D-Link is known for its no-nonsense utility network equipment and, with expertise in broadband, VoIP and Wi-Fi, it is a surprise to see it absent from the current trend of offering all these things in one box for SOHO users (a trend that has seen products from AVM, Draytek, Intertex, Speedtouch and Zyxel). This is the kind of thing that D-Link should be doing.

In fact, although D-Link doesn't have a combined gateway product on the market in this country, it has made one, the DVA-G3340S, which is available in Australia and New Zealand. In the UK it's not for sale individually, but available as a "special project" item, for large operations wanting a bunch of boxes for users or customers.

In reviewing such an item, we were aware that we were handling a product that is not "finished". The management interface is designed for integrators to configure equipment to ship to end users, rather than for end users to install directly.

Solid looking


Nine inches by six, this is in D-Link's old silver and grey plastic livery, a look we haven't seen in new D-Link products for about a year.

Fortunately, the firmware on the box has been updated, and we have a product that does what it's supposed to - though the user interface leaves a lot to be desired. The device turns on and when connecting by Wi-Fi, the address 192.168.1.1 presents you with a management screen that is somewhat complex, largely because it contains a lot of options, but is familiar from D-Link products of a year or more ago.

A "Home" tab allows basic set up, and other tabs give Advanced, Tools, Status and Help.

DSL set up is a simple matter of adding username and password, and the device also happily gives over one its LAN ports as an uplink to our other WAN option - a fixed link from Urban Wimax. Status gives us a view of upload and download speeds, as well as signal to noise ration

Wi-Fi set up is straightforward, with WEP and WPA provided (but no WPA2). In WPA mode, the key can be pre-shared, or else security can be managed by Radius using 802.1x certificates. The advanced tab gives Wi-Fi management options, including an access list based on MAC code. This is fiddly to implement - you can ban stations by clicking a button, but have to cut and paste their MAC addresses from the list of connected devices to add them to the allowed list.

The option to hide the SSID is itself hidden, in a page of wireless performance features. This also also lets you tweak things like the beacon interval and antenna power, factors which might be useful to someone wanting to prevent overlaps and tweak performance. The device also includes the rare option of multiple SSIDs, allowing for instance public and private Wi-Fi networks.

Wi-Fi performance is usable, but nothing to write home about, as the box supports 802.11b or 802.11g, with no speedboosts or anything fancy.

Phone performance

While the voice functions on this box may work well technically, as a "special project" this box is not designed to allow end-users to set-up VoIP. The VoIP functions are not covered effectively in the manual, they are not mentioned in the on-device help files, and the management screens covering them are too complex to use.

As shipped, the set-up wizard did not handle VoIP. We were given an updated firmware version which was supposed to fix that (though were warned that there were still bugs), but we still couldn't get it working.

This is disappointing, as it's not rocket science to design a user interface for VoIP set-up. We use three VoIP services - Sipgate, Voipbuster and Voiptalk; for each one we have a SIP server address, a user name and a password. Other VoIP devices present simple fields to enter these values, prompting for the format it prefers - the DVA has a disorganised welter of four management pages for VoIP, including about two dozen fields, and highly confusing instructions about how to reboot the device.

Even without experiencing the voice functions of this device in action, it's clear they are rather limited. There's only room for one VoIP account, and no room for dialling rules.

There's no way to select between VoIP and PSTN dialling - because when the device is powered up, the PSTN is not available. It's just a "lifeline" explained D-Link.

Conclusion


There's a solid, if old-fashioned Wi-Fi / VoIP gateway here, waiting to get out. Given a good price, it might prove worthwhile for a company needing a lot of solid gateways and prepared to put the effort into configuring them. This device is unlikely to delight anyone, though.

OUR VERDICT

This is a somewhat old-fashioned but solid product, only available for "special projects". If you need a reasonable number of devices and don't mind getting to grips with the management interface, give it a look, but most people will prefer a newer product.