D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion Review

A few years ago Apple put out their Airport Express — basically it was a portable router that plugged directly into an AC outlet for convenience. While not the first to do this, Apple’s model caught consumer attention for ease of use. But due to a lack of marketing attention, it has languished.

Not so with the D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion. D-Link has taken the router portability concept and beefed it up to the point where it’s a valid buy for the home network user as well as the “road warrior.” At its heart, the D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion is a portable router. But it’s in how easily and sensibly that it performs this task that its value can be found.

Quick note: You might want to check out the included Quick Install guide — as it provides codes for a mobile app to use with iOS/Android devices. You’d find out about this later, but worth noting now, I think.

The D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion can be used in three configurations — all of which affects the wireless network; in the router mode, it’s connected directly to a modem and so functions as a wireless network; in Repeater mode it amplifiers and extends an existing wireless network; in Wi-Fi hotspot mode it becomes the focal point for multiple wireless devices seeking connection through a private network of your choosing.

The setup is as simple for each mode as expected from D-Link. The D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion plugs directly into an AC outlet — wait for the front-mounted LED to stop blinking and go solid green first.

Set up is simple and I waited to try and use it in a hotel room during a recent trip. I adjusted the top-mounted tab to “Router” and then plugged it into the AC socket. Then I plugged the included Ethernet cable into it and the Ethernet socket in the wall. To set up a wireless network, I just went into the Network settings of the device I wanted to use (could have been a laptop but was an iPad), and entered the necessary information and security codes provided — it’s on a business-side card you can put away in your wallet. Once done, I had a wireless connection.

If I had been at home, or was doing this in a larger space than a hotel room, I could have chosen the “Repeater” mode instead — dissimilar steps to set it up but in general pretty much the same, although you use a web browser as part of the process (http://dlinkrouter.local for Mac or if you’re a Windows person —  http://dlinkrouter). I had no need for a private network, but can see where this could be useful with a group that’s on location.

Stepping back a moment, let me note that besides that information card, D-Link includes a flat, rubberized Ethernet cable that takes up much less room that a standard model. A nice addition, thanks.

Because of the simplicity of the D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion Review, I neglected to give the guided tour. Not that there’s a lot to see — besides the already-noted LED and the toggle tab on top, the bottom finds the Ethernet socket, a reset button next to it and a USB socket at the other end. More on this now.

Accessing stored information — be that data content or multimedia content (i.e., video, music) can be done locally by attaching a USB device (thumb drive, etc.) to that USB socket directly. This obviates the need for accessing from the “Cloud,” and so provides both a greater security for the contents as well as eliminating transmission issues, since it will be streamed locally. D-Link makes an app available to access the storage. It’s called “SharePort” and is designed specifically to access stored multimedia content from a D-Link compatible router such as the D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion Review. I used it with a variety of content — none of which used exotic file formats — and it all worked fine as a viewing application. I wouldn’t just count on it for all possible uses with the storage, however, so don’t get lazy.

I haven’t gone into discussions of how stable and dependable the 802.11 N wireless transmission from the D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion is. That should tell you there’s nothing to complain about. In general the signal strength was never too weak to adequately perform in a high-definition environment. Of course there’s little problems space-wise in a hotel room, but in greater spaces I would expect its use would require some accommodation on the part of the user.

I should probably note that there’s a WPS button on the side to initiate an auto protected/security between the D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion and another device. Those who like such things will find it usable — me, I just go the manual route so I know everything is set up like it should be. For more info on this you should go to the D-Link website and download the digital manual. You can also check into any firmware upgrades here as well — you’d download them on a computer connected to the D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion and then transfer them over, much in the same manner as you would when using one of D-Link’s other routers.

Editor’s Rating:

[rating:4/5]

Great

Bottom line: The D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion is a device that has dual purposes: those at home can use it to initiate or extend their existing wireless network, while travelers can use it to provide easier networking/local storage access while on-the-go. Regardless of which, you can’t fault the straightforward manner in which the $99 retail D-Link DIR-505 All-in-One Mobile Companion provides networking capabilities.

Pros

  • SharePort Mobile app works with all D-Link DIR-series routers
  • Compact form factor
  • USB socket can charge devices

Cons

  • No extension capabilities for AC plug
  • No mention of online manual

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Marshal Rosenthal

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.

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14 Comments

  1. can I use this device in hostpost / repeater mode to extend LAN ethernet?

    i.e. suppose i want to connect my TV (which is ethernet only) to existing wifi network, can this device share network to Ethernet porT?

    1. If I understand you correctly, you can not connect the Ethernet port on your TV to the unit since that is reserved for the incoming Internet connection. You’d have to use a WiFi enabled TV or an adapter connected to the TV as is the case with some models of TVs as well as Blu-ray players) to be able to gain a signal.

      Now if what you are saying is can this be used as a repeater specifically, I would say that’s a good question as it’s not designed for that use. Granted you could plug it into an existing router to gain a WiFi signal but then it’s being at the router obviates it being used elsewhere. So I would say no.

      1. “Now if what you are saying is can this be used as a repeater
        specifically… it’s not designed for that use.”

        No sure what you meant here. One specific function of the device is to act as a repeater.

        It is however not a bridge so you can’t use it to bridge the TV to an existing wifi network.

        If you need a travel router that can act as a bridge, take a look at the one from Asus (WL-330N3G) instead.

      2. Yes, you can. While using the dir-505 in repeater mode I hooked up the ethernet cable to the dir-505 and found it was spitting out internet through the ethernet port as well.

  2. No way to connect to my WI-FI in order to REPEAT IT to the garden as I had it set so as not to transmit its SSID.
    So for now as far as the device has no way to select manually the name of the NET within the configuration wizard, it turns out to be useless…
    Software needs improving so as to include “MANUALLY ENTER NAME OF NETWORK” next to “SCAN FOR NETWORKS”.

  3. Can this device can convert an USB modem(with 3G chip) signal to wi-fi, so that I can use my Wi-fi only devices which dont have an USB ports?

  4. I just tried one of these devices and found the setup to be clunky and confusing (when compared to an Airport Express). The product’s name is also misleading. To me, “mobile companion” = plug my Smartphone into the USB port, and the DIR-505 shares my mobile broadband connection over wifi (while charging my smartphone). Strange that DLink missed that one…

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