D-Link’s DWL-5000 Disappoints

After much research, pain and agony I broke down and bought this AP hoping to do away with tethered cat5 cable to my laptop. I wanted freedom to roam around the house, work at my kitchen table when I didn’t want to be in the office. I settled for D-Link’s DWL-5000AP because it seemed to provide the best bang for the buck performance wise. I didn’t want to settle for 802.11b due to the limited band with. Being the power user that I am I had to go with 802.11a.

I purchased this unit along with D-Link’s A650 pc card for my laptop from Comp-U-Plus for a decent price at the time. Initial setup was a breeze. Plugged the AP into my wired network and plugged the pc card into the laptop and I was surfing the Internet in a few minutes. After configuring the local settings on the laptop for the pc card I could share files with other computers on my network. Wow!; I thought this is too easy, I can’t believe something works right out the box!! My celebration soon ended when I attempted to use the advanced features.

Trying to configure the Access point can be a challenge, if you read the documentation that came with the unit. I needed assistance from D-link’s tech support twice! In order to configure the advanced settings you are provided with a serial cable. A serial cable??!! And there is no documentation that will help you!! Not even D-link’s tech support!! You will be persuaded to purchase a cross-over cable, and this should have been provided instead of the serial cable.

Another painful area is the turbo mode and security is turned off by default. You must use D-link’s pc card to get turbo speed and turbo on the card must be turned on too! If somebody come over with a 802.11a “non-D-link” card and try to connect, it won’t happen, a little limited I think. I turned on the 152 bit encryption and no longer could I get a connection after several attempts. Also tech support recommended not using the security settings at all!!! D-Link lost a lot of points here!!

I’ve located the AP to a central upstairs location and it’s hard to tell what range I am getting. One thing you better understand is that D-link’s claim are way overstated. In everyday normal use you will get about 30-50ft tops with obstructions and maybe a little more without. For some reason when I have a connection and I move my laptop, I lose it and will not get it back until I reboot both the AP and the laptop. I’ve also noticed that if you leave the AP “on” all the time it gets unusually hot. Hot to the point where I think damage may occur over time. Active cooling could be a solution or do what I do, unplug the unit after use.

As you can see there is not a whole lot I like about D-Link’s Access Point. Yes it does work after much pain and agony when you try to use the advanced features. Reasonably I am satisfied, but I cannot recommend this AP to due to the bundled serial cable and incompetent tech support. Also the documentation is a little mis-leading and loses a lot of points. Power-users will be able to figure out how to make a serial connection but what about novices? And the premium that is paid to have the AP doesn’t help either.  

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