time to mount the antennas and get a closer look at them. The squared antennas look out of the norm and fit well with the router. Synology also added smart Beamforming technology that lets the RT1900ac focus wireless signals toward up to six simultaneous devices and thereby increase the range, reduce the latency, and economize the power consumption.

Synology packed the Router RT1900ac with quite a few great features such as application layer quality of service (QoS) that lets you see how much bandwidth is consumed by individual applications and devices and then lets you restrict the amount of bandwidth the device or application is allowed to use. It also comes with parental controls such as time scheduling for individual devices as well as intelligent and manual web filtering.

Synology also added support for their QuickConnect service which makes remote control and access as easy as the local. Just register a unique and customizable QuickConnect ID, and you’ll to be able to log in to Synology Router Manager, access connected storage devices, and do much more from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Packaging and Accessories

Synology packed the RT1900ac in a simple brown box which is all that is needed. It has a sticker on the front showcasing the router itself and its feature highlights.

The rear side of the box has another sticker with a few more details and the device’s specifications and usage scenario as well as what the package contains.

Inside the package is a power adapter with connection options for the region where you purchased the device, in this case there is a UK and a slim-EU plug included. There are also three high-gain antennas and the extra stand in case you should want to have it in an upright position.

SilverStone Wireless Upgrade Roundup Review

Introduction


It is one thing to buy a wireless network card and set it up, but a lot of the time you can improve the performance of these cards with a few aftermarket items. Today I’m taking a little look at some of the upgrade offering that SilverStone offers, the WAB1B Magnetic WiFi antenna base, the WAD17 7 dBi high-gain antenna, and the 9 dBi WA219 high-gain antenna.

An antenna base can help you with two things: Move the antennas to a more open space where it’s less crowded than behind your PC with all the add-in cards and cables running there. The second bonus is that you can move the antennas to a place where they will get a better reception than they would behind your chassis that’s possibly located under your desk. SilverStone’s WAB1B antenna base is also magnetic which allows you to place it on the side of things, such as your PC chassis if it is made of metal. This increases the placement options even further. To finalize the whole thing, SilverStone added gold-plated connectors at both ends to ensure the best possible signal transfer.

The included antennas might not be total to your liking when you buy a network card, for one reason or another. The most common reason to get aftermarket antennas is the higher performance that they offer over the mainstream and included antennas. Antennas with higher gain also come with an increased size as you can see on the photo below. The smallest antenna is the default antenna included with SilverStone’s ECWA1 PCIe card and the other two are the WAD17 and WA219 respectively.

The WAD17 is a dual-band antenna for use with both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz band while the WA219 only is a single-band antenna for use with the 2.4GHz band. Both have their usage scenarios, so which you pick comes down to what you need. The long WA219 has a performance of 9dBi while the WAD217 has a performance of 7dBi, both quite a bit better than default 5dBi antennas, or worse.

D-Link DXS-1210-12TC 12-Port 10GBASE-T Switch Review

Introduction


As a review site, we need to keep our testing equipment above or at least on the same level as the hardware that we test in order to provide you with relevant reviews and in that regards we’ve just upgraded our network test are with new 10 Gbps equipment. Among the new devices is the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switch that I’m taking a closer look at today.

In order to test this switch I need two systems with 10 Gbps capabilities and four CAT7 cables and below you see all but the one network card as that is onboard in one of my test systems. In my opinion, we have been stuck at Gigabit level for way too long and 10 Gigabit Ethernet is slowly starting to make an entry. It is starting to become more affordable which allows SMBs and enthusiasts to enter an area of the market that previously was limited to enterprise and large corporations.

D-Link’s DXS-1210 series is composed of several 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switches and they are a cost-effective 10 solution capable of servicing a wide range of network needs in any business. Some of the switches in the series focus primarily on SFP+ connections which aren’t optimal for my test scenario. I still test a lot of normal Gigabit equipment and my switch needs to stay compatible to those. Luckily D-Link also has this one with eight 10GBASE-T RJ45 ports and two 10Gbps SFP+ ports. Additionally, since it has two combo ports for use with either RJ45 or SFP+ connections.

The DXS-1210-12TC uses a default 19″ rack format which makes it easy to deploy in server cases and D-Link also included rubber feet in case you should run in placed on a desk or shelve somewhere. The 10GBASE-T copper ports utilize RJ45 interfaces and support 10 Gigabit speeds over CAT6a/CAT7 LAN cabling for up to 100m. That makes it easy to deploy no matter how far apart your systems are. The 10GbE fiber ports can be connected to other 10GbE ports with low-cost Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables or with SFP+ optical transceivers over multimode or single mode fiber optic cabling.

D-Link made sure that there’s plenty of overhead when it comes to transmission capabilities in the DXS-1210-12TC. It is capable of up to 240Gbps switching capacity, double what is needed, and has a maximum packet forwarding rate of 178.56 Mpps.

A device like this will naturally consume quite a bit of electricity as it has to perform flawlessly at any time and needs the power to do so, but D-Link applied their Green technologies in order to improve on this area without sacrificing operational performance or functionality. The DXS-1210-12TC features smart fans that don’t run at full speed when it isn’t needed, internal heat sensors that monitor and detect temperature changes in order to adjust the fans. The switch can also toggle ports into sleep mode automatically and it is built with hardware parts that in themselves are energy-efficient. The DXS-1210-12TC will still draw between 42.65 watts in standby mode and up to a maximum of 90.81 watts.

Feature wise you’ll find anything you’ll want in a smart switch starting with a complete lineup of L2 features. The DXS-1210-12TC supports port mirroring, Spanning Tree Protocol, and Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). DXS-1210 switches also support Auto Surveillance VLAN (ASV), and Auto Voice VLAN, which are best suited for VoIP and video surveillance deployments. The DSCP markings on Ethernet packets enable different levels of service to be assigned to network traffic. As a result, these voice and video packets take precedence over other packets. In addition, with bandwidth control, network administrators can reserve bandwidth for important functions that require a larger bandwidth or might have high priority.

The DXS-1210 series also features an extensive list of safeguards against traffic flooding and other malicious attacks. It supports 802.1X port and host-based authentication as well as external RADIUS server authentication. It also features Access Control List (ACL) for enhanced network security as well as ARP spoofing prevention. The DHCP server screening feature can also detect rogue DHCP server packets from user ports in order to prevent unauthorized IP assignment.

 

Maintenance is an easy job when it comes to the DXS-1210-12TC smart switch where it also features a few extra functions to make the admins life easier. It includes loopback detection which is used to detect loops created by a specific port and automatically shut down the affected port. There is also a cable diagnostic feature that’s primarily designed to rapidly discover errors and determine a cable’s quality.

The switch has a smart discovery protocol built in which makes it easy to set up and manage through D-Link’s Network Assistant Utility and it will detect all switches within the same L2 network. This allows extensive switch configuration and basic setup of discovered devices, including password changes and firmware upgrades. The switch also supports D-View 7 and Command Line Interface (CLI) through Telnet. D-View 7 is a network management system that allows for the central management of critical network characteristics such as availability, reliability, resilience, and security.

Feature Highlights

  • Green Technology
    • Power saving via the following features: Link Status detection, LED Shut-Off, Port Shut-Off, System Hibernation
  • Security Features
    • Access Control List
    • IP-MAC-Port Binding
    • Clientless MAC/Web access control
    • D-Link Safeguard Engine
    • Port Security
    • ARP Spoofing Prevention
  • Intuitive Management
    • D-Link Network Assistant Utility or Web-based GUI
    • CLI through Telnet
  • Advanced Features
    • Auto Surveillance VLAN
    • Loopback Detection
    • Cable Diagnostics
    • Static Route
    • LLDP/LLDP-MED
    • Auto Voice VLAN

Package and Accessories

Equipment like the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC smart switch doesn’t need a fancy package, it is what is inside that matters.

There is a small sticker in one corner of the box that shows what is inside and the feature highlights.

Inside the box are several leaflets about security and conformity as well as a Getting Started Guide and a Driver and Manual disk.

Included is a mounting system for use as a 19″ rack unit as well as four small rubber feet for those who wish to use it placed on a surface. Screws for the 19″ mounts are included too and so is a cable tie system for the power cord. You wouldn’t want to jank that out by accident.

Naturally there’s also a power cable for the region where you purchased the switch. The switch supports from 110V to 240V, so the only difference here is the plug on one end.

Linksys RE6700 AC1200 Amplify Wi-Fi Range Extender Review

Introduction


Wireless networks are great, that is as long as you are close enough to your router to get a signal strength you like. If you router shouldn’t be strong enough to reach the furthest parts of your home or you just need a stronger signal, then you might want to invest in a range extender. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Linksys RE6700 AC1200 Amplify Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender, or just Linksys RE6700 for short.

I’ve tested a few range extenders lately, but most of them were 2.4GHz mode only. That isn’t ideal for today’s devices that usually come with dual-band features and high-speed 5GHz network. The Linksys RE6700 is a dual-band device that can provide up to 300 Mbit/s on the 2.4GHz band and up to 867Mbit/s on the 5GHz band, making up the AC1200 rating. The RE6700 features a range extension all the way up to 1000 square meters, an area that should be more than enough for most homes.

One of the great thing with wireless range extenders is that they are compatible with pretty much any hardware that you already have. They simply hook themselves up on your existing network, with minor configurations, and extend the coverage and signal strength of your existing network. It couldn’t be simpler to get a better wireless network.

Linksys included the amazing Spot Finder technology in the RE6700 that allows you to find the perfect location for the range extender with ease. The range extender has a spot finder meter built into its web interface where you can use it from your PC or mobile devices. Turn the RE67000 on and find the perfect location for your new range extender in just 3 simple steps.

A downside to many wireless network range extenders is that they take up a power outlet that you otherwise might need. Linksys made sure that this won’t be an issue on the RE6700. The added power outlet pass-through for prevents the worry about blocked power outlets in your home that you otherwise need for other devices.

The RE6700 also features beamforming technology that makes sure that you have the best signal to connected devices simply by strengthening the signal in the direction of connected devices. The crossband technology allows for the simultaneous use of both bands rather than relying on one radio band to do all the work. This allows information to be obtained on one band and transmitted on the other, resulting in reduced dropped data packets, faster media transfer speeds, and a stronger, more consistent signal throughout your home.

You might think that we are done with the features now, after all, this is just a range extender. But there is more to show on the RE6700. Linksys also included a 3.5mm audio jack that allows you to connect speakers directly to the range extender and stream music wirelessly from your iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Continuing, Linksys also added a Gigabit Ethernet port to the range extender that allows you to connect devices that don’t have their own wireless adapter.

Linksys added both a power button and a WPS button to the RE6700. The power button is a nice touch, allowing you to turn the extender function off without having to unplug it. The WPS button allows for easy connection setup between the range extender and your router. A click on the WPS button on each device and the two will be automatically paired. There is also a tiny hole for the reset button in case you need to reset the configuration.

Feature Highlights

  • Increase your current router’s Wi-Fi range to up to 10,000 square feet
  • Enjoy Wi-Fi speeds up to AC1200Mbps (N300 + AC867)
  • Spot Finder Technology makes optimal placement easy
  • An integrated power outlet allows you to maintain availability of the wall plug
  • Beamforming and Crossband technologies focus and strengthen signals to help reduce dead zones
  • Stream music wirelessly throughout your home with Wi-Fi audio
  • Works with virtually any router

Packaging and Accessories

Linksys packed the Amplify AC1200 Wi-Fi range extender in a colourful box that displays all the main featuers right on the front.

The rear explains the technology behind it a little more while also explaining a little about the built-in streaming feature.

The added features such as audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet port are also displayed on the box itself.

Inside we find the range extender itself, a quick start guide, and a regulatory information leaflet.

Tenda A301 Wireless N300 Universal Range Extender Review

Introduction


Wireless networks are great and they allow us to enjoy the world with fewer cables and restraints, but they still pose a very real limitation and that is the range. There are several ways that you can combat this and increase range, coverage, and performance and one of them is through Wireless Range Extenders. Today I’m taking a closer look at Tenda’s A301 Wireless N300 Universal  Range Extender that is a solution for just such a scenario.

The Tenda A301 wireless N300 Universal Range Extender is designed to optimize and extend your existing wireless network to the furthest corner of your home. It delivers transmission rates up to 300Mbps, it features a wall-mounted design, smart signal indicators, and two external antennas.

The plug design allows you to place the Tenda A301 directly in any power outlet and enhance your wireless signals from there on. Whether your home is too big for your current routers coverage or you’ll want to enjoy your WiFi in the garden or on the porch, a range extender is a good idea.

You are already half way done with the setup when you have plugged the A301 range extender into a wall socket or extension cord. The built-in WPS button is the only thing that’s left to press once it’s ready. You’ll have to press the WPS button on your router first tho, but the setup guide explains all that in case you don’t already know it.

Tenda also included a manual setup option for the rare instances where the WPS should fail or your router doesn’t feature a WPS button and function. The sticker on the rear of the unit will tell you how to connect to the setup interface where you manually can connect it to your WiFi network as well as define various settings.

Tenda also added an LAN port to the bottom of the A301 and that allows you to extend the functionality of the device even more. For example, you could have a PC system located at the far end of your home that doesn’t have any wireless network card. Running a cable that far could be troublesome for several reasons and with the A301, you don’t need to.

Connect the PC’s LAN port to the A301’s LAN port and the system is connected to your wireless network without any further setup. For the PC, it is seen as a normal wired connection and the Tenda A301 takes care or the rest.

The Tenda A301 will work fine with any standard WiFi router and is capable of HD video streaming and gaming alike. I would, however, say that it’s mostly for web surfing due to the older standards used. The wireless range extender is using the 2.4GHz band and it is compatible with 802.11 b, g, and n devices. With just 300 Mbps at our disposal with maximum coverage, the N300 standard surely isn’t the fastest.

The WPS button is located directly on the front and it is surrounded by an LED field with four sections. The LEDs have two colours to show more details and are easy to recognize. It will show whether it has power, is connecting, how good the wireless signal is and also show when the LAN port is being used.

The two external antennas help with a better coverage over those who only have internal antennas. You can angle them up to 90 degrees, but they can’t be turned nor replaced with aftermarket antennas. It would have been nice if that would have been possible too.

The wireless performance of the A301 is rated for a max EIRP to route of 58mW and max EIRP to device of 98mW. The range is rated for up to 100 meters indoor and up to 300 meters outdoors. It is compatible with 64 and 128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2, Mix WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless encryptions of AES, TKIP, and TKIP&AES types. Wireless Access Control is also included and so is MAC filtering.

Features

  • Wireless transmission rate up to 300Mbps
  • Compatible with 802.11b/g/n devices
  • Supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption mechanism to enhance security level
  • Wall-mounted design makes it easy to deploy and move flexibly
  • 2 External antennas & Range Extender Mode boost WiFi to backyard, porches, and garage
  • Smart Signal Indicator helps to find the most accurate location to place the range extender
  • Easily expand wireless coverage at a push of Range Extender button

Packaging and Accessories

The Tenda A301 comes in a small packaging that shows the basic information such as product name and image as well as transfer speeds on the front. We also see the Broadcom logo indicating that it uses one of their chips on the insides.

The rear of the package explains how easy it is to set up and you can also see which plug version it is at the bottom. Make sure you get the right one for your location or it might not fit into your outlets, at least not without adapters.

Inside the package is an install guide, wireless declaration an LAN cable and a small disk with a PDF version of the manual.

Netis E1 N300 WiFi Range Extender Review

Introduction


Wireless networks have one big flaw and that is their coverage. The longer the distance, the slower the transfer speeds will get. There are two ways you can combat this, you can either get completely new equipment with stronger signals or you can get a wireless range extender to boost your signal. For today’s review, I’m taking a look at Netis E1 N300 WiFi range extender.

The Netis E1 is a very basic unit, both feature and design wise. It has the same shape, size, and design as the Netis Power over Circuitry kit that I reviewed not long ago and it would go well with that. Then again, the design doesn’t really matter here and it is very likely that it will be more or less hidden once set up. However, it is nice that it is a small unit and that it won’t take up so much space around the plug it is inserted into.

I personally really like this design and hope that Netis will continue it in future products. It reminds me both of a futuristic style that we often see portrayed with everything round as well as a flashback to the 60s and 70s. It’s a universal design that will fit almost anywhere.

The Netis E1 doesn’t feature the newest dual-band technology, but it rather relies on the older and very reliable 2.4GHz band with theoretical transfer speeds of up to 300 Mbps. The 2.4GHz band already has the advantage of a great coverage area and with a range extender like this you can let it reach into the furthest corners of your home.

The installation is as easy as it could be, insert it into a plug and press the WPS button on your router and the device. The two will pair and remember the settings. If that should fail or your router doesn’t have a WPS button, then the Netis E1 features a little web server where you can connect it to your WiFi network manually.

Netis built two antennas into the range extender, although they aren’t visible. The E1 has a maximum transmit power of 20 dBm and supports all common WiFi encryption standards.

Should you still run hardware that utilizes older standards than the IEEE 802.11n, then you don’t need to worry; the unit is of course backward compatible with both b and g standards.

A lot of people reading this will sit for a bit, look at their AC1200 or AC1900 router and think, this is to slow. But it doesn’t have to be and it can still be quite useful. The bandwidth here is plenty for both HD video streaming, video calls, email, calendars, and browsing.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Netis packed the tiny E1 N300 range extender into a little box and put all the basic information on the front along with an image of the range extender itself.

The rear of the packaging shows possible usage scenarios as well as the basic installation guide. It is so simple that it doesn’t require anything more than that.

Inside the package is a quick installation guide that will explain both the manual and automatic setup procedures and a declaration of conformity is also included.

TP-Link Archer VR900 AC 1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Modem Router Review

Introduction


For today’s review I am taking the TP-Link Archer VR900AC 1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit VDSL/ADSL Modem Router for a spin in our test area to see how well it performs, it surely sounds like a great device. While the Archer VR900 looks very similar to the Archer C9 that we reviewed not long ago, it’s quite the different device and it also sports some general improvements over the C9.

Most noticeable is the built-in modem that allows you to connect it directly to your phone line when using that sort of connection. There is no need to keep the old modem around and couple a router on the back of it in order to gain the features and functionality you want; The Archer VR900 does it all. It supports all current ADSL as well as VDSL formats right out of the box.

TP-Link didn’t just stop after adding the DSL modem to the VR900, they also made sure that it will work with pretty much any connection. At some point, and as it becomes available in more and more regions, there is a good chance that you’ll switch from your DSL line to a more modern Fibre optical connection. When you do so, you don’t need to replace the VR900 with something new as it also supports a direct WAN connection via the fourth LAN port. But once again, TP-Link weren’t satisfied with the connection options, so they made sure that you’re also able to connect it to 3G or 4G/LTE network via a USB dongle and the two onboard USB ports. All in all, there isn’t much that this router can’t do and connect to.

The TP-Link VR900 is an AC1900 dual-band router, meaning it can perform with up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band for a combined throughput of 1900 MBps. It has a great coverage thanks to the three 5 dBi omni-directional antennas. The wireless range and performance is further enhanced thanks to the beamforming technology that is applied on both wireless bands.

Inside the router is a 1GHz dual-core processor that makes sure that you don’t encounter any bottlenecks as the router has to perform its tasks.

The wireless bands feature the normal 64bit and 128bit WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryptions for secure connections and the WPS button makes connecting devices as easy as it can be. The software parts feature everything from Wireless MAC filtering, QoS control, NAT Firewall, VPN, Virtual server and Port Triggers, as well as any other function you could want from a router. Guest networking and parental control is also present and both are great features to have around.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

A great router like this also deserves a beautiful wrapping and TP-Link delivers that. The Archer VR900 has a simple yet very beautiful package. The front shows the device itself as well as providing all the basic feature information.

On the rear of the package, we find more details about the specific functions as well as a comparison table with other TP-Link devices. That way it’s even easier to pick just the right model when you’re visiting your local tech shop and have them all in front of you.

Inside we find everything we need to get it set up. The router itself and a power supply for it, two RJ11 cables and a splitter for your DSL connection, an RJ45 LAN cable, and the three detachable antennas as well as a quickstart guide and technical references.

SilverStone ECWA1 mPCI-E Adapter and ECW02 mPCI-E 802.11ac Module Review

Introduction


In today’s review, I am not just going to look at a single product, but a combination of two that work perfectly in tandem. The SilverStone ECW02 Mini PCI-E 802.11ac Wi-Fi module is ready for laptops and similar equipment, but a desktop system will most likely require an adapter such as the SilverStone ECWA1 Mini PCI-E Adapter with external feet and 5 dBi antennas. This combination of the two will allow us to add an IEEE 802.1ac dual-band wireless connection to any normal desktop system that comes without its own Mini PCI-E slot.

There can be a quite a few reasons why you might want to upgrade your desktop system with a wireless connection. It isn’t any secret that a wired connection provides the best throughput, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget all about wireless connections here, they can be quite beneficial too. You might not be able to run a cable everywhere you want too, maybe because you aren’t allowed to drill holes in the walls of your rented house or apartment, or you just don’t want to. You could also use the wireless connection as an ad-hoc access point where you are able to connect other wireless devices directly and use the PC as a bridge and send it on via your wired connection. Or maybe something completely different, but whatever the reason might be, the combination of SilverStone’s ECWA1 adapter and ECW02 WiFi module will suit the task.

The Mini PCI-E adapter card can naturally be used with other types of cards too, but the included antennas and holes on the slot cover make it optimal for just this. The same way, the Mini PCI-E WiFi module can be used on other adapters and directly in slots that support it: such as in notebooks and laptops.

Specifications

The specification as taken directly from the manufacturer supplied information and can as such be subject to change in future revisions of the product.

ECWA1: Mini PCI-E to standard PCI-E x1 adapter card

  • Support PCIe x1 at 1.5V and 3.3V
  • Includes standard height and low profile expansion brackets
  • 2x dual band (2.4G/5G) 5dBi MIMO antenna
  • Includes circular magnetic base with gold plated SMA plug RP and 1.5m cable

ECW02: Mini PCI-E 802.11ac WiFi module

  • IEEE 802.11ac/a/b/g/n
  • Supports 2T2R dual-band (2×2 MIMO)
  • Mini PCI-E interface

Packaging and Content

The SilverStone ECW02 Wi-Fi 802.11ac mini PCI-E module comes in a simple brown package with basic information on both the front and rear. It is nothing spectacular, but it is plenty and we get all the important information right away.

The ECWA1 mini PCI-E adapter comes in a more fancy package. The front displays a clear image of the product along with the basic features and specifications.

On the rear of the ECWA1 package, we find all the detailed information that we might be interested in before a purchase, such as the antenna specifications. This is an important factor in my opinion and something a lot of manufacturers of such devices forget to add. It’s nice to see SilverStone adding it all.

Inside the package we find the two antennas, two magnetic feet, a low profile bracket for mounting the adapter in a small form factor chassis as well as screws to secure the mini PCI-E module, and a manual.

D-Link DCS-935L mydlink Home Monitor HD Wi-Fi Camera Review

Introduction


Today I’m taking a look at a somewhat different product than I am used to and that is a wireless home security camera. Security becomes a bigger and bigger issue for a lot of people and many would like to keep an extra eye on the home while they are away. The D-Link DCS-935L Home Monitor HD allows you to do just that and I’ll be taking a closer look at the hardware and software that comes along.

The mydlink Home Monitor HD, as it is known by as full name, allows you to monitor your home from where ever you are and see everything in full-colour high-definition 720p with sound, may it be from a computer, tablet, or a smartphone. The WiFi camera also comes with built-in night vision that allows you to see up to 5 meters in complete darkness.

One of the places that held many people back in the past and stopped them up from entering the world of do-it-yourself home security was the setup. It could be very complicated and require a lot of running of wires at the same time. That made people hesitate and they rather invested in a commercial and subscription-based security plan. Granted, a camera like this cannot do the same, but in return it can be set up by anyone and it only requires the initial purchase.

The DCS-935L WiFi camera is as easy to set up and connects to your Wi-Fi network, all it takes is the press of a button. Simply press the WPS button and you are securely connected to your wireless network at home. There is no need for extra and additional control hubs or other hard to configure interfaces and router settings.

The DCS-935L WiFi camera is part of the mydlink structure of smart home devices, allowing you to create your own smart home, all without a complicated setup. Those devices include music streamers, Wi-Fi motion sensors, Smart Plugs, and also the Home Monitor cameras as the DCS-935L.

Everything is connected through the mydlink Home app that is compatible with both Android and iOS-based smartphones and tablets. You can view the stream from anywhere you are connected to an internet connection, allowing you to always know what is going on in your home. You can also set the camera to alarm you when sound or motion is detected. Again, everything without complicated setup, installation cost, or monthly subscription charges.

The camera stand on the DCS-935L Wireless camera can be used universally in may ways, allowing you to place the camera in a convenient place and at the same time having it pointed where you want it to. You can turn and tip the camera and also hang it on a wall or ceiling that way. The rear of the stand features a cut-out to route the power cable through and still have it mounted properly.

Whether you want the camera to keep an eye on your kids or pets while you’re away, monitor for possible intruders, or something completely different, the D-Link DCS-935L could be a perfect choice. The smart hardware combined with the smart apps allow you to set up a smart home as easy as it rarely, if ever, has been seen before.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers specification page and can as such be subject to change in possible future revisions of the product.

Key Features

  • WiFi with easy WPS setup
  • 720p HD resolution
  • Microphone for sound recording
  • Nightvision for up to 5 meters in full darkness
  • Motion and Sound detection
  • No charges, fees, or complicated setups
  • Monitoring from Smartphones and Tablets

Packaging and Content

The DCS-935L WiFi camera comes in a little box that displays all the relevant information about the product easy to read. Inside you’ll find a power adapter, the camera in itself, and manuals and guides that allow you to get started quick and easy.

The included power adapter uses a universal plug switch as seen below. Even if you bought it in a foreign market or traveling with it, all that’s required is a new plug part. Flip the old out, put a new in, and you’re done. These plugs are used on many power supply units and there is a good chance that you already have one or multiple of the same principle.

Netis WF2190 AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter Review

Introduction


There can be quite a few reasons that you’ll want to add a wireless network connection to your system and there are just as many ways that you can achieve that. One of the methods is via a USB dongle and today I’m taking a closer look at the Netis WF2190 AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter and will give it a good testing to see how well it performs.

The Netis WF2190 is designed with both desktop users and notebook users in mind and it adds a fast dual-band network connectivity to any computer that has a USB port available. Some possible usage scenarios could be when your notebook has a slower wireless connection built-in and you want to get that extra speed to your router or your desktop system is placed under the desk with bad reception, or maybe it doesn’t have a wireless connection at all. Whatever the situation might be, the Netis WF2190 will work for you.

The Netis WF2190 is compatible with IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac devices and provides wireless transfer speeds up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. That is plenty of bandwidth for online gaming, HD video streaming, and VoIP phone calls. With the 802.11n MIMO and 802.11ac technology, the WF2190 ensures a strong and stable wireless connection.

A WPS button is a must these days and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup allows you to easily setup a secure wireless connection between your devices in a snap and with just a few key-presses. The Netis WF2190 can have two antennas attached. There are ofcourse two 5 dBi antennas included, but you could also replace them with a different kind if these shouldn’t suit you. That is always a great feature to have, but the included will work just fine.

Netis opted for a USB 3.0 connection for the WF2190 WiFi adapter, which is needed for the faster bandwidth that this adapter can provide. Included is also a stylish USB Cradle that you can place on your desk or a shelve depending on your needs. This allows you to easily place the Wireless Adapter where it has the best possible connection to your router or access point.

Whether you want to connect to an existing network or use the Netis WF2190 as an access point, you won’t be disappointed. It can also act as an access point with the Soft AP Mode. Turn your computer into an access point for local wireless network connection where you can hook up other wireless devices to your network. With a feature like this, the WF2190 saves you the trouble of upgrading with a better wireless router when it actually might not be needed.

Netis’ WF2190 1200AC Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter is compatible with Windows XP and newer, Mac OS 10.4 or newer, and Ubuntu Linux 11.04 or newer. The adapter uses a Realtek 8812AU chip, so if you can find drivers for that, you can get it to work on other systems too.

Specifications

The specification as taken directly from the manufacturer supplied information and can as such be subject to change in future revisions of the product.

Packaging and Content

The retail packaging comes in the same style as other Netis devices. A blue themed box that shows the main features as well as a photo of the device on the front. Inside the package, you will find the USB cradle, the WiFi adapter, two antennas, a user manual, and a driver disk.

Tenda D301 Wireless N300 ADSL2+ Modem Router Review

Introduction


Once in a while I get a product in for review that isn’t the newest and today is one of those times. I’m taking a closer look at Tenda’s D301 ADSL2+ Wireless Modem Router. This isn’t one of those routers one would run out and buy, but it could very well be the one your internet service provider is giving you.

The feature with the Tenda D301 is that is a combination of modem and router in one, effectively giving you an ADSL 2/2+ modem with router functionality and 4-port switch in one device. This certainly beats having both an ADSL modem and a router next to each other.

It comes with two external 5dBi antennas and supports MIMO technology that uses signal reflections to reduce dead spots and provide better wireless performance, coverage, and transmission rates.

The security part is covered pretty well with port filter, URL filter, and MAC filter. The wireless connection can be encrypted with a 64 to 128-bit WEP, WPA, or WPA2 password. Speaking of wireless, the Tenda D301 Wireless Modem Router only provides the 2.4GHz band with a transfer rate of 300Mbps.

IPTV is also supported on this router and it comes with a built-in USB 2.0 port for easy file sharing from flash drives to all connected devices, that could be both PCs and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The four LAN ports are only 100Mbps, but that isn’t all to bad when you think about it. If you only got an ADSL connection and only use the network to connect to the internet, then you don’t need any more. The fourth LAN port doubles as a WAN port when used as just a router and the first LAN port has built-in functionality for IPTV. VLANs are supported and so are virtual servers and PPPTP, L2TP, and IPSec VPN pass-throughs.. It supports Dynamic IP, Static IP. PPPoE, and IPoA internet connections.

You get individual LEDs for every port and function as well as a 6000V lightning protection that will help to protect connected devices from overcurrents in case the installation should be the victim in a thunderstorm.

Key Functions

  • ADSL2/ADSL2+ Modem, Router and 4-port Switch in one
  • IPTV support
  • USB Sharing
  • Lightning Protection

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging looks like what those of most routers do. An image of the device on the front as well as a basic summary of the key functions.

On the rear of the package, you find a little more information about what it does, where you could connect what and all that in several languages.

Inside the box, we find an RJ45 LAN cable, an RJ11 cable, and an ADSL splitter as well as the power supply unit. There’s also a manual disk with a user guide and setup wizard for quick installation and a printed quick install guide.

Netis WF2150 N600 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter Review

Introduction


Most of the existing stationary PCs don’t have wireless network capabilities out of the box and there can be more than one reason to add it at a later time. There are quite a few ways you can do that, but the easiest is probably with a USB-type WiFi dongle. Today I’m taking a closer look at just such a device as I’m having the Netis WF2150 600N Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter on the test bench.

The Netis WF2150 is a Dual Band wireless solutions that provides you with access to the better and less crowded 5GHz band as well as giving you a legacy 2.4GHz connection, both at 300Mbps. The 5GHz is clearly the best band to use whenever possible as you don’t need to worry about the interferences from the mass of existing 2.4GHz wireless devices and household appliances that may disturb with their wireless signal.

Whether you’ll be using the wireless connection for online gaming, video streaming, or VoIP phone calling, the Netis WF2150 should ensure a high-quality connection at all times. Connecting the PC itself to a wireless network is however not the only way you can use the newly gained WiFi abilities. Pretty much every WiFi add-on available right now can be set to work as an access point too, allowing you to connect your other WiFi devices to your network through this adapter. Always have the best possible wireless connectivity for your smartphone and tablets right next to your system.

The adapter only features a USB 2.0 connector, but that should be plenty for the performance that the wireless network can perform. You’ll also find a small LED near the USB plug that will indicate the connection state.

The Netis WF2150 comes with a WPS button that allows for a simple and secure setup and connection to other devices. With just a press on the button as well as the button on your router or any other WPS-enabled device and the connection is established. No need to remember and manually enter complicated passwords when you don’t need to.

The bundled drivers and utility enable easy management of your networks and come with an absolute hassle free installation. A few clicks and you’re up and running. There are plenty of setting possible from band and channel choice to the operation mode and security.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The package is designed in the same way that most Netis devices are and it is easy to recognize. On the front, you’ll find the basic relevant information such as compatibility with Windows 8, Mac OS, and Linux.

The rear of the package holds a little more information in several languages. Inside is a user manual, driver disk, and the USB WiFi adapter itself.

Tenda W568R Wireless N900 Concurrent Dual-band Gigabit Router Review

Introduction


Tenda has quite a long list of network products and today I’m taking a closer look at another one of them. The Tenda W568R is a wireless N900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router that promises a great performance and coverage.

With the power of a dual-band router, you can easy use the slower and better reaching 2.4GHz band to check your mail and browse the internet while you use the faster 5GHz band for streaming and gaming. The Tenda W568R offers 450Mbps transfer speeds on both bands for a total of up to 900 Mbps throughput. That makes this router ideal for tasks such as 3D HD video streaming and multiplayer gaming.

Tenda built the router without any external antennas, but it still features an impressive performance. With full 3×3 MIMO technology, the router is a perfect choice for larger multi-level homes and buildings with a signal range that reaches virtually any area. At least that is what it promises, we’ll have to let our benchmarks speak for themselves later on.

All wired ports are Gigabit Ethernet capable and you get one for the WAN internet connection and four normal LAN ports where one of them is specially set up to support IPTV service for those of you who might have that as a part of the package. You also get a USB 2.0 port for file and printer sharing over your network and without the need for any more devices. The only button you’ll find on this router is a combined reset and WPS button.

There is an LED for each port as well as both wireless bands, allowing you to keep an eye on everything with ease. The wireless bands support WEP, WPA, and WPA2 password protected security, but you should note that the router comes with both Wi-Fi bands enabled and no security set. This makes it easier to set up to begin with, but it is at the same time a security risk.

Whether you’re an enthusiast or first-time user of routers, you should find the installation and setup both easy and intuitive. The utility interface might not be the freshest after todays standards, but it offers what you need.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

It is very suiting that the Tenda W568R stand-up router also get a stand-up shaped retail box. The front shows you the actual colour of the device in the main image and the available colour choices at the bottom, next to the name.

On the rear side of the packaging, you find a little more information about the router and what it can do in six different languages. A neatly made package that contains the information you’ll be looking for.

Inside you find a power adapter, a Gigabit LAN cable, the installation guide, and a User Guide and Setup Wizard optical disk – and also the router, itself, of course.

Netis PL7500 Kit AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit Review

Introduction and Specifications


Powerline Network adapter are an amazing invention that can help you bring network to corners of your compound that otherwise wouldn’t be possible and today I’m taking a closer look at Netis’ PL7500 Kit containing two PL7500 AV500 Powerline adapters.

You might be living in a rented place where you aren’t allowed to drill holes through all the walls to lay down wired network cables and wireless signals might not be able to penetrate everywhere. That is where Powerline adapters come into play as they extend your local network by using the wiring in your electrical installation.

The Netis PL7500 adapters don’t require any configuration and work right out of the box. They’re also compatible with other Home Plug AV compatible products. The protocol in itself can achieve a connection with 500Mbps, but the adapters only come with 100Mbps RJ45 LAN ports creating a natural limit there.

There are both EU and UK versions available and the one I’ve tested here is the one with UK plugs. The installation couldn’t be any simpler as you just have to plug-in the two connectors and connect the LAN ports to the systems or switches that need to be connected.

With a range of up to 300 meters, there shouldn’t be many places within your home that you can’t reach and connect with these adapters.

Netis has created some very stylish and pretty small units, and they didn’t even get very hot under use. You could feel the heat, but nothing that would be worrying for such a device. The almost egg-shaped adapters will blend in well in any home and you’ll forget that you even own them once set up.


The big button on the front can be used for quick and easy encryption of the connection. Press a button for 2 seconds and do the same to the next adapter and the connection is established and secured with 128-bit AES encryption.

Netis also made sure that the units won’t use more power than needed as they’ll enter a power saving mode if no data has passed through it for a while and only wake again when needed.

Features and Specifications

Packaging

The Netis PL7500 Kit comes in a good-looking and colorful package that already displays all the vital information on the front. The rear provides more details information on both functions and layout.

Within the package, you’ll find two ethernet cables, a quick-installation guide, and a manual and tool disk. If you shouldn’t have an optical drive at your disposal, then you can also download the tool and manual from Netis website.

Tenda TEG1210P 10-Port Gigabit Ethernet Intelligent PoE Switch Review

Introduction


Tenda was founded back in 1999 and has since created some great networking products. We’ve tested a few already and it’s a pleasure for me to take a closer look at the Tenda TEG1210P WebSmart Gigabit PoE Switch that comes with 8 Gbit RJ45 ports and two additional Gigabit SFP ports.

A switch doesn’t equal a switch. Although most people can make do with what any cheap switch, a lot of us want more. More control, more features, and more possibilities and that is what smart switches bring to the table.

The TEG1210P supports port mirroring, port bandwidth control, port traffic statistics and power save mode, and more. It is user-friendly and works as plug-and-play without the need for configuration.

The switch is only 210mm deep and will easily fit into any 19-inch rackmount that you might have. It comes with mounting brackets and screws for that as well as four rubber feet with adhesive in case you want to use it as a desktop model.

The rear side only features a power plug for 100-240V and a power switch to turn the switch off. The power switch is a nice feature in an office environments where you don’t need it all the time and it is something my own current switch is missing and that I’m missing on it.

On the bottom we can clearly see the four markings where you the feet for desktop use are placed. You’ll also find a sticker with details on the router.

Tenda added two 40mm fans to keep the unit cool by sucking the air in on one side and blowing it out on the other, thereby creating an air flow through the entire unit.

The eight RJ45 ports support 10/100/1000Mbps connections as well as 802af PoE with 15.4W per port. There are two more ports, but these are SFP MiniGBIC with a speed of 1000Mbps and automatic switching between metallic and optical interface. The SFP ports allow you to easily extend the range of your network from 100meters to over 80 kilometers.

The LEDs on the front of the switch will let you know what is going on. There is Link/Act, Speed, and PoE LEDs for the eight RJ45 ports as well as LEDs for the two SFP, Power, and System. The reset switch is hidden between the Power and SYS LED.

Tenda also added a grounding screw in case your unit doesn’t get that through the power connection or you just want an extra security or ground something else via the switch.

When we take a closer look at the sticker mentioned earlier we see that it contains all the relevant information from power usage to default IP and administrator details.

The TEG1210P complies with IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.3ab, IEEE 802.3z, and IEEE 802.3af ethernet standards. It adopts store and forward scheme and is integrated with an 8K MAC address table with MAC address learning and auto-aging support.

The smart switch supports port aggregation and trunking with up to three groups each of which is allowed to include a maximum of 4 members. It further supports up to 10 groups of Port-based VLANs and up to 128 groups of IEEE 802.1Q Tag VLANs with VLAN IDs ranging from 1 to 4094.

You also get features such as port storm control, statistics, bandwidth control, QoS, IGMP snooping, and 802.1x support. The total switching capacity of 32Gbps should prevent any bottlenecks.

D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router Review

Introduction


D-Link has a long history in the network business and I myself have personally had many of their devices in use over the years, so my expectations are high here. I have the pleasure to take the D-Link DIR-880L AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router for a spin in the test area and it will be interesting to see what the DIR-880L can perform.

Right off the top we have the best possible wireless connectivity with the concurrent dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity for a total speed of 1900Mbps, 600 Mbps from the 2.4GHz band and 1300 from the 5GHz band.

The Advanced AC SmartBeam technology vastly increases the speed and coverage of your network. This allows you to stream HD video, make Internet calls, and surf the Internet from every corner of your home without interruption. The high-gain external antennas should send the signal into the furthest corners of your home with a strong connection wherever you are., giving you a strong connection wherever you are.

The slower 2.4GHz band is still great for checking emails, surfing the web, or viewing photos, but you’ll want the faster 5GHz band when you game online, stream HD content, or transfer a lot of files.

The wired connections are all full Gigabit connections and that includes the WAN port. No need to worry that the router will throttle your internet speed even though it might be faster than 100Mbit, which isn’t that unusual these days.

The addition of two USB ports, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 allow you to connect storage devices directly to the router and share them with everyone on the network. It doesn’t matter where you are and what device you connect from, you’ll always have access to your files. This is a great solution for people that rely a lot on portable storage or those who don’t have a NAS. You could also use these ports to charge your mobile devices, a function I often use them for.

The DIR-880L Cloud Router is mydlink enabled, allowing you an effortless access and view of your network no matter where you are. See who is connected to your router, change the settings, block someone from accessing something just like you would at home.

The mydlink SharePort app allows you to connect a USB storage device to the DIR-880L and instantly share documents, movies, pictures, and music with mobile devices. Put your music library on a USB drive and share it with everyone else in your home, or show photos on the living room TV while a family member watches a movie on their tablet. Stream media files to multiple devices without interruption, or save them to your device for offline playback.

Whether you want the D-Link DIR-880L to stand or hang on the wall, that is your choice. It is built to support both and the bottom of the router features four rubber feet for a secure stand as well as cutouts to hang it on two screws.

You’ll also find all the other information such as default passwords, serial numbers, and MAC addresses on the bottom of the unit.

The three antennas can be turned and positioned to give you the best coverage in your own home and surroundings. There aren’t two places that are the same and having the perfect router location can make a lot of difference. Being able to angle the antennas as you like can help a lot with this.

Feature wise you won’t be disappointed in the DIR-880L, may you want VLAN support, firewall, time scheduled operation, parental control, virtual servers, or the aforementioned cloud features.

The dual-core CPU is hidden below the large cooler that I sadly couldn’t get removed. Not knowing just how it’s secured to the chips I rather left it instead of destroying it by the use of force.

On the PCB, we see that this product doesn’t come from anyone. It is very well built, clean, and all components have been properly seated before they were soldered. I have no doubt that this kind of work will last a long time and it is refreshing to see.

Within the package you find everything you need to get started. The router itself, an RJ45 cable so you can connect it to your modem, fiber box, or internet plug, three high-powered antennas, a power adapter and installation manuals to get started.

QNAP TS-453 Mini 4-Bay Stylish and Quiet Vertical NAS Review

Introduction


Most NAS systems are built around the same basic design, but not all of them. Once in a while a device comes along that is something just a little bit special and today I’m taking a closer look at just one of them.

I got the new and innovative QNAP TS-453 mini on the testbench, an NAS that features the easy-to-use QTS operating system, powerful hardware, and a unique top-loading mechanism for the drives. It also comes with one of the easiest and most convenient ways to replace or upgrade the memory. Thanks to the innovative design, the TS-453 mini has a very small footprint for a 4-bay NAS unit. It takes up 29% less space than a normal QNAP 4-bay unit such as the TS-453 Pro that we recently took a look at.

The glossy black design looks great, but it isn’t so great for photos. You can clearly see my camera in most shots and in some you’ll even be able to see the reflection of my monitor that is a good 5 meters away. This is mainly based on the photo lighting and won’t be as extreme in your own setup. You’ll have to take my word for it, it is gorgeous.

The TS-453 mini also comes with QNAP’s relative new myQNAPcloud key that allows for incredible easy setup as I’ll be showing you later.

You can even use the TS-453 mini as full-fledged PC thanks to the virtualization support in QvPC. It allows you to install basically any operating system from Windows to Android in a virtual environment and run it directly from the NAS. That is simply an epic feature.

The NAS has dual Gigabit LAN, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and an HDMI out. This setup and QNAP’s QvPC technology allows you can use it directly with a VM setup or as HTPC. Connect the NAS to your TV or monitor, attach a mouse and keyboard, and you got a media station without the need for another PC.

You can adjust the LED indicators’ brightness in 5 steps from the dashboard so you don’t need to worry about them shining up your entire living room. The skyline LED indication will also remind you when the system is in sleep mode and you can schedule the times where it needs to be on and off.

The top of the NAS lifts off for easy drive access and it secures just as easy again. The powerful magnets in the top will pull the lid right into place and make sure it stays there.

The best feature is hidden on the bottom of the NAS, a single screw to remove a lid is all it takes to upgrade the memory in this system. It couldn’t be easier to upgrade the RAM in your NAS than this, although it isn’t really needed in this case as it is the model with 8GB RAM. Models with less RAM are also available.

As this is the TS-453 mini model with 8GB of RAM, we see that two modules are pre-mounted. You could still replace them, but there really isn’t any need here. The basic model comes with 2GB RAM.


The drive trays are very convenient to use and don’t require any tools or screws for 3.5-inch drives. You’ll need screws if you want to mount 2.5-inch drives in the caddies. Just pull the sides off the caddy, insert the drive and put the sides back on – all done. In fact, you can set up the entire NAS with a single tool and the only place you’ll need a screwdriver at all is if you wish to upgrade the RAM.

I’ve talked a lot about this NAS and I have barely touched the hardware yet. At the heart of the TS-453 mini you’ll find a quad-core Intel Celeron 2.0GHz processor with boost up to 2.41GHz.

This CPU will bring a lot more power to the table than seen from most ARM based NAS devices and it should be something that really shows a difference when dealing with the AES 256-bit volume encryption and comparing the benchmarks to non-encrypted drives. As previously mentioned, you can get this NAS with either 2GB or 8Gb DDR3 memory.

Within the package you find everything you need to get started. The NAS itself is protected with an adhesive film all the way around and you get two LAN cables, a PSU brick, easy setup guide, and an infrared remote control.

The QTS system is a great operating system that provides all the basics features natively. Anything that isn’t found among the basic features can be installed via add-on packages directly from within the management system.

The TS-453 mini is a little marvelous wonder with everything it can do. I’ve already mentioned some of the features, but there is so much more. Next to the QvPC technology for virtualization and HTPC usage it also features RTRR for easy data management and backup, NAS and iSCSI-SAN unified storage solution for server virtualization. It also supports VMware, Citrix, and Hyper-V and you can easy expand the raw storage capacity up to 96TB with the optional UX-800P QNAP expansion enclosure.

Security is an important feature and next to the AES 256-bit hardware encryption engine it also offers anti-virus and a multitude of backup solutions as well as cloud integration – both personal and public clouds. On the front you’ll find a USB 3.0 port with quick copy button that can be configured to work the way you’ll like it best and the system supports everything from third-party backup software such as Acronis True Image and Symantec Backup Exec as well as Real-Time Remote Replication, Rsync, and Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, ElephantDrive, Dropbox and Google Cloud Storage.

On-the-fly and offline transcoding help to create the best possible media experiences no matter what device you connect from and the SSD cache acceleration can be used to speed up the IOPS in environments where that is needed, which mostly will be enterprise scenarios.

Qsirch is a new google-like search feature that recently was added to QNAPs products. It requires some resources, but nothing this system can’t handle. In return, you get the probably fastest and best search solution found in any NAS system. A few keywords from meta-data, file content, or name and Qsirch will find your files.

Mobile devices are covered just as well as PC systems. There are a lot of apps available providing a direct connection to you NAS as well as synchronization options for your mobile devices.

The comprehensive Surveillance Station is of course also present and allows you to connect over 2700 different certified IP cameras to the NAS and monitor it in real time, record, and anything else you’ll want in a security station. Two camera channel are included and it can be expanded up to 24 channels.

Inateck KT9001 USB 3.0 and AC Wi-Fi Expansion Card Review

Introduction


You might be short of some extra USB ports in your system, or maybe you just want another host controller to keep up the transfer speeds on multiple devices at once. Maybe your system doesn’t have a wireless network connection or you just want to upgrade your old 2.4GHz n or lower card to something better.

Inateck’s latest add-on expansion card does all of this in one, and it only takes up a single PCI-Express x1 slot. I’m talking about the Inateck KT9001 USB 3.0 & Wireless LAN card and it is one of the newest products to come from Inateck.

The add-on expansion card provides you with an additional 3 USB 3.0 ports controlled by a Fresco Logic FL1100-1Q0 Host Controller while the dual-band wireless is powered by a Realtek 8812AU Wireless LAN 802.11ac USB controller.

The cards allows your desktop computer to connect to high-speed wireless networks, or create one itself. It uses two antennas for increased wireless performance and stability and can reach great speed on both the 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz bands. The range is specified to 150m which is what most network equipment is and it supports the 802.11 AC protocol for 300Mbps and 867Mbps connections.

The base chip controlling the entire card is the FL1100EX which is a 4-port USB 3.0 host controller. One of the ports is used to connect the Wireless Signal while the last three are available for the usage of your choice, may it be for your storage drives, peripherals, and other random USB devices.

The controller fully supports UASP for increased bandwidth and doesn’t need any drivers in Windows 8 or newer operating systems. UASP especially helps at multitasking as it can handle more commands at the same time compared to BOT connections and also increases the overall throughput.

On the rear IO, you’ll find two LEDs to give you an insight into the WiFi cards actions, a power and an act LED. The two antennas are detachable and the connections are can be covered with the included plastic caps when not used.

The black IO shield is a nice touch as the majority of users will have black PC cases and this card will match that perfectly. The white print is bright and easy to read even in the darkness that reigns behind a PC.

Inateck always includes a little more in the package that you need. This time it contains two screws in case you should have lost one from your chassis or it comes without. A simple thing, but one that is great to have when needed. Else you’ll find a driver disk for Windows 7 users, a manual, two antennas, and the expansion card itself.

Synology DiskStation DS215+ 2-Bay NAS and All-In-One Server Review

Introduction


Last month I had the pleasure to take a look at the Synology DS715 [review here] 2-bay NAS and today I continue with Synology’s second recently released NAS, the Synology DiskStation DS215+.

The DS215+ is an all-in-one 2-bay NAS server that offers high performance while staying energy-efficient and providing a full set of business features. The dual-core CPU is powerful enough to handle multi-tasking applications and can help small and medium businesses to centralize their backups, protect critical assets, and share files quickly and efficiently – and that on a budget.

Inside the DiskStation DS215+, we find an Annapurna AL-212 dual core ARM processor with 1.4GHz with floating point unit and hardware encryption engine and 1GB DDR3 memory.

There are plenty of connection options on the DS215+ starting with the two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports that allow you to set all modes of failover and link aggregation, including IEEE 802.3ad. The unit has two USB 3.0 ports for external drives and other devices as well as an eSATA port. Readers familiar with my reviews will know that I love it when they add the eSATA port as it is my preferred method of attaching external storage as it doesn’t have the same latency as USB does.

The hardware encryption engine coupled with the other improvements allow this unit to deliver twice the performance over the predecessor when dealing with encrypted storage.

Synology’s drive trays in these units are awesome and allow for a speedy setup as well as maintenance. The screw and tool-less design is as simple to use as pulling the sides off, inserting the drive and putting them back on. The trays are also lockable which is another bonus. You don’t eject them by accident and no false friend runs off with your drives that easy.

The software part is well covered by Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM), an operating system that has won a lot of rewards, and all well deserved. It comes with most basic and used features as standard and you’ll most likely find what is missing there in the add-on section. DSM is real easy to use and has great multi-tasking support.

One of the great features of DSM is the File station, a fast and secure way for sharing and managing your files stored on the DS215+. It has built-in FTP and email clients and allows drag and drop of files from both Windows and Mac OS systems. Mobile systems can do the same with the DS file app. HTTPS, SSL/TLS encryption, and link expiry dates also ensure file sharing over the Internet stays secure.

The basic file sharing on your network isn’t any problem for the DS215+ either as it supports it all. SMB2, FTP, NFS, WbDAV, windows AD and LDAP – you’ll find it all. Network recycle bin is also available on both AFP and CIFS shares.

The DS215+ allows for seamless account integration thanks to the User Home feature that automatically creates user folders to minimize effort while the Windows ACL support allows admins to fine-tune access controls and set up privileges through a familiar interface.

This is truly an all-in-one server as it is labeled with everything it supports. From file storage and media streaming over Mail servers and VPN servers, the DS215+ lets you do it all. It can also work as a print server with your USB printers and share them over the network as well as act as DNS server, Directory Server, RADIUS Server, DHCP Server, and Log Center. All that in one tiny box.

With the support of Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust, DS215+ enables seamless account integration. The User Home feature can automatically create a “home” folder for every user account to minimize the administrator’s effort in repeatedly creating “home” folders for all accounts. Windows ACL support on DS215+ allows IT administrators to fine-tune access controls and set up privileges to files and folders on DS215+ through the familiar Windows user interface. With compatibility for major protocols, DS215+ can eliminate server configuration overhead and enhance IT administrators’ efficiency.

 

Backup and storage works in many ways and one very useful is the personal cloud the DS215+ allows you to set up. The Cloud Station allows you to sync files between devices in online and offline mode. The Cloud Station can remember up to 32 historical versions, encrypts the traffic, and can also sync between different NAS stations as well as mobile devices.

Security isn’t just well covered in the Cloud Station and Drives with the AES 256-bit encryption, the DS215+ also supports Antivirus and basic network security. You can also enable two-step verification for your users.

All of Synology’s mobile apps work great with this device, may they be DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download, and DS cam. Everything right at your fingertips and on your smartphone or tablet.

 

That is a lot of functionality and features in one little device and one that saves both the environment and your wallet thanks to the low power consumption. When the HDDs hibernate, the DS215+ consumes just about 9W and less than 21 W when accessed. Thinking small can pay off in the long run.

Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

Linksys WRT1200AC AC1200 Dual-Band Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router Review

Introduction


Linksys is a well-known brand in the router business and it is a pleasure for me to take a look at their WRT1200AC router today. The WRT1200AC is a dual-band smart wi-fi router based around a powerful dual-core processor to provide great transfer speeds and reliability.

The design is a mix of a conventional box with a slight futuristic touch. It’s simple enough to please those who don’t want their router to stand out, yet it features enough distinctions for those who do want it to stand out. A great mixture of the two worlds and one that is striking similar to the WRT1900 router.

The front has individual LEDs for the WAN, LAN, eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connections as well as one for the 2.4GHz and one for the 5GHz band. Each of the four gigabit ethernet ports also has their own LED to let you know what port is active and which isn’t.

The rear side features the aforementioned four LAN and one WAN port, all full gigabit to support modern faster than 100MB/s internet connections. The USB 3.0 port allows you to attach modern and fast storage while the combined USB 2.0 and eSATA port allows you to connect both legacy and fast storage. There’s both a reset and sync button as well as a dedicated power switch for when you want to turn the whole thing off.

The Linksys WRT1200AC has two high-performance antennas and supports beam-forming technology for the best possible connection to your wireless devices. Both bands work simultaneously like they should for combined N400 and AC849 Mbps connections.

The router has a lot of ventilation holes on both the top and bottom to ensure that the router is properly cooled even when tasked to the limits and when running in hot environments. The four large feet keep the router firmly in place and you don’t need to worry about it shifting its position even when a cable is pulled or plugged.

Inside the package you find everything you need to get going with a wireless Linksys experience, the router itself and its two antennas, an LAN cable to connect it to your internet connection, an AC/DC power adapter and manuals to get started with everything.

The WRT1200AC also comes with all the software based features you’ll want. The wireless signal is protected by WPA/WPA2 encryption and the unit comes with a built-in firewall, parental and guest control, as well as scheduling and more.

If you shouldn’t be happy with the Linksys system and rather have something more familiar, then your in luck. The unit is built to be compatible with the open source router software, OpenWRT.