D-Link is the company, which when heard reminds us about networking be it home routers or conventional setup for office spaces. The company has been a trailblazer when it comes to networking solutions. D-Link traditionally has a wide variety of routers for home spaces and as well as access points for businesses. The latter has been picking up momentum lately in the industry for its convenience and more control on sharing your network at smaller organisations or small-scale businesses, for that matter.
To enhance the network experience D-Link has introduced its new series of access points, and D-Link DAP 3666 is the latest in the lot. The PoE (Power over Ethernet) based access point is in for our review; while technically it’s meant for small scale business industry primarily, due to safety norms amidst the pandemic, we had to confine its usage for a conventional home with approximately 578 square yards/ 5202 square foot. The DAP 3666 access point, as suggested earlier, is an Outdoor Access Point, which comes with a hassle-free minimalistic design. And, further accompanies with Nucleus Connect; a network management tool developed by D-Link: to help better organise your access point like controlling, customising, to name a few. Let’s delve more into the review to what it brings to the table!
D-Link DAP 3666 — Design and Setup
Right off the bat, the 3666’s design is minimalistic as it features a white square design upfront, and since it comes with a PoE switch it will save you from a cluster of cables. It comes with two LAN ports (a regular one and another with PoE). There’s an LED indicator for connectivity status and a ‘reset’ button hidden under one of the LAN ports, and that’s about it. As said earlier, it’s an outdoor unit meant to be fixed on a wall or a pole. It comes with the necessary tools to hook on to a wall or pole for outdoor purposes.
However, in our testing, due to safety concerns, and a work from the home scenario we have managed to equip in a house set up and tried to make the most of the DAP 3666. For others who are willing to hook it outside D-Link has partnered with GORE-TEX technology; and it also features an IP68 rating. This should save you from water-repelling and as well as dust, heat, and humidity, in the outdoors.
Setting up the D-Link DAP 3666 has been a fairly similar process for us. In the box, it comes with a PoE switch and the unit itself. There are two methods to activate this access point. Method 1 involves connecting the Ethernet cable directly to LAN 1 (PoE) port on the access point and the other end to the PoE switch, from which it draws power. Then there’s Method 2, which involves your existing router/switch/computer. In our case, we implemented Method 2 with our home router (also from D-Link). You just need a couple of ethernet cables and the PoE adapter provided in the retail packaging and you are good to go.
After you’re done with cable management you can configure your DAP 3666 either on a browser or through the Nuclias Connect app. Through the browser it’s as good as setting up a conventional router; head over to dap3666.local on the address and log in with provided username and password and you are good to go. Likewise setting it up on the Nuclias Connect is a familiar process it features three easy setup modes comprising — Quick Setup, Nucleus Connect mode, and Standalone Access point mode as well. (More on the app in a bit).
Configuring the access point is hassle-free, users can configure desirable 2.4GHz/5.0 GHz band in access point modes. D-Link is providing users to choose from four different modes that involve — Access point mode, WDS with AP, WDS, and Wireless Client modes. To put it simply, each mode has its benefits, which include converting your existing wired network to wireless or turning it into an access point; creating two separate wireless connectivity networks. Again, it is purely based on consumers’ requirements whether it’s for home spaces, workspaces, or small-scale business spaces, and more.
D-Link DAP 3666 — Performance
The DAP 3666 is capable of achieving speeds up to 300Mbps in 2.4GHz and up to 867Mbps in 5.0GHz bands. It further comes with WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) support. This utilizes DAP 3666’s QoS (Quality of Service) to prioritise traffic; this may include media, calls, downloads, to name a few. In our testing, the access point has offered uninterrupted service honestly speaking; and the range of it was quite substantial than any other standard router. And, it would be a safer bet to install it in a workspace, educational spaces, parks, lounge side areas, and other smaller business models. Users should bear in mind, like any other wireless network sharing device out there: range, and speeds may vary depending on the placement of DAP 3666.
The Nulicas Connect tool can certainly be a saviour for many who are just getting into networking or network handling through access points. It has got a website and an app (both for iOS and Android); and is a convenient management tool to customise, control or restrict or manage your data sharing for that matter. Users, with Nulicas Connect, can track usage, monitor the data shared across clients; and can connect up to multiple access points right within the app/desktop. The app provides options to set up an access point, serves as a management tool, and further helps in creating a standalone access point.
The free network management tool features multiple security options too, for instance, consumers can limit devices getting connected to access points. It also supports WPA2-Wi-Fi protection, and with Captive Portal; users can create individual access to guests or employees in a small-scale business industry or sharing workspaces. The tool further allows monitoring bandwidth across the network and more. Last but not least, the tool further helps in connecting up to 1000 access points from a central location, which could be handy for organisations.
The DAP 3666 also supports VLANs for network management for up to 16 SSIDs. This means users can create 16 different unique wireless LANs where DAP 3666 can act as the source. This can be ideal for schools, particularly in classrooms.
Before getting to the verdict, let us look at the pricing of the DAP 3666 access point; it costs Rs 24,999 on Amazon India currently. The minimalist-looking access point has thoroughly provided an uninterrupted network in our testing. And, it suffices to say that it certainly is a safer bet to consider this access point; if you are into getting into a smaller business model, which could involve smaller areas, shared workspaces, pool-side areas, parks or even schools.
Though we are confined to home for testing this product, as aforementioned; it can easily be an ideal choice for businesses primarily, since it’s an outdoor unit after all. Plus it features GORE-TEX technology, and has an IP68 rating too; to save you from extreme temperatures, water, and dust as well. Not just the unit; the Nuclias Connect support will surely be a messiah for those who are opting for the access point; as you can get more of the unit with this striking free network management software.