D-Link DIR-826L Cloud Gigabit Router N600 review
802.11n dual band, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
The DIR-826L Cloud Gigabit Router N600 is an 802.11n dual-band wireless router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB port to which you can attach USB drives. As it’s a D-Link ‘cloud’ router, you can access, configure and view media stored on your router over the internet when away from home. You can even download iOS and Android apps that let you make the most of the router.
One such app is QRS Mobile, which lets you run the DIR-826L’s set up wizard from the comfort of your own tablet. The app has a clear, uncluttered interface and is a neat way of configuring your internet connection, wireless security and web interface password should you not want to do so with your computer. Sadly, that’s all QRS Mobile does. We’d prefer it to provide access to all controls as well, not just a setup wizard.
The DIR-826L's web interface is okay, but could be better organised
Should you want to configure the DIR-826L further, you must log in to its web interface. The organisation of its web interface can be a little confusing and it takes a while to know where you should look for the settings you want to alter. It may be inexpensive, but the DIR-826L has many useful features such as port forwarding and QoS settings. It even has website filtering to prevent network users visiting certain websites.
To test the DIR-826L’s data transfer speeds, we first connected to it using our Centrino’s built-in Wi-Fi adaptor on the 2.4GHz band. We achieved speeds of 43.4Mbit/s at one metre, 41.4Mbit/s at 10 metres and 20Mbit/s at 25 metres. These aren’t the fastest speeds we’ve seen, but they’re good, and similar to the more expensive TP-Link WDR4300’s (see Reviews, Shopper 301) speeds of 38.6Mbit/s at one metre, 41.5Mbit/s at 10 metres and 19.2Mbit/s at 25 metres.
When we used D-Link’s own DWA-182 USB Wi-Fi adaptor and connected on the 2.4GHz band we achieved speeds of 78.8Mbit/s at one metre, 76.6Mbit/s at 10 metres and 11.8Mbit/s at 25 metres. The first two speeds are respectable, but the last shows a big drop in transfer speed at 25 metres.
As the DIR-826L’s a dual-band router, we connected to it on the 5GHz band using our Centrino’s built-in Wi-Fi adaptor and achieved data transfer speeds of 93.2Mbit/s at one metre, 83.6Mbit/s at 10metres and 8.5Mbit/s at 25 metres. Again, there’s a big drop in transfer speed at 25 metres, but the former speeds are good and are very similar to those of the much more expensive Asus RT-N66U.
When we connected to it on the 5GHz band using the DWA-182 Wi-Fi dongle, we achieved data transfer speeds of 126.5Mbit/s at one metre, 109.8Mbit/s at 10 metres and 25.7Mbit/s at 25 metres. These are quick speeds that can easily stream your media.