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mydlink App (for Android) Review
mydlink app gives users some remote control over their mydlink-enabled routers and IP cameras via a mobile device. Such control is a current trend in the networking space and D-Link’s on-board with one of the first offerings, but the app needs polish.
(3 out of 5)
- Provides management of mydlink service-enabled devices
- View devices connected to router
- Can view supported IP camera feeds with paid version of app
- View devices’ Internet history
- Remote reboot of router
- Network traffic statistics provided
- Slow to show newly connected devices
- Some crashes and errors
- Block device feature did not work
D-Link’s mydlink app (free) is companion software for D-Link devices enabled with the mydlink cloud service, such as the D-Link DIR-605L Cloud Router. The cloud service allows for remote management of mydlink-enabled routers and IP cameras, along with the app, from an iOS or Android device—I tested on Android. Remote network management via smartphone is a great idea and is the direction home and small business networking is headed. Cisco Linksys is poised to introduce its line of mobile apps for home networks this summer.
Unfortunately, being the first major consumer networking vendor to market with an app for managing routers and home networks means that D-Links sets the barometer for how this type of app should work. While there are some cool things you can do with the mydlink app (like kick users off your router from anywhere) it’s apparent there’s still some work required to develop the mydlink app into finely-honed software.
There are two versions of the mydlink app: free and $0.99, called mydlink+. The for-pay version, mydlink+, gives users the additional ability of seeing live video feeds of up to four mydlink-enabled IP cameras on an iPad according to D-Link representatives.
The download and install of the 2.54MB file (via Google Play) on my Droid 2 was quick and easy.
You have to configure the mydink service on the router side within the router’s interface besides installing the app. Within the DIR-605L’s interface there is an area called “Mydlink Event Management.” This is where you enable settings in the service such as real-time browsing history, and “push” events like notice of online user logging, notice of firmware upgrade, notice of wireless intrusion, and event triggering.
As soon as I opened the mydlink app I saw my test DIR-605L router listed in the interface represented by a router icon.
Tap on the icon and the main menu screen displays. At the top of the screen are two icons that look as though they are measuring download and upload speeds of the network. I was confused at first because the download speed registered in the Kbps, when my test network’s bandwidth is at least 5 Mbps down. D-Link reps explained that the meter is a traffic meter measuring bandwidth used by wireless devices on my network and not Internet bandwidth. That clarifies the Kbps reading, but for a home user of the app, it may be unclear what those numbers represent and not much information is given in the app’s interface.
Further down the screen is “Connection List.” It shows how many devices are connected to your router. I saw two devices connected; my Android phone and a laptop. Tapping on a device brings up the option to either view that device’s visited Internet history or to block the device from connecting to the wireless network, and thusly, the Internet.
Both features would be useful, yet only one worked in my testing. Viewing history was fine; however, clicking on a machine to block access did not drop the device from my network or prevent me from web browsing from that device.
You can have notifications sent to an email address whenever a new device is connected. I enabled this feature and then connected an iPad to the network. As soon as I connected the device, I had an email notification in my Inbox that the device had logged on to my network.
Within the app, I didn’t see the connected device. I had to log out and re-login before I saw the iPad I just connected. Unfortunately, when I was trying to log back in I received a number of connection timeout error messages before I could finally log back in.
Remote Reboot and Other Issues
The app lets you do a few other things, like remotely reboot the router, which is actually quite handy if you get a call from home, or perhaps from a customer whose router you are managing and want to troubleshoot.
The app allows you to enable remote management of the router with a Web browser, but you can’t perform any additional remote management from inside the app other than the capabilities already described. You can also remotely shut Wi-Fi off from the app. Use this feature with caution because you can’t get back into the router via the app when the router stops broadcasting. You have to physically connect to the router, go into the interface and re-enable Wi-Fi to use the app again, at least I did. The app should offer a caution before the setting is applied about the loss of connectivity.
I encountered a couple of “Bad server response” errors when logging back into the app, and it crashed on me once or twice.
Right Direction But Needs Work
The app is useful but it lacks polish. The interface could offer more explanation, indicating, for example, what the traffic meter is giving stats on. Furthermore, there’s latency between the time a new device connects to the network and when you see it in the app unless you log out and back into the app. Finally, the blocking option just did not work for me.
Still, managing a home network from a mobile device is a hot feature that other networking vendors will be adding this year. Of course, you could always manage routers through port forwarding and other advanced techniques. However, vendors are making managing a whole home network, easier, and more user-friendly through the cloud from mobile devices.
Mydlink app gets three stars for being one of the first on-board with an app that does have its uses, but that still has some wrinkles that need ironing out.
By Samara Lynn, PCMag