Internal and External Design
Now that I’ve said some general words about the DI-824VUP+, it’s time to take a closer look at it. The hardware capabilities of this device come first.
D-Link’s engineers, as well as other manufacturers of network equipment for that matter, do not invent gaudy exterior designs for their devices, focusing on functionality instead. This router is an example of my point. Its exterior leaves no doubt about the manufacturer since nearly half of all of D-Link’s network equipment uses this case design. The DI-824VUP+ has a rectangular case, its only protruding part being the detachable antenna of the wireless module. The manufacturer’s logo is embossed on the top and bottom panels; the two turquoise-colored stickers tell you the product series name and some info about this particular model (in a very small print). The router’s orientation can only be guessed by the indicator labels and the holes for wall-mounting. This is made on purpose so that the device looked natural irrespective of its positioning in space. The color scheme is D-Link’s traditional silvery with a dark gray band on the left. The case is made of thick plastic; the details are all neatly fitted together. It turned to be hard to take the device apart, however. Although there are only two screws in the case, one edge of the case wouldn’t detach after I’ve unfastened the screws. It’s because the parts of the case hold very tight together. And you can only open the cover up from one side as on the opposite side it goes into deep grooves in the bottom panel of the case on.
Everything you need to work with the router is accumulated on its front and rear panels. The front panel contains indicators (from left to right):
- Status (if this indicator is blinking, the device is working normally)
- WAN (reports data transfers through the external link)
- WLAN (it indicates active Wi-Fi sessions)
- Indicators numbered from 1 through 4 refer to the four Fast Ethernet ports
- USB and LPT indicators show that a printer is attached to the router’s appropriate interface
- COM indicator shows that data is being transferred via the modem
Talking about indication, here is how it is implemented:
There are green LEDs behind a translucent plastic panel. They are labeled on the case, above the indicator panel. This is not a perfect solution because the labels are hard to see under dim lighting. This is aggravated by the fact that the indicators are placed in a line, so you can’t guess the meaning of an indicator by its position unless you’ve memorized their positions by heart.
The rear panel contains all of the router’s connectors and a Reset button (from left to right):
- Connector for an external antenna of the Wi-Fi module
- COM port. You can attach a modem to it to have an alternative Internet access. It may be either analog or ISDN modem. You can also connect a cell phone to this port and use it as a GPRS modem. This gives you a reserved Internet channel even where there are no phone lines available.
- LPT port. Attach a printer to it to establish a print-server on the router.
- USB port. Its functionality is limited in the official firmware and it only supports printers. You can attach one printer to the router at a time. So, if you’ve connected one to the USB port, you won’t be able to use the LPT port then.
- Four Fast Ethernet ports to deploy a wired local area network
- One Fast Ethernet port to connect to an external network
- Power connector
The router is cooled passively through the vent openings in its case. Although there are not too many openings here, it is quite enough to cool the electronics since the components on the router’s PCB do not heat up much.