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If you're into networking at all, D-Link should certainly be no stranger to you.  Founded in 1986, they are now one of the largest Networking, Connectivity and Data Communications product manufactures in the world.  They manufacture more unmanaged hubs and dual speed hubs than any other company and are ranked second in the world in Network Interface Card (NIC) production.  The reason why they've grown so large in such a short period of time is because they make products that work well that are actually affordable.

With broadband connections, people are now on the internet 24/7 and thus are vulnerable to attacks from hackers.  These attacks come in a variety of forms, from direct attacks targeted to you, or indirect attacks in which your system is used as a node to bring down other systems.  In either case, it has become a common problem for broadband users and luckily there are a few solutions to deal with the problem.

First off, the easiest way is to get a software firewall.  Many of them of are affordable and do work well, but the fact of the matter is the hacker can still get dangerously close to your system simply because there is nothing blocking an attack from reaching your computer.  Secondly, a hardware gateway will work for any operating system, so if you have mutiple operating systems, you may actually be able to save yourself some money this way.  Besides, why put the overhead on your system(s), when you can have protection in hardware before it even reaches your computer or network?

That's exactly what we're looking at today, D-Link's DI-701 Residential Gateway.  This simple device is attached between your Cable Modem/DSL connection and the NIC card in your PC or the Hub/Switch on your network.  It's main purpose is to provide you with a hardware firewall to protect you against those common hacker attacks and to allow you to to connect up to 32 simultaneous computers to the internet using a single IP.


Here is a table which gives the complete specifications for the DI-701 Residential Gateway.

DI-701 Specs

Protocols IP, NAT, ARP, ICMP, DHCP
Management/Setup Options - Locally via direct serial cable connection through Console port
- Locally via GUI for Windows 95/98/NT/2000
-Remotely via Telnet
Local Port RJ-45, 10/100 Dual Speed Ethernet (MIX)
Global Port RJ-45, 10Mb Ethernet to an external Cable/DSL Modem (MIX)
Console Port DB-9 female connector
LED Indicators Power, Local Link, Local Speed 10/100, Local Full/Half Duplex, Internet Link, Error
Input Power 5V DC @2.0A
Physical Dimension 16 cm x 10.4 cm x 2.8 cm
Agency and Regulatory FCC part 15 Class B

The specs don't say much for most people, I just thought I'd put them on just to be complete and thorough :)

The DI-701 essentially masks itself as a computer, so any attacks will be directed at the gateway alone and not get any further.  If a nasty hit occurs, the DI-701 takes the hit and will stop operating.  If this does happen, you should be glad it wasn't your computer that took the hit, then simply unplug the gateway and re-plug it in and it's ready to roll again. It closes most of the open ports that Operating Systems sometimes leave open, such as Netbios.

You may have noticed the DB-9 female connector (serial port) in the specs table above.  What this allows you to do, is connect to a serial (COM) port on one of the computers in your network and be able to access and configure the gateway from a telnet connection.  A very nice feature to have.

An important thing to note is that because of the protection the gateway offers, you may find it a hassle to host Internet games.  To have people join your server, you have to manually add their IP to the exception list, which means that they will have access to your computer.  Not really a big deal, but kind of annoying.

One last thing we should mention is that D-Link recently released an updated firmware which adds support for PPPOE (Point-to-Point Over Ethernet) protocol which is used by many ADSL providers across North America.  Unfortunately, we did not have a PPPOE connection to test it out.  I got rid of my ADSL connection and moved to cable solely for this reason, I hate PPPOE!

Anyway, lets get on with the installation.

Next Page: Installation & Performance Tests

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