The D-Link DIR-880L is simple to set up, with two useful USB ports and decent performance on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
Modem: None, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1,300Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB3, 1x USB, Wall mountable: Yes
The D-Link DIR-880L has three huge antennas. They’re detachable if you want to replace them, but the stock models led to impressive throughput in our tests. The router is available in a choice of black or white in a combination of glossy plastic and carbon fibre-like textured plastic.
As with many 802.11ac routers, the DIR-880L has a sizeable footprint, and will take up around the space of a large hardback book on your desk. You can mount the router to a wall thanks to mounting points on its base.
The DIR-880L operates simultaneously on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz networks, and by default each wireless network is assigned an easy-to-identify SSID. Default passwords for the two networks are written on a label on the bottom of the router, as is the address for the web interface and the corresponding username and password. D-Link also provides these details on a second printed label, so you can take it with you to each computer or device that needs setting up, which is a nice touch. You can configure two guest networks: one for each band.
The web interface has a clean design with a number of tabs across the top that break down into generally logical sub-menus. The interface also has useful visuals including diagrams and graphs that are easy to understand. The setup wizard was equally simple to use, and it also registers you for a Mydlink account that lets you remotely access and configure the router. You can also use the D-Link QRS Mobile app on iOS or Android to set up the router, which was equally easy to use and means you don’t even need a computer to get started.
The router is equipped with a Gigabit WAN port and, as there’s no built-in modem, you’ll need to connect an external cable or fibre modem, or an ADSL router, for internet connectivity. There are also four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The top of the router has a row of status indicators for power, internet connectivity, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks and the two USB ports. Strangely, there are no LEDs for the LAN ports and we would have happily sacrificed the USB indicators to view our wired port activity.
Only one of the two USB ports is USB3 and the router doesn’t support network printer sharing, so these are used purely for storage sharing. You’re able to configure the ports to share storage devices over either SMB or, if you want to set up a media server, DLNA. If you use your Mydlink account you can also access connected USB storage devices remotely, which is useful if you need access to files or media away from home; bear in mind that performance is dependent on your home connection’s upload speeds, which will be far slower than your downloads.
The router has a theoretical throughput of 600Mbit/s on 802.11n and 1,300Mbit/s on 802.11ac. We tested the Wi-Fi performance using our laptop’s integrated wireless chipset and saw 48Mbit/s at 10m and 23.6Mbit/s at 25m in our 2.4GHz test, which is above average. Performance improved significantly on the 5GHz band, with 142.5Mbit/s at 10m and 91.4Mbit/s at 25m; the 25m result is particularly good.
Performance improved even further when we changed to D-Link’s DWA-182 802.11ac USB3 adaptor (£50 inc VAT from www.argos.co.uk). In 802.11n mode on the 5GHz band, we saw a scorching 233Mbit/s at 10m and 181.8Mbit/s at 25m; the 25m score is one of the fastest we’ve seen. In 802.11ac mode the router managed a throughput of 210Mbit/s at 25m, which is also up there with the best.
The D-Link DIR-880L is a very fast router and its web interface is simple to use. Having two USB ports is also a real boon for sharing storage, but it’s a shame you can’t also share a printer over your network. However, we prefer D-Link’s DIR-868L, as it’s far more attractive and, more importantly, had superior wireless performance for less money.
|Security||WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS|
|LAN ports||4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s|
|USB ports||1x USB3, 1x USB|
|Media server||DLNA, SMB|
|DDNS services||Dyndns.com, Dlinkddns.com, user-defined|
|Price including VAT||£112|