D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router Review

Rating:

Routers are considered one of the more mischievous consumer electronics out there, but a necessary one if you want to keep all your wireless devices connected. If you fear router setup, D-Link’s DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router is as easy as they come. It has a plug-and-play feature if you don’t mind using the designated D-Link name and password, and if you do you can easily set it up with either a PC or even a tablet. Also, if you want to delve into a few parental controls and some light tinkering, the interface is easy to navigate, but has its limitations. Gamers and media mavens will also appreciate the speed at which their files reach them.

d-link-wireless-ac1900-1

Design and Specs

The D-Link DIR-880L isn’t as discrete as other routers when it comes to form factor. It has three long antennas sticking out the top to boost signaling and a big body that won’t easily be tucked away in the corner. Despite its size, it provided plenty of ventilation to keep it running smoothly.

On top of the router there are several helpful indicator lights for Power, Internet, 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and the two USB connections. If illuminated bright blue then everything should be operating perfectly. If it’s a faded blue then that means that setting is still booting up, and if it’s orange that means there’s something amiss or it’s working on finding a connection. These signals were especially helpful when first booting up.

d-link-wireless-ac1900-2

It has USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports where you can dock drives, printers, and scanners and connect to them through your local network or securely over a remote account. There are also four Ethernet ports and a designated yellow Ethernet port to run a cable from your modem to your router to access the Internet. The D-Link DIR-880L comes with a CAT5E cable, which will handle a gigabit connection, however, a CAT6 cable would have been a little more thoughtful considering how future-proof this device is. Most users won’t notice the difference, though. However, if you’re looking to have future-everything you can always add a CAT6 cable to your shopping cart).

This router supports IPv4 and IPv6. Both refer to the Internet Protocol version, of which the former will become obsolete because of depleting IP addresses. You’ll have to manually enable IPv6 from the web interface, which is as simple as clicking a button. D-Link’s DIR-880L router also supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless frequencies, which will be especially helpful if you live in an apartment complex where the airspace is likely cluttered with 2.4GHz frequencies. So, if you have a computer with an N- or AC-wireless card, you should be able to use the less-adopted (for now) 5GHz frequency.

As the name would indicate this router supports AC, not yet a network standard, but in the draft stages. Quite a few hardware manufacturers, including Apple, HP, ASUS, and others have already integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi into their commercial product lines. AC provides higher throughput over local area networks on the 5GHz band, quite faster than N. D-Link advertises 600-1300mbps for its Wireless AC1900 router, which blow away the 300mbps N estimated speeds.

d-link-wireless-ac1900-3

Setup

Setup process for the Wireless AC1900 router was a breeze. Its wireless network comes pre-configured with name and password, so all you need to do is plug it into the wall and run an Ethernet cable from the yellow port on the router to your modem. If you’d like to customize features on the router, like change the name and password or set parental controls, all you need to do is open your web browser on your computer and go to the router’s default IP address, which is 192.168.0.1.

When you first log in, a Wizard setup tool will help you navigate changing the router name and password if you choose.

The web interface is clean and somewhat easy to navigate if you just plan on scratching the surface. If you have kids and want to block them from watching Netflix and surfing the web after bedtime, you can set a general schedule and then apply that to all their devices, and the network will sever those devices’ connections for that time period. However, setting Firewalls and website filters from this interface will require a bit of knowhow that most may be uncomfortable dabbling in.

d-link-wireless-ac1900-4

Also, if you want to ground a child you can block their access from the network entirely. Just remember to re-enable it once they’ve finished serving their sentence.

Features

The DIR-880L router comes with D-Link’s cloud feature, which allows you to access the router from the MyDLink website. From here, you can monitor who is on your network and even get an idea as to what’s going on by looking at the downloads and uploads going through the router—a handy feature.

As mentioned before, you can plug in a slew of USB-powered devices to either USB port. Storage drives will convert the router into a network storage device. I tested this feature out with my own USB drive. It was easy to access documents and media straight from my iPhone 4S device through the SharePort app from anywhere. You can stream content within your network or share documents, as well as securely access this data via user accounts on your mobile device. I did have a little trouble getting audio to play on videos through the phone, though. You won’t be able to download any of the files remotely, but you can upload new ones. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing the DIR-880L if NAS functionality is a must-have feature.

Performance

If you enjoy gaming and media, this Wi-Fi router should be on your shortlist, especially if you have any 802.11ac-enabled devices. Even if you don’t have this drafted standard, any other devices you have will surely enjoy the bulked-up speeds the DIR-880L brings. You just won’t get the advertised 600-1300mbps.

In a real-world test, I transferred a 164MB file from one computer to another over 5GHz band wireless N on the local network. The computers were 20ft away from the router (that was in another enclosed room). It took 20 seconds to fully transfer the file—that’s 8.2MBps. After a few more tries with different files, its transfer high was 11MBps and average was 8MBps over a 5GHz band on a wireless-N connection (most people have N connections). AC is a draft—not yet an industry standard. But these numbers were solid considering the distance and restriction of the router having been enclosed in another room.

For wireless-N connections 37.5MBps is the theoretical high. The D-Link DIR-880L is the closest I’ve ever gotten to reaching that theoretical high. That being said, attaining anything close to the 600-1300mbps high that D-Link is advertising is a stretch. These theoretical numbers are rarely true. It’s just like a car ad claiming 40mpg, you’re probably not going to get that all the time, every time you drive. These numbers are likely clean-room tested numbers—ideal numbers that could be attained under perfect conditions. In reality there’s a lot of overhead, packet loss, and other files competing in the queue (someone else could be loading a YouTube video before you initiate your file transfer).

Bottom Line

The D-Link’s DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router offers solid speeds. These real-world tests are some of the best I’ve seen in my day-to-day use and make it a perfect router for media streamers and gamers. Additional features like plug-and-play setup, scheduling device access for your kids, and remote access to check up on router usage, set this router above the average. The $189.96 price tag may not sound cheap, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a router with as many compelling features and a solid performance as this one. If you can appreciate all these features, D-Link’s DIR-880L router is well-worth your money.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray
The following two tabs change content below.

Natalie Shoemaker

Natalie found her passion for writing about tech when she started with PCMag. She has also written for Geek, GDGT and TechnologyTell.

Latest posts by Natalie Shoemaker (see all)

Similar Posts

There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Reply


Name (required)

Email (required)

Website