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D-Link DIR-880L review: A good, basic 802.11ac Wi-Fi router

Michael Brown | July 17, 2014
If you're a big fan of D-Link's connected-home product line, D-Link's DIR-880L is the 802.11ac Wi-Fi router to buy. D-Link is building out an ecosystem of IP cameras, motion sensors, and lighting controls that are super-easy to deploy, thanks to the company's "zero-config" architecture. This router is also a good choice for if you're looking for a new router that's easy to set up and manage, with or without a PC.

I've found that the best way to get the maximum performance from an 802.11ac router is to deploy two of them: One as a Wi-Fi router and the other as a Wi-Fi bridge that you hardwire to one or more clients. You can configure a second DIR-880L as a bridge, but I wasn't able to test its performance in such a scenario because D-Link sent only one router.

Should you buy one?

If the time has come to upgrade from your aging 802.11n router, the D-Link DIR-880L is a model you should consider — especially if you can't afford the price premiums that Asus and Linksys are fetching, or if you won't benefit from the advanced features those routers offer. (I'll be testing Netgear's new Nighthawk X6 soon, too, but it's even more expensive.) The DIR-880L is also a good router to recommend to those friends and family who depend on your for tech support, because its online-management features will make that chore easier.

The DIR-880L doesn't deliver state-of-the-art performance, but it's not slow. I think some of its other shortcomings are more important: It has a USB 3.0 port, but D-Link's SharePort technology doesn't take full advantage of it. Its parental controls are not very sophisticated, and its port-forwarding and static-route features are limited. It also doesn't have an iTunes server, although it is DLNA compatible.

In short, this isn't a router that will excite router geeks, but it's not a bad choice for mainstream users.


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