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D-Link DIR-880L. Is this AC 1900 Wireless router good for you?

Updated on August 9, 2016
D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (DIR-880L)
D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (DIR-880L) | Source

Before we proceed to discuss about the DLink Dir-880L AC1900 WiFi router, some of you may be curious as to what EH is as the DLink Dir-880L was awarded the product of the year 2015 by EH. So let me get that out of the way first...

If you have not heard about them, EH or Electronic House is an organization based in Framingham, MA that provides specialist information to discriminating consumers that enjoy the elegance, simplicity and fun of technology through the use of integrated home technology.

EH's stated goal is to provide expert information and insight on new and leading edge products and technologies that inspire, excite and help their readers achieve an elegant electronic connected home lifestyle.

Electronic House
Electronic House | Source

As such it is quite an achievement for the D-link Dir-880L wireless AC1900 router to be awarded the product of the year 2015 by EH considering that the wireless AC router field is quite competitive.

Have you heard about EH?

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The DIR-880L box
The DIR-880L box | Source

What is the D-link Dir-880L?

Ok. Here is a quick take on the D-link Dir-880l.

The D-link Dir-880l is a dual band 802.11 AC Wifi router that is capable of delivering speeds of up to 1900 Mbps. It can deliver theoretical top speeds of up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 Ghz channel and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 Ghz channel.

Through the use of newer technologies such as the AC Smartbeam and band steering, the D-link Dir-880l wireless AC1900 router is able to enhance its wireless signal strength and range as well as increase its bandwidth efficiency and availability.

It also comes with gigabit Ethernet ports that can give a wired performance that is 10 times faster than the traditional Fast Ethernet.

If you are looking to connect USB devices to the router so that you can share your media files and resources, the D-link Dir-880l wireless AC1900 comes with two USB ports - a USB 2.0 and 3.0. The USB 3.0 port can typically give you transfer speeds of up to 10 times faster than the 2.0 port.

For those of you who does not like the traditional black, the DIR-880l is also available in white.

The structure of this D-Link Dir-880L review

Like my other reviews, I will not go into the technical aspects as I want to focus this hub for readers who are not interested in the geeky technical stuff but just want to know the "basics" of the Dir-880L so that they can make a quick decision as to whether this AC 1900 wireless router is for them or not.

As such, where appropriate, I will point to to other pages where you can find more technical information if you wish to do so.

Again do remember that some of the points highlighted here, whether pros or cons may be subjective. For some people it may be a pro or a con, whereas for others, it does not really matters... so you will have to use your judgment to decide.

What are the "cons" on the Dlink Dir-880L?

You would probably like to know some of the cons of the Dir-880L first so that if the "cons" are the things that will impact your buying decision, then you can save time by not going further!

To be honest, there will always be the pros and cons of every product no matter how good the product is but I find that most of the cons I am listing here are really nit picking on the 880L.

Here it goes:

  • The Dir 880L uses the older Broadcom BCM4708A as its main processor as compared to the newer BCM4709A. However I do not know how much real world difference there is between those two processors
  • Its user manual is very basic
  • You will have to use Dlink's MyDlink portal for performing remote admin task. The portal is workable but not as polish as some others from the competitors
  • The USB 3.0 port only supports HDD of 500 Gb and below

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D-Link DIR 880L AC1900 Wifi router
D-Link DIR 880L AC1900 Wifi router | Source

Should you buy the Dlink Dir-880L

This is really a good question. However whether you should be buying the D-link DIR 880l or not comes down to the basics.

If you are using older technologies, you may find that your existing router may be too slow to meet today's increasingly demanding bandwidth sensitive applications. If that is the case then it may be the right time to look into the DIR-880L which uses the latest AC technology to provide the optimum performance solution.

That said, do note that you can only take advantage of the Dir-880L's technology if your client devices use similar technology. For example if your current notebook computer's network device is only 802.11n, then the maximum speed your notebook can have is based on the "n" standard and not the "ac" of the 880L.

WiFi coverage of the Dir-880L
WiFi coverage of the Dir-880L | Source

Wifi coverage

Do you need a broad reach for your WiFi? If you do, then you will find that the Dir 880L has a very strong signal strength. The Dir 880L's high powered amplifier together with its 3 external high-gain antennas creates a wireless signal that reaches farther than most Wireless N and 11AC routers in the market today.

I tested out the 880L in my friend's three stories apartment - the Dir 880L being placed on the second or middle floor and I get very consistent and strong signals throughout the three floors.

There seems to be no problems with the signal strength even with the construct of the apartment such as steel beams, concrete and brick walls.

Signal strength was also very strong on a single story house of another friend. Using his old wireless router, he rarely got anything over 20 Mbps even though he was subscribed to 60 Mbps. However with the Dir 880L, he consistently got between 30 to 40 Mbps even across the yard and behind the garage.

DLink uses the Smartbeam technology to overcome deadspots
DLink uses the Smartbeam technology to overcome deadspots | Source

Based on my experience with my friends, they tend to get very few wireless deadzones but instead enjoy whole-home coverage with this Dlink Dir-880L AC1900 Wi-Fi Router.

The Dir 880L overcame the deadzones problem through the use of the DLink Smartbeam technology.

While almost all wireless routers use omnidirectional antenna or array of antennas to emit a radius of radio waves that provides a broad coverage, this is often sacrificed through short range.

Others have tried to overcome this with special antenna technology that can pinpoint its signal like a laser beam in a specific direction so that you get increased strength for a longer range. However this technology is expensive and is normally only available as a professional-grade equipment designed for businesses and large buildings.

DLink DIR-880L Smartbeam technology
DLink DIR-880L Smartbeam technology | Source

What D-Link’s SmartBeam technology does is to affordably combine the best of both transmission methods by locating the wireless devices in your network and then delivering focused, individual beams of bandwidth to where it is needed the most.

As a result, wireless dead zones are eliminated through real-time tracking that covers wireless devices with a signal wherever they go. This makes the Dlink Dir 880L ideal for iPads, smartphones and other portable devices.

Dir 880L is very easy to install
Dir 880L is very easy to install | Source

If you are not the geeky or technically inclined, you will find the set up very welcoming as it is very simple and straightforward.

The default Wi-Fi SSID and password are provided on the protective film covering the body of the router.

There are different 2.4 and 5 GHz SSID sets, so you'll be able to connect to your desired band without having to change router settings.

Dlink also included with it a sturdy laminate card with blank spaces for you to note whatever settings you may have for easy reference later on.

You can potentially get up to 300 Mbps with the 880L
You can potentially get up to 300 Mbps with the 880L | Source

Data transfer rates

What about the data transfer rates? How fast is the Dir 880L?

I found the data transfer rate on the Dlink Dir 880L, even though not the fastest, to be fairly decent.

I got an average of around 110 Mbps on the 2.4 Ghz band and around 300 Mbps on the 5 Ghz band.

It is very easy to manage Guest WiFi with the Dir-880L
It is very easy to manage Guest WiFi with the Dir-880L | Source

Guest networks

Today it is almost a norm for your guests to request WiFi access from your network when they visit you.

As such it is important to be able to isolate and manage the guest from your local network for security reasons. The ability to quickly and easily change the guest passwords without messing with your own devices and their access to the network has also become very important.

The D-link Dir-880L has both a 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz guest network as well as AP isolation. If your guests need to access local devices like your printer or to play network games then you can turn this setting off.

If you leave it on, then the Dir-880L will restrict them to just browsing the Internet and they cannot access your home network.

You have both USB2.0 and 3.0 ports with the Dir 880L
You have both USB2.0 and 3.0 ports with the Dir 880L | Source

Resource sharing

MyDLink Sharing - You can have both local and remote file sharing via USB devices on the Dir-880L. All you need is just to plug in your USB device into the router’s USB 3.0 port. However do note that the Dir 880L only recognizes HDD that is 500 Gb or less.

Once plugged in, you can use a DLNA Media Server to stream content to DLNA-enabled devices like your smart TV or game console. You can also toggle on Windows File Sharing to access the files on the shared drive via a traditional network share or access the files via your web browser.

You can also download apps to your iOS or Android device and access your USB-based media and content remotely via the MyDLink SharePort app. However before you can access the share you have to configure for both the local and remote access.

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Is the D-Link 880L is the right wireless router for you?

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Finally, you may want to know...

What can the D-Link DIR-880L do for you?
What can the D-Link DIR-880L do for you? | Source

What can the DIR-880L Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router do for you

With the Dlink DIR-880L Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router, you can:

  • Enjoy advanced AC1900 Wi-Fi Dual-Band (600N+1300AC Mbps Speed) performance
  • Use the two bands to segregate different tasks for better performance and lag free wireless experience e.g. using the 2.4 GHz for everyday tasks and the 5 GHz AC band for HD video streaming, online gaming and large file transfers
  • Easily connect, control and monitor your home network with the latest wireless technology
  • Enjoy lag free streaming using fast and reliable wireless, Ethernet and USB performance with the dual-Core Processor
  • Get a significant increase in wireless performance through its advanced AC SmartBeam technology
  • Utilize high-speed wired connections with the Gigabit WAN and LAN ports
  • Enjoy advanced Quality of Service (QoS) that efficiently distributes bandwidth resulting in super-fast Wi-Fi and Ethernet speeds necessary for gaming and streaming HD movies and shows on all of your devices, all simultaneously!
  • Dramatically enhance wireless signal strength and throughput with the Advanced Wireless AC beamforming technology
  • Connect and share up to two USB devices such as storage drives and printer

If you need a fast and stable cable modem to couple with the Dir 880L, then you should check out the Motorola SB6183 which is the fastest consumer class cable modem available in the market at the time of writing.

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