D-Link Device Extends WLANs

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2003-03-10

A Pringles "Cantenna" may increase the size of a WLAN, but D-links $99 AirPlus Wireless Range Extender DWL-800AP+ will probably be an easier sell to CIOs.

The DWL-800, which can be used as a repeater or an access point, operates at the 802.11b 2.4GHz frequency range. When used in repeater mode, it can receive a signal from a wireless access point or router (as much as 328 feet away, according to D-Link) and rebroadcast it to increase the size of a WLAN.

I tested the DWL-800 with the D-Link DI-614+ Enhanced 2.4GHz Wireless Router and the D-Link DWL- 650+ Enhanced 2.4GHz Wireless Cardbus Adapter. The DWL-800 has advertised transfer rates of up to 22M bps, but youll need equipment with the same chip set to get those performance levels.

D-Link claims the DWL-800 can extend a WLAN by as much as 50 percent, but I saw nowhere near that kind of increase. Still, when using the repeater, I got a strong signal in areas where I normally receive little to no signal at all.

Users should be aware that the DWL-800 is incompatible with 802.11a and 802.11g products but is backward-compatible with current 802.11b-compliant gear.

Rocket Fuel