Published on July 23rd, 2014 | by Greg0
D-Link Leaps Into AC1900 With The Super DIR-880L Router
If the time has come to upgrade your home networking equipment, then you have quite a few great options. More and more devices, from newer gaming consoles to most recent laptops and even some smartphones support 802.11ac, the far faster replacement to 802.11n, which was itself a big step up from 802.11g and the previous a/b standards. It’s critical for most people to continue offering a solid connection for those using older devices while simultaneously creating a separate superhighway for those that can handle the faster lane.
That’s exactly what the D-Link AC1900 DIR-880L Wireless Router does, along with it’s peers. The 2.4GHz band is where a lot of your computers and phones and tablets will run, but the 5GHz band has less interference and offers more power, which means faster speeds for things like streaming HD video and much farther distances that your signal can reach. We’ve tested most of this current crop of routers, and though D-Link is fairly late to the party, they came in with plenty of presents, enough to make some competitors a bit envious.
It’s at the low end of the high end, if that makes sense- a top-performing model that undercuts the price of the premium routers offered by others, offering excellent hardware, beamforming technology, dual-core processing, and a decent user interface. The DIR-880L does lose a few features in the firmware- namely, some scheduling, port forwarding, and security options- and it’s not the best choice for those who intend to use their router as a NAS (connecting a shared hard drive to a network through your router is something we generally don’t recommend anyway). But with dual USB ports, including one USB 3.0, and three huge antennas that deliver extreme range, it’s a great value.
We noticed that it does perform a little more slowly while nearby than some others, and just barely slower than blazing fast so-called “gaming” routers on the 5Ghz band (300-400 MB/s). But we also observed that it can reach greater distances without dropouts and with higher speeds on the 2.4GHz 802.11n band (100 MB/s even 50+ feet away). It also features easier to use and sleeker online management tools, though no open source firmware capability it appears. We liked the revised horizontal design, moving away from the distinctive cylindrical style, as it seemed far cooler than some others. And we were had better Airplay performance than with some other models too. Available online and in stores for around $190, the latest AC1900 from D-Link is one of the best we’ve seen for all-around general purpose users, especially those who might already be in the D-Link ecosystem.