D-Link DIR-865L Cloud Gigabit Router AC1750 review
Certainly not the fastest 802.11ac router, but it’s easy to use, has lots of features and is the cheapest
Review Date: 9 Jan 2013
Price when reviewed: £124
Reviewed By: Andrew Unsworth
The D-Link DIR-865L is a dual band 802.11ac router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB port to which you can attach USB drives and printers. Its use of the new 802.11ac standard means it’s designed for fast, efficient transfer of data, so it’s ideal for those wanting to stream high-definition media from their NAS drives or PCs to their smart TV or home cinema setup.
We’ve come to expect very high Wi-Fi speeds from 802.11ac routers, having seen a few of them within recent months. Speeds of 210Mbit/s are typical, and the excellent Netgear R6300 provided an outstanding 288.9Mbit/s at 10 metres and 195.7Mbit/s at 25 metres, so we were keen to see how the DIR-865L compared.
The 802.11ac standard uses the less congested 5GHz band to transfer data at these very high speeds, but the D-Link DIR-865L lets you connect on the 2.4GHz band, which means you can use it with your existing devices 802.11n,b and g devices, too. It also means you can invest in a DIR-865L now and incorporate 802.11ac devices as they become available.
We used the D-Link DWA-182 USB Wi-Fi adaptor (£46.76, www.scan.co.uk) to test the DIR-865L’s 802.11ac performance because our laptop’s built-in adaptor only supports 802.11n. Once connected, we achieved data transfer speeds of 149.1Mbit/s at one metre, 149.1Mbit/s at 10 metres and 70.2Mbit/s at 25 metres. At one time these speeds would have stunned us, but they’re disappointingly slow compared to the Asus RT-AC66U, Netgear R6300 and Buffalo WZR-1800H’s speeds.
A key feature of the 802.11ac standard is increased range over the 802.11n standard. The DIR-865L certainly transfers data more quickly at 25 metres than a standard 802.11n router on the 5GHz band, but the Netgear R6300 is almost three times quicker than the DIR-865L at this distance. Concerned the DWA-182 might be limiting the DIR-865L, we connected to the DIR-865L with our Buffalo AirStation 1300 802.11ac WLI-H4-D1300 Media Bridge. We achieved 195.7Mbit/s at 10 metres, which is better.
Of course, not everyone has 802.11ac devices yet, so also connected to the DIR-865L on the 2.4GHz band using our laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi adaptor. We achieved data transfer rates of 36.5Mbit/s at one metre, 36Mbit/s at 10 metres and 25.7Mbit/s at 25 metres. These are respectable and fairly quick speeds.
We then used the D-Link DWA-182 Wi-Fi Adaptor and again connected to it on the 2.4GHz band. This time we achieved transfer speeds of 78.8Mbit/s at one metre, 72.3Mbit/s at 10 metres and 33.3Mbit/s at 25 metres, which is exceptionally good.
Excited by these results, we then tested the DIR-865L on the 5GHz band using our laptop’s built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor. We achieved data transfer speeds of 87Mbit/s at one metre, 83.9Mbit/s at 10 metres and 26.6Mbit/s at 25 metres. These aren’t the best speeds we’ve experienced, but they’re far from the worst, and certainly good enough for streaming HD media to your laptop or tablet.
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