D-Link DIR-890 AC3200 Ultra Triple-Band Wi-Fi Router Review

Introduction


When you pick the router you want to own, you can either pick an ordinary router for your setup or a great one if you want just a little more. But there is also a third option and you have the choice to go for something extraordinary. Today I’m taking a closer look a router from the last category as I’m having D-Link’s impressive DIR-890L AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router in my testing area.

The DIR-890L brings impressive performance via three bands instead of the normal two bands, and it also comes packed in a stylish design with six antennas for maximum range, coverage, and speed. D-Link’s DIR-890L has a futuristic kind of design that somewhat resembles a drone or spaceship. A lot of the times this kind of designs can go too far, but D-Link seems to have nailed it and hit just the right spot between normal, futuristic, functionality, and design. It looks great!

We get more and more smart devices in our homes and that is something that increases exponentially the more people live in the household. We have smart TVs, smartphones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, computers, and much more. All of these need an internet connection through our one and only entry and exit point, the router, which means that we quickly can reach limits around the available bandwidth and channels, and we experience bottlenecks and lag.

Traditional routers have a 2.4GHz band for up to 600Mbps throughput that is suited for surfing, emails, and instant messaging as well as the newer 5GHz band that has a little less range but a lot more performance. D-Link added one more on top of that in the DIR-890L AC3200 router, they added a third band. The third band is another 5GHz band, freeing up some space on the first one by balancing the connections out. It also prevents slower connected devices from bottlenecking the band from faster ones. Each of the 5GHz bands has a maximum throughput of 1300Mbps which gives the DIR-890L a total wireless throughput of 3200Mbps. Effectively this is like three routers in one.

As mentioned above, not all wireless bands are the same, but that isn’t something you need to worry about with this router. The Smart Connect Technology allows the router to choose from the three Wi-Fi bands and automatically connect each device on the network to the best and clearest band available at the time of connection.

The Smart Connect feature is awesome as it manages everything itself and removes any worry from the user’s end what band to pick and choose from. You can still choose to use each band separately with their own individual SSID name and password settings should you wish to do so.

D-Link gave the DIR-890L six antennas and the router features beam-forming technology to improve coverage. With this technology, the router can direct the bandwidth in the direction of the devices connected and thereby give you a better overall connection experience whether you stream your movies, Skype with friends, or play online games.

The six antennas are adjustable in almost all directions, except down. So unless you want to place it upside down, then you can’t have it look like a spider on six legs as some of you probably already imagined. It is not something I would recommend doing as it would place the vents upward and allow for more dust to settle inside the router. You sadly can’t replace the antennas with aftermarket ones on the Ultra AC3200 and that might be a downside for some people.

The router naturally also features wired connections and not just wireless ones, although the wireless features are the selling point in this router along with the great hardware base. You get one WAN port for the internet connection and four Gigabit Ethernet ports for your LAN. The DIR-890L also comes with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port for file sharing from external storage drives or creating a network printing environment from your old USB-based printer. The D-Link share port allows all this with ease and also allows you to use the built-in DLNA server and stream to compatible devices.

D-Link also packed the router full of useful software features such as parental controls, blocking of unwanted devices, internet activity monitoring, and Wi-Fi guest networks. Intelligent Traffic Prioritization selects the fastest Wi-Fi for every device and prevents older devices from affecting optimal performance. VPN setup and all common features such as NAT and port forwarding aren’t a problem for the DIR-890L either.

There are a lot more features, but we’ll see them on the following pages when we take a look at the user interface and options. If all that shouldn’t be enough, or you just don’t like the interface for some reason and would like something else, then you can flash the router with DD-WRT, the open-source router firmware. The D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi Router should be fully compatible with the open source Linux-based router operating system.

If all that shouldn’t be enough, or you just don’t like the interface for some reason and would like something else, then you can flash the router with DD-WRT, the open-source router firmware. The D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi Router should be fully compatible with the open source Linux-based router operating system.

All this requires some power to run and that comes from a 1GHz dual-core processor that has no trouble keeping up the data packets for your gaming sessions or 4K media streaming. Speaking of 4K media streaming, the DIR-890L is a Nvidia GameStream-Ready product and certified for optimal compatibility with the newly released Nvidia Shield 4K Android TV Console.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

A Premium router also needs a premium package, and the D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router has that. The huge box has a premium finish and is made from thick cardboard. The outside has a full-colour print with the router itself and the name on the front.

The rear of the box displays the main feature highlights in a graphical way, easy to see, read, and understand.

It isn’t just a folded box around an inlay either, but a real box where you lift the cover up.

Inside you see the beautiful router right away, safely secured and with the accessories packed in the boxes on either side.

Inside is a power cord, AC power adapter, and an RJ45 LAN cable to connect your new router.

There’s also a beautiful Quick Install Guide to help you get started, a configuration card with all the default settings and room to write you own as well as an extra sticker with the defaults for you to place where it is convenient.

TP-Link AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Routers Available

Forget dual-band routers, here comes the wave of tri-band routers. TP-Link is ready with theirs and they have announced the availability on the Archer C3200 AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Routers. The third band isn’t a new wavelength, but rather an extra 5GHz connection. That gives you a total speed of up to 3.2Gbps, 600Mbps from the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps from each of the 5GHz bands.

The extra 5GHz band is useful for places where a lot of wireless devices connect at the same time, still offering an optimal connection for everyone. To maintain a constant throughput, the Archer C3200 comes with a 1GHz dual-core processor and three coprocessors that exclusively handle the Wi-Fi tasks over the three bands. This should give a total bottleneck free experience.

There are also four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired devices on the TP-Link AC3200 Gigabit Router as well as a USB 3.0 for direct and fast storage connection and a USB 2.0 port for older legacy devices and printers. The square-shaped C3200 router comes with six high-performance external antennas for maximum coverage, even in larger homes.

A router like this won’t come cheap, but it’s still a very fair price in my opinion. TP-Link attached a $259.99 MSRP to the Archer C3200 AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Router, and it comes backed by a 2-year warranty. Availability should be very shortly.

Linksys Releases EA9200 Tri-Band and E8350 Dual-Band Router

Linksys has announced the latest addition to their long-range of routers with two new devices, the Linksys EA9200 AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router and the Linksys E8350 AC2400 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router. The two new devices can provide speeds up to 3.2 Gbps and 2.4 Gbps, respectively. Both are said to provide networking functionality suited for both large or small environments that need the maximum performance and range for their home networks.

The Linksys E8350 AC2400 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router is built to offer the best transfer speeds possible with the latest 4×4 AC technology. It is able to achieve four independent data streams up to 2.33 Gbps. Perfect for multitasking like simultaneous HD streaming and online-gaming, or just households where multiple people are using a lot of bandwidth at the same time. It strengthens its coverage by the 4 external antennas and the innovative beamforming technology that is capable of strengthening the signal to individual devices rather than just increasing the overall signal strength.

The Linksys E8350 has full gigabit coverage on all 5 ports and further has a USB 3.0 port and a combined USB 2.0 and eSATA port that allow you to attach and share storage directly from the router. It is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core CPU and has 512 MB DDR3 memory. It is MU-MIMO Ready which allows for the simultaneous transfers without speed degradation and supports PPTP, IPSec and L2TP Passthrough. It is UPnP ready and supports DLNA for media stream as well. It is available now and for an MSRP of $249.99 in the US. In the UK, it hasn’t arrived in stock yet but can be pre-ordered for £199.99.

The second new router from Linksys is the EA9200 AC3200 Tri-Band Router that has a total of six antennas, three external and three internal. This router uses the same beamforming technology to strengthen the signal of the connected devices to give the best signal possible. It is equipped with three Wi-Fi bands as the name already suggests, two 5GHz and one 2.4GHz band, to deliver combined speeds up to 3.2 Gbps.

It is powered by a dual-core processor with 1 GHz but it has three co-processors for a total of 2.96 GHz of Penta-core power. An unusual move, but one that should result in an awesome performance. It has full Gigabit coverage on all RJ45 ports and also comes with a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port for storage connectivity.

Like any router, it has a huge list of features, but some of them are the Parental controls, remote troubleshooting and network map. Support for DLNA streaming from connected storage devices and it has UPnP IGD support. The Smart Connect technology automatically balances your devices over the two high-speed 5 GHz bands in real-time. It selects the best band for each device, ensuring optimal device performance.

The Linksys EA9200 has an MSRP of $299.00 in the US and I couldn’t find it listed in the UK yet. It should however become available shortly.

Thank you Linksys for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Linksys