D-Link DIR-890L review: A router with top wireless speeds
The DIR-890L isn’t exactly subtle, with its huge dimensions, red metal finish and UFO-like styling, but there’s a good reason it takes up so much space. It’s a tri-band router, broadcasting two 5GHz networks simultaneously to double the available wireless bandwidth and allow two devices to get a theoretical maximum link speed of 1,300Mbits/sec over 802.11ac.Smart Connect means you won’t need to choose which band to use manually but, as with the Asus above, this only works if all three wireless SSIDs share the same name and password.
Smart Connect means you won’t need to choose which band to use manually but this only works if all three wireless SSIDs share the same name and password.
It backs up the bravado of its design with stupendous performance, reaching 74.8MB/sec file transfers over 802.11ac at close range. On the 5GHz band, 2×2-stream devices proved equally fast, reaching 18MB/sec, and at long range a speed of 32.8MB/sec makes this the quickest 802.11ac router I’ve seen.
The six antennae are non-removable, but they can be adjusted for fine-tuning the spread of your networks. Their positioning should help eliminate dead spots, too.
All the ports are hidden at the back. There’s a single Gigabit WAN, four Gigabit LAN ports and two USB ports, although only one is USB 3. It’s backed by a fast controller, transferring files from a USB SSD at 73.8MB/sec. External storage can be accessed over the internet using D-Link’s SharePort smartphone app.
Previous D-Link routers were saddled with a clunky web interface that hadn’t changed in what felt like forever, but the DIR-890L finally moves on. The new-look UI is a massive improvement, with a simple layout and sensibly labelled tabs hiding the more advanced features from less experienced users. The network map on the homescreen is a welcome touch, showing exactly how many wired and wireless devices are connected at a glance.
Like other tri-band routers such as the Asus RT-AC3200, the DIR-890L will reduce the bandwidth strain on a wireless network congested with multiple devices. However, the D-Link wasn’t quite as fast in our close range file-transfer tests, while its user interface is neither as comprehensive as that of the Asus, nor as intuitive as Synology’s.
It’s a fine tri-band router, but until the price drops it has nothing to make it stand out against the competition.