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.
For more great product recommendations like this, check out our reviews of the D-Link AC3200 router, D-Link DIR 506L SharePort Go-Mobile, and the D-Link AC750 Wi-Fi portable router & charger.
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 affect 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 did not need 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 than 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 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 about 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 are few 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 as 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.
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.