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D-Link DIR-845L Cloud Router review

Gordon Kelly

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 8

D-Link DIR-845L Cloud Router
  • D-Link DIR-845L Cloud Router
  • D-Link DIR-845L Cloud Router
  • smartbeam
  • smartbeam 2
  • admin
  • mydlink
  • 2.4GHz 10m
  • 5GHz 2m

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Fastest dedicated 802.11n router to date
  • Excellent speeds and range over both 5GHz & 2.4GHz
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • mydlink Cloud platform remains basic
  • 802.11ac routers still best it running at 802.11n

Key Features

  • 802.11n/g/b WiFi
  • 2.4GHz & 5GHz dual band
  • SmartBeam smart targetting WiFi technology
  • WPA/WPA2, WPS & WEP 64/128-bit security
  • IPv6 ready
  • DLNA certified
  • 6 Multi-directional Antennas
  • Manufacturer: D-Link
  • Review Price: £105.00

Introduction

Despite high scoring reviews 802.11ac routers have yet to take off because of one simple, but fundamental thing: a lack of hardware support. Quite frankly there are next to no laptops, tablets or phones on the market right now that come fitted with this next generation Wi-Fi standard and it could remain quite some time before that changes. As such D-Link steps forward with the DIR-845L, a router which sticks to venerable 802.11n but offers many of the technological innovations seen in AC models and packages it with an appealing price tag. Could the old ways be best?

D-Link DIR-845L - Design & Features

Certainly unpacking the DIR-845L gives a sense of nostalgia. Before the 802.11ac-equipped DIR-865L returned routers to their uninspiring rectangular roots D-Link’s 802.11n models had taken on a more elegant, cylindrical form and this ‘Darth Vader Pringles tube’ look is happily back with the 845L.

At 93 x 111 x 145 mm and 330 grams the 845L is slightly larger than its wireless n stable mates, but that is with good reason. Finally D-Link has married the best features of its 802.11n products into a single model: the 845L gets the dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz antennas and ‘mydlink’ Cloud platform support of the disappointing DIR-826L and ‘SmartBeam’, the superlative performance enhancing technology, of the single band, Cloudless DIR-645 all rolled into one.

smartbeam 2

Most noteworthy for day-to-day use is SmartBeam, which has made its way into the 802.11ac standard. Unlike normal 802.11b/g/n routers SmartBeam means a router doesn’t throw out a blind signal of equal radius but instead detects the location of devices connected to it and boosts signal in their direction. Think laser guided missiles rather than a single bomb.

As for mydlink, the company’s Cloud platform lets you log onto your router from any computer with an Internet connection or via dedicated Android and iOS apps and manage it remotely. Functionality includes adding and removing devices, prioritising types of traffic, rebooting, changing the SSID and passwords and enabling notification emails when new devices connect, fail to connect and new firmware is available. mydlink isn’t as powerful as ConnectCloud seen on the latest Linksys routers, but it is a solid base that will no doubt add further features over time.

Elsewhere, the 845L ticks all the usual boxes: four Gigabit LAN ports, IPv6 and DLNA support, a USB port for adding external storage or a printer to the network and WPA/WPA2 and WPS security.

mydlink

D-Link DIR-845L - Setup

A high point for D-Link in recent years has been the simplicity of its routers’ setup and this remains the case. Less technical users can pop in the supplied CD or download the setup software from the D-Link website and it goes through a setup wizard that lets you name the router, its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands (the latter is labelled ‘Media’ by default), change passwords and register with mydlink. Since the 845L doesn’t contain a modem (the popular option these days) connecting to the Internet is merely a case of plugging it into your existing modem via an Ethernet cable.

Meanwhile advanced users will be happy to know that unlike ConnectCloud, mydlink doesn’t do away with the more old school local admin access (via the familiar 198.168.0.1 IP address). This allows you to delve deep into all advanced settings and tinker to your hearts content...

admin

Steve

March 6, 2013, 11:50 am

I'm having connection issues in parts of my Bungalow with a DIR-615
Wondering an upgrate to the model reviewed here would be a better alternative to say a wireless extender box?

Gordon Kelly

March 8, 2013, 5:33 pm

If you're looking to cheaply extend your wireless range there is no better way to do it than the 845L. You aren't future proofed as with the AC routers, but it will make an immediate and substantial difference compared to the 615.

I'd buy it and try it without any wireless extenders first, but remember to place your router as centrally as possible.

PC99PC

April 20, 2013, 10:12 am

Have just got one of these and am impressed with its performance, but have failed to get my Vodafone SureSignal to work with it at all... any ideas?

Lou Bandiera

May 18, 2013, 9:51 pm

I got one of these recently. Very disappointing, weaker signal and slower internet throughput than my old DIR-655 on 2.4 ghz (which doesn't have all the bells and whistles such as AMPLIFI, SmartBeam, etc). It's going back to Costco tomorrow.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 12:43 pm

How strange, our results were excellent. Perhaps it is worth exchanging the unit.

Guest

May 29, 2013, 4:52 pm

Just bought this router and am quite impressed with it. What's struck me so far is its consistent performance - my previous router's speeds used to dip up and down but this one is rock solid. Also, there's no waiting when changing settings via its web-interface - only stuff like updating firmware requires a countdown.

The only other negative is that the router feels quite light and plasticky, but apart from that fully agree with the review. This will tide me over 'til the 802.11ac standard becomes ratified and AC routers and equipment drop in price.

Dave

August 3, 2013, 11:12 pm

I can't get the "media" band to show up on all my wireless devices. Does this have to do with not being compatible with some network adapters?

timwillms

August 18, 2013, 11:36 am

Performance is no better than my older Linksys E3000. Smartbeam? Gimmicky as it doesn't provide any better reception than my older unit either. So why replace a bought and paid for router that works ok with a unit that also only works "OK"? No reason, so it's heading back to the store.

georgewoodhouse

August 26, 2013, 8:58 pm

Is it usual for the better quality routers to require a separate modem (as this one does I believe)? I have always used a router supplied by a service provider (recently changed from BT to Plusnet) which have always included a modem as part of the router. The Plusnet router/modem is hopeless - particularly getting wifi signal through some thick solid walls in an old house - so I need to upgrade but not sure of the best way to do it. Any ideas please?

guest

October 26, 2013, 10:17 pm

Hi,
I'm about to order this router. It caught my eyes your comment re firmware update. I thought the update is automatically done but based on your statement it's not. Could you please share what issues did you face with the update?
Thanks

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