I recently purchased a new D-Link DI-704 router on eBay.com, and have found it to be a well-designed product which is very versatile and useful. While its box most prominently advertises it as a “Cable/DSL Internet Gateway”, it also has a built-in firewall, dial-up/ISDN capabilities, and the ability to allow file sharing among two or more computers attached to it. The box states that it is “equally effective” for home, small business, or office use.
One useful feature of the D-Link DI-704 is its ability to share an internet connection among two or more computers at the same time. Understandably, the connection speed reduces as more computers are connected, because it is splitting the connection among them. After configuring the DI-704 with its browser-based setup program (built into the DI-704, no disk or CD is needed) and setting up both computers appropriately, I was able to connect via DSL simultaneously on a Pentium II computer with Windows 95 and a newer computer with XP. Setting up the computer with Windows XP was a bit more difficult, as the instructions included with the DI-704 are designed for Windows 95 and 98. An additional benefit of the D-Link DI-704 is that it allows for internet connection on computers with Windows 95 or other operating systems which may not be supported by the software provided by a high-speed internet service provider. The cable or DSL modem is plugged into the back of the DI-704 router. The same is possible for dial-up and ISDN internet connections, but an external serial/COM port modem is required.
When configured properly, the DI-704 also makes file sharing among computers connected to it possible, because it creates a LAN (Local Area Network). I was able to specify files as “Shared” on the computer with Windows XP and open them on the computer with 95. It is even possible to share a computer’s floppy drive via the D-Link DI-704, making it possible for other computer(s) to access the disk in it. Other features of the DI-704 router include a power switch, virtual server capability, VPN (Virtual Private Networking), and twelve small diagnostic LED lights.
The D-Link DI-704 is a compact unit which is about 1″ thick, 7.75″ long, and 4.5″ wide. Unlike many computer accessories, this router/gateway has a durable metal exterior. It includes two ethernet networking (CAT-5) cables, a power adapter, and two instruction booklets (“Quick Installation Guide” and “User’s Manual”). Some people sell them used without the cables, which are of some value. I recommend buying a DI-704 router which includes the D-Link “User’s Manual” booklet, as this provides a lot of information on using and setting up the DI-704 which is not self-explanatory.
Before purchasing this or any other D-Link router/gateway, make sure your computer(s) have the necessary capabilities; each computer to be in the local area network should have an ethernet (has an RJ-45 jack) network interface card, and at least one of them needs to have a web browser capable of accessing the router’s browser-based configuration program; the “Quick Installation Guide” calls for version 4.0 or higher of Netscape or Internet Explorer.
Overall, the D-Link DI-704 router/gateway is a useful device with more features than some similar units of equivalent or higher price.