Dlink DAP-1513 – My most disappointing IT purchase of 2013

A few weeks ago we grew tired of the glitchy and intermittent performance of the Netgear Ethernet over Power device that was feeding the Internet goodness from one side of our townhouse to the other.

It was time to try something new.

Well along came the DLink DAP-1513 purporting to offer all the speed ports and convenience to make our WDTV Live, Foxtel, Xbox360 and DVD Player all network connected in the blink of a hat.

DLink DAP-1513
The DLink DAP-1513. My worst IT purchase of 2013

Maybe I should have twigged when the DLink website didn’t show a firmware update, and the product harked back to 2011, but no, I figured it’s a simple device with a simple premise.

And for $66 from MSY how could I go wrong?

Quite a bit is the answer.  From the first moment the DAP-1513 fought the good fight.  I plugged my MacBook Pro into it and waited for an IP number to be assigned so I could access the configuration pages.

No, guess what, not DHCP service out-of-the-box.  Time to read up and set the IP on the MacBook to match the defaults of the DAP-1513.  Ahh that’s better “we’re in”.

It was immediately obvious that user interface design didn’t really feature on this products radar.  The clunky interface had me stumbling about trying to connect to the 2.4 & 5GHz networks in the house, eventually we achieved a working connection to the 2.4GHz 802.11N network and with another restart I was connected to the house LAN, and the greater Internet beyond.

The performance was pretty good, not stellar, but pretty good.

It was only after plugging the DAP-1513 into it’s final home in the media cabinet that it’s evils came to light.

I had tried streaming a 720p MKV video via the WDTV and it started playing, even the FF/RW functions worked better than with the defunct Netgear Ethernet over Power setup.  So we settled in to catch up on some viewing.

Then it stopped.

The lights went out, well not all the lights, just the important one.  The WiFi link LED.  It didn’t come back either.

What ensued was a two day (on and off) ordeal of changing settings, moving devices and generally working out that in our home it’d run for 10 minutes before dropping out.

Only a disconnect from power (aka a hard reset) would restore the connection.  Unfortunately watching things in 10 minute chunks is never going to fly in this household.

The final nail was when the MacBook Pro could stream video via WiFi to a location right next to the DAP-1513, it was rock solid, sure we knew that already, but it’s what made it very clear.  The DAP-1513 for all the promise was either faulty or useless.

I gave it the benefit of the doubt and returned to MSY to debate over refunds or replacements.

In the mean time a spare 20m cable was tacked down the stairs and across two door ways to give us what we wanted, seamless data flows.

I quickly stuck a spare Western Digital MyNet N900 on the end and boosted the effectiveness of the household wireless as well.  Now we have brilliant WiFi speed, flawless streaming and no stutters pauses and disruptions.

Thanks DLink for building a device to remind us all just how little hassle it is to drop cable across our homes and not spend money on poorly supported products.

Setting up this Blog – aka How Awesome is WordPress?

When I set out in my mind to create a bit of a travel back in early 2012 for Kitty and I to use while travelling through Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong I quickly threw one together using the “Build me a WordPress Blog” type function within my GoDaddy account.

The result was functional and quite neat.  However the automated offering meant that it didn’t update as cleanly, nor did plug-ins work exactly as expected.  Probably because of the version/update lagging.

So upon our return (and despite the lack of use) I jumped onto http://download.wordpress.com and grabbed the latest release and ran the install over the existing one, suddenly we had a cleaner interface, and every plug-in we wanted just worked.  We still hardly used it though 🙂

So when it came time to make this Blog dream a reality I reached for the same tool.

Well lets put this into a timeline:

  1. 3pm – Decide today I’m “Going to do it”
  2. 3:15pm – Buy Domain using GoDaddy (already have an account so that’s just a few clicks)
  3. 3:30pm – It probably didn’t take 15 minutes but there’s always a minute or three between clicking the “Shutup and take my money” button and having the domains available to bind to the hosting control.  Anyway I did it.  Now I can hear you screaming “You host with Go Daddy? What are you?  Stupid?” – Yeah it’s cheap and somewhat cheerful, but it works for me.  I have more hardcore Hosting through http://stormhosts.com which has been excellent for a number years.
  4. 3:45pm – The Domains are bound to the file system, the permissions set so the config script can do its thing.  The MySQL Database created.
  5. 4pm – I’ve hit the Install page and bam the famous 5-minute process works.
  6. 6pm – I’ve tweaked the design, set up my preferred initial plug-ins, written a page and a couple of posts.  I’ve also fed the fleet of cats and tinkered with settings on our other WordPress site.

Yeah it’s safe to say that 3 hours go-to-whoa for anything in IT is not too shabby, especially when it’s multi-tasked around other things.  The result, while not bespoke is neat and clean, much better than my stagnant design skills could achieve and best of all everything is just a one-click config away.

So yes, I rate WordPress, and I rate it highly.