Published on August 23rd, 2013 | by Greg0
D-Link AC1750 Gigabit Router: Speed In The Round
One of the best parts of upgrading your home network is being able to see an immediate improvement. If you’re using an older router and stream quite a bit of media to multiple devices at the same time- say, when both you and another family member want to watch Netflix, Hulu, or play online games at the same time- then you’ve probably noticed some issues. Even routers a couple of years old don’t support the latest standards!
The D-Link AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router is their current top-of-the-line, and the latest router we’re looking at to support the still-draft 802.11ac protocol. Most of your devices might not yet be able to use it- consoles and TVs and laptops and tablets and smartphones primarily use 802.11n- but we’re starting to see newer models out recently and on the horizon that will take full advantage. And while we’ve always liked D-Link’s gear-from their IP cameras to their cute media player- the router business has several major competitors that have tested pretty well. Let’s see if can hold up against them!
One of the first things we did was upgrade to the latest firmware version (1.02), released earlier this month. We test all routers both on external streaming and internal file transfers, using default settings, and then trying to optimize the settings to fit our conditions and needs. Setup on pretty much all newer routers is similar, though there can be wide differences in feature sets and interface usability- D-Link’s was a little less friendly, but does offer many critical options, such as IPv6 and . We liked the inclusion of a USB 3.0 port, which you can use for either printing or to turn a thumb drive into instant shared network storage, though it appeared by default to be in USB 2.0 mode. As with other 802.11ac units, this is a true dual-band router with support for up to 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz frequency and on the 5GHz band, up to 1.3Gbps when used with 802.11ac clients.
One advantage of the D-Link DIR-868L is the SmartBeam technology- beamforming is one of the newer buzzwords in networking, and it basically allows a router to direct the signal to where it is needed. If you are wondering about the word “cloud” in the name, it refers to the fact you can create an account through MyDlink’s portal, and then manage your device there. Our favorite aspect about this model was the unique design- it looks like a tube, a nice change from the flat boxy gear that is common. But the most important thing about a router is performance, and here we saw some slightly mixed results. While throughput was not quite as fast as the TRENDnet model we recently reviewed on pure 802.11ac, it’s competitive with the latest Belkin/Linksys. And strength/signal range was solid- among the best we’ve seen on the 2.4Ghz band for 802.11n.
Overall, it’s somewhat a matter of taste- if you like the style, there is plenty to appreciate here. Solid, stable, and easy on the eyes, the D-Link Gigabit AC1750 Smartbeam router runs around $150 and is available now, online and in stores.