D-Link DIR-865L Wireless Router — Impressive!
D-Link’s first next generation Wireless router doesn’t weigh much..but it is big..a full ten inches tall standing up..and that is the only placement choice for this router..no way to lay it flat 0r hang it on the wall..but it is narrow so it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk.
The DIR-865L is all plastic..the better to let the signal out..with a grill type finish on the top and glossy piano black on the side. The front is simple..no flashing port lights..just a WPS button, Internet connection and a power light…it flashes while establishing a WPS connection. On the back you will find four Gigabit LAN ports and a WAN Port. a power switch and a USB port.
Setup of the DIR-865L couldn’t have been simpler..Plug in the appropriate cables..well indicated on the enclosed setup sheet follow the directions…you have to use the age-old setup process of typing in the IP address of the router (192.168.0.1) in your browser…and a wizard leads you through the setup. It recognized my PPPoE connection and asked for the my credentials..some routers choke on this kind of installation which common to DSL Internet connections. Happily for geeks D-Link has not completely dumbed down the system you still have access to the tried and trusted D-Link router UI over an internal IP address.
Once set up you are asked to create a MyDLink account..D-Link’s version of cloud control of your home network. It offers limited remote control over some settings of your router..specifically you can change wireless settigns and block undesirables from connecting to your network. Frankly I prefer the classic D-Link interface and thankfully it is readily available..Plus if you do have a need to control settings remotely it can be set up to do that..perhaps not as pretty at MyDLink but it works.
Now to the technical bits…The D-Link DIR-865L is a a N900 router plus it has support for 802.11ac on the 5Ghz band. An N900 router, by the way, is a true dual-band Wireless-N router that offers the top 450Mbps Wi-Fi speeds on each of the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency bands. This means the router will work with all existing Wi-Fi clients, and when you get 802.11ac-capable devices, it will support those, too. What does that mean in the real world..first all the ports are gigabit which means you can move big files quickly between all the devices connected to the router..but what about wireless..after all that is why we spend big bucks for these routers..so we can connect all our devices without wires. Fortunately D-Link also sent me a DWA-182 USB adapter that is 802.11ac-capable. I tested the performance between two Windows PCs (the USB Adapter currently has drivers only for Windows) They were 15 feet apart with a standard interior wall between them.
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These wireless numbers are all pretty impressive…at the top end of the average and more than enough to take care of most home network needs. For example the D-Link DIR-865L delivered my full high speed 30Mbs Internet connection everywhere inside and outside my 3500 square foot two storey home with one exception…at 5Ghz there was no signal on my front porch 40 feet away, down one floor, through two interior walls and the exterior brick wall. I conducted the test using a MacBook Air…the front porch has always been problematic especially on the higher band.
D-Link advertises this router as app enabled..however there are really only two apps..MyDLink Lite for Android and iOS provides monitoring and limited control of the routers settings from your mobile device, and SharePort Mobile which allows you to play media content from a hard drive plugged into the USB port of the DIR-865L
The DIR-865L’s single USB port can be used with any external hard drives formatted in either FAT32 or NTFS, it had no trouble powering my Seagate Backup Plus Portable drive. You can then easily and securely share the drive’s contents with machines on the local network. The router also features iTunes and DLNA servers so you can stream digital media to compatible devices such as a smart TV…I Like this feature because it means I don’t have to leave a PC turned on in order to be able to watch videos on my DLNA capable TV
I really liked this high end router from D-Link. The DIR 865L is a capable router that will satisfy even the most demanding home network needs even if it isn’t likely to win any design awards. A second USB port would be nice for a printer but since even low end printers are now WiFi capable so, only one USB port shouldn’t be a deal breaker. In fact, I would choose the DIR-865L over competing products that may have more features or are even a bit faster because of my past experience with D-Link’s reliability…a D-Link router I bought 6 years ago is still providing excellent service on my brother’s home network.
The DIR-865L AC 1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router is nicely priced at $189.99 and the DWA-182 Wireless AC 1200 Dual Band USB Adapter is $79.99. Both available pretty much everywhere computers are sold.