You have been online for about 20 minutes and you are so in the zone tonight, you can't miss. You are looking at one of your best scores ever and then it happens, you lag...
It could have been the net, it could have been the game server, more frequently than not, it is something local, like your wife / sister / brother / parents / kids downloading something while you are playing, and it affects your game.
Why does this happen when you have all of that bandwidth? Simple fact is, uplink performance is the gamer’s best friend, yet worst enemy. Did I mention it wasn't getting any better? Not only are gamers needing the uplink bandwidth, but all of these VoIP (Voice over IP) carriers are now competing as well, and we know we want the voice to overshadow that download of the Black Eyed Peas latest Video!
So what can we do about this, what are our options to alleviate this bottleneck of needed bandwidth and wanted bandwidth? Well short of attending several classes for higher level networking and understanding how ACL's and QoS statements work in enterprise class expensive routing equipment, there is a solution available to assist home users.
D-Link has brought to market the targeted just at the type of user who has our bandwidth needs. Although the DGL-4300 is labeled as a 'Gaming Router', it can also perform prioritization of VoIP and other protocols or applications you deem necessary.
What makes it all happen in the DGL-4300 is something termed 'GameFuel' by D-Link; it is their built in engine to place priority on predefined games within the unit itself. It does allow you to build your own, obviously not as easily as selecting one that is already configured. Add to this a 4 port 10/100/1000Base-Tx switch (yes that’s Gigabit) and you have a high performance internal network to boot.
• 1 – 10/100 Fast Ethernet WAN Port
• 4 – Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports
• Oversized NAT Table
• Static & Dynamic Routing
• Built-in SPI Firewall
• Access Controls
• 108Mbps Wireless interface (speed reached using D-Link Turbo Mode)
• 802.11g / 802.11b
• WPA-Personal / WPA – Enterprise
GameFuel Priority Setup
• Policies for Well Known Games
• User Defined Policies for any Game
• 256 Packet Priority Levels
• Per Source/Destination based Prioritization
Out of the box you notice the stark difference from the rest of the blue/grey D-Link lineup. This unit is black with white/orange highlights. Once you plug the unit in, the bright blue LED's shine from across the room. Everything is labeled nicely, there are even symbols to represent the wireless and cable modem connection on the front of the unit. I just wish I could tell if I was connected at 1GB or 100MB, which I can't. Every connection has the l33t blue light without indication of connection speed. The included 802.11b/g antennae is a 5 dbi. gain omni directional, which should suffice for all of us except for those that are required to live in mansions and the like.
Management, like many of its brethren, is done via html. D-Link has added flash modules, although you can work the management fine without it. I would recommend installing flash to your browser as this does add some nice touches throughout the management interface. I would have liked to have seen a user name on the main screen, but I guess password only does a good enough job, for now . The unit comes with NO PASSWORD, and you are not required to set this on first login, I highly recommend that you do! Working my way through the screens they appear informative and easily navigated, I do not see however, anywhere for requiring SSL authentication for management (I must remind myself, this is release 1.0). Let's look over the subsections quickly...
• Basic – This is the 'required' section to have configured, nothing will work without at least this section, luckily, for those of us that need it, there is a wizard that walks you through most setups. This includes PPPoE xDSL and Cable Modem. Also in this section is the LAN / DHCP and your WiFi setup, although considered by many as BASIC settings, this can get a little deep if you are not sure what you are doing.
• WiFi recommendations
• WPA – Personal
• AES for P4 and higher, TKIP for P3 and slower.
• Avoid WEP
• WPA-Enterprise requires a RADIUS server, got one? :)
• DHCP recommendations
• Limit your scope to one more address than machines you have
• LAN recommendations
• Change from the default of 192.168.0.1, easily guessed for hackers trying to get in.
• The number that should be changed is the 3rd octet, or the '0'. You can change it to anything from 1 to 254, leave the rest of the numbers as they are.
• Advanced – This is exactly as the menu item states, Advanced. Included in this section is the Virtual server (or inbound NAT as some people refer to it) and the all important GameFuel engine setup.
• Read the instructions well before setting up anything out of the ordinary here. If there are any questions, call D-Link or post a question in the VL forums.
• Tools – This is where you set the password to administer the box (first page you should visit). There also some nice tools here for setting up syslog, NTP server and parental controls to keep the bad web sites away from the little ones.
• Status – Gives you all the needed information to assist you in troubleshooting the device. Current WAN IP address as well as the DNS servers that you are using (you can in fact denote different ones if you so choose). There is also a status page for all the pertinent information as to how many packets you have sent and received, including the all important wireless statistics.
• Help – For an online help page, and one that is integrated into the device itself, this is very complete and informative. Have to say one of the better ones I have run across in along time.