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D-Link DIR-880L: Performance, Value & Verdict

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly

Reviewed:

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  • Editors choice
D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900

Summary

Our Score:

10

D-Link DIR-880L – Performance

DIR-880L ACD-Link is clearly looking to make a big impression with the DIR-880L, so how does it perform? Quite simply, it blew us away.

At our test distances of two metres and 10 metres line of sight and 15 metres behind two solid walls the 880L produced barnstorming 802.11ac speeds of 79.6MBps (636.8Mbps), 75.4MBps (603.2Mbps) and 44.9MBps (359.2Mbps). This places it within a margin of error of the Linksys WRT AC1900, the fastest router we have ever tested and a special edition £250 model.

Consequently the 880L also passes mainstream rivals, the Asus RT-AC68U, Netgear R7000 Nighthawk, TRENDnet TEW-818DRU and even the Linksys EA6900 which has long been our model of choice.

DIR-880L 5GHzBut this was just the start. Switching to 802.11n 5GHz the 880L hit an electrifying 56.4MBps (451.2Mbps), 46.4MBps (371.2Mbps) and 23.6MBps (188.8Mbps) at our three test distances. While the WRT AC1900 retains a lead at 15 metres (29.5MBps) the 880L's 2m and 10m results are 30 per cent and 15 per cent faster than anything we have previously seen.

This pattern continued at 802.11n 2.4GHz with the 880L achieving a head turning 23.5MBps (188Mbps), 18MBps (144Mbps) and 12.1MBps (96.8Mbps). This not only demonstrates the major benefits of Turbo QAM, but equates to a 30-50% lead over any Turbo OAM-equipped AC19000 router that we’ve tested.

The 880L then rounds things off with strong USB performance managing 23.6MBps (188.8Mbps) over USB 3.0 and 24.1MBps (192.8Mbps) over USB 2.0. This again highlights the somewhat pointless inclusion of USB 3.0 currently on routers and while the Linksys WRT AC1900 does achieve speeds in excess of 30MBps on both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, the D-Link is otherwise only fractionally edged out by the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk – itself a breakaway leader nearly 50 per cent faster than other rivals.

Note: graphs for 802.11n 2.4GHz and USB transfer speeds are available in the Photos tab at the top of the review.

Should I buy the D-Link DIR-880L?

This is already an easy question to answer, but why the 880L achieves such a high score from us is its price. D-Link has launched the 880L at £129.50. That’s £40 to £60 less than the AC1900 offerings from Linksys, Asus and Netgear and a whopping £120 less than the Linksys WRT AC1900 – our previous benchmark which the 880L either matches or beats in many tests.

In fact the only AC1900 router in the same price bracket is the TRENDnet TEW-818DRU which comes in at a remarkable £119.99, but its budget price tag leads to significant feature compromises and performance drop-offs at range.

Verdict

D-Link may be nearly seven months behind some rivals in bringing its AC1900 router to market, but the DIR-880L is a triumph. It has market leading performance across all bands, looks great, is intuitive to setup, offers remote Cloud control and dramatically undercuts rivals on price. The D-Link DIR-880L signals a significant step forward for speed, range and pricing. It is the new benchmark everyone else must beat.

Next, read more Router Reviews

Overall Score

10

Scores In Detail

  • Build Quality 9
  • Design 9
  • Performance 10
  • Usability 9
  • Value 10

MattMe

July 17, 2014, 9:02 am

An image search using your preferred internet search provider also reveals a black version of the DIR-880L. WIll one be coming in future?

What's the best method for connecting this to your ISP? Keep the supplied router plugged in as a modem (wifi disabled), and connect this to the LAN ports for wireless access? Or could I get a separate modem device?

toboev

July 17, 2014, 1:48 pm

"they spend time thinking up a completely new design"
Really - how can you tell? It looks like every other router. Oh, it's white. OK.

toboev

July 17, 2014, 3:00 pm

Ideally you want your ISP device connected to the phone line or cable to be acting as a modem only, which is not the same as just switching off the wifi. If you just switch off the wifi then it is still acting as a router and doing Network Address Translation (NAT). Your second device is also acting as a router, and doing NAT. If you are not careful both will also be doing DHCP (giving out local network addresses). It can be done (I do it..., it works, more by luck than judgement), but you can end up with problems if not careful.

The Virgin SuperHub has a modem-only mode, not sure about other devices.

I guess the other solution is indeed to just switch off the wifi on your ISP router, and use the DIR as a wifi access point, if it can do that (dunno). Then the ISP box is doing all the router work, the DIR is just bolting on its wifi capabilities.

Either way, if possible, you only want one device acting as the router/NAT/DHCP

Pbryanw

July 17, 2014, 5:28 pm

I'm thinking this must be referring to the darth-pringle design, D-Link's top of the range routers have used in the past.

Gordon Kelly

July 17, 2014, 6:51 pm

That's exactly what I'm thinking about. Thanks Pbryanw

Gordon Kelly

July 17, 2014, 6:52 pm

What toboev said, in a nutshell.

toboev

July 17, 2014, 7:38 pm

So, if I understand (sort of), the "completely new design" refers to the old products? I'd agree :)

Paul

July 18, 2014, 6:08 am

looks like I have found my AC router

Erwin Thierry Klein Haneveld

August 4, 2014, 11:42 am

hope this router can help me solve some issues I have now

Allan Kostyk

October 2, 2014, 8:10 am

I have not changed my old wireless router in years and it was connected to the cable router. I know our UPC router is not wireless. Our old Linksys from 8 or more years might be going.

marcwilson

December 11, 2014, 9:23 am

Does anyone know if this router can do multi-NAT? I have an 8-IP block rather than a single external IP, and I want to be able to route different IPs to different internal connections.

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