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D-Link DIR-880L AC1900 Wireless Router Review

D-Link DIR-880L AC1900 Wireless Router Review

Tyler tells us all about the D-Link DIR-880L in his latest review. This router holds a few surprises in the performance numbers that are worth seeing.

@TylerBernath
Published Tue, Aug 12 2014 9:16 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 89%Manufacturer: D-Link

Introduction & Pricing, Availability and Specifications

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Back in November, we had the opportunity to take a look at the DIR-868L as D-Link entered the 802.11ac market. The 868L offered up AC1750 capabilities with 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band and 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band with a space saving tower design similar to the Apple AirPort.

Today, we shift gears, and move onto the latest solution from D-Link, this time an AC1900 product, dubbed the DIR-880L. The 880L carries the typical desktop form factor, that is to say the router is a low profile rectangular box.

Features of this router include dual band capabilities including 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, giving us the AC1900 marketing label. In addition to this, the DIR-880L is a cloud router, so the ability to manage your router remotely is feasible, and if you setup the integrated Shareport feature, access to the devices USB ports, which have been made available for storage, printers and scanners, is also available.

Pricing, Availability and Specifications

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The D-Link DIR-880L is an entry-level 802.11ac solution aimed to bring the latest technology in to the average consumers home. The 880L features two USB ports with one carrying USB 3.0 technology, along with three high gain antennas to aide in increased range ability. Each of the five RJ45 port include gigabit ethernet capability, as to eliminate any network bottlenecks.

The D-Link DIR-880L wireless router is listed at $189.99 with a one-year warranty. This positions the DIR-880L next to the Linksys EA6900, Netgear R7000 and ASUS RT-AC68U in the current market.

PRICING: You can find the D-Link DIR-880L wireless router for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The D-Link DIR-880L wireless router retails for $179.88 at Amazon.

Canada: The D-Link DIR-880L wireless router retails for CDN$177.99 at Amazon Canada.

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The product packaging for the 880L carries a more casual appeal. The router is pictured on the front of the box with a few marketing details around it.

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The back of the packaging carries a few more details about the router.

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Scope of delivery includes an Ethernet cable, three antennas, power adapter and reading materials.

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The 880L house a full arsenal of LED lights on the top of the router for indicating LAN and WLAN activity.

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The back of the router has four-gigabit LAN ports next the single gigabit WAN port. We have three antenna connections, along with a USB port and the power button. Also worth mentioning is a second USB 3.0 port located on the side of the unit.

Management GUI

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The landing page for setup pops up with a wizard to guide you through the process.

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After the initial setup, we were presented with this landing page. This is the first router I have seen with this new interface, which presents a cleaner user-friendlier feel to it.

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Moving on, we take a look at the wireless settings page, again options in here are minimal, but you can gain a few more if you click the advanced settings link.

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Moving on to network settings, again things are very user friendly and take a minimalistic approach.

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Next we have the menu for the Shareport setup. Within, you can configure both SMB and web file access, along with a DLNA media server.

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Here we have the QoS engine that D-Link has simplified by allowing users to drag and drop particular PCs into preset categories.

Test System Setup and Wireless Range

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As wireless networking has proliferated in homes and offices around the world, and network vendors keep releasing new devices on a regular basis, you now have so many options that it's hard to make a choice. The truth of the matter is, regardless of how many features a wireless router or access point has, the two most important things about it are its speed and its range.

We test throughput in a dual-node network environment consisting of a custom PC with a GIGABYTE Z97X UD7 TH, Intel Core i7 4770 processor operating at 3.3GHz with 16GB of DDR3 featuring the HotLava Vesuvius Six Port Gigabit NIC. The second system features a GIGABYTE x58 OC with an Intel Xeon L5639 Six Core CPU, 48GB of DDR3 from ADATA and the HotLava Vesuvius Six Port Gigabit NIC.

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Wireless throughput is tested using the ASUS PCE-AC68 PCI Express Network Adapter. Range is tested with a MacBook Pro Retina (Late 2013).

We perform all tests in a real-world environment. You may get better range and throughput results in a spacious facility with few internal walls or outdoors. Our tests provide a benchmark for estimating the range and throughput of wireless networking devices in an indoor setting, with some obstacles.

Wireless Range

For wireless range, we need to refer to the Network Infrastructure chart above. Each chart herein is based on the locations on the table. To make it simple, Location 1 is the closest and within Line of Sight, while Location 4 is the furthest away with many walls in between. Location 5 tests the router's ability to generate enough signal strength to penetrate to the second floor of a home.

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The idea of the charts above is to give you a better idea on how well the routers perform in a typical home environment. In reality, what you are looking for is the router that carries the best signal through all bands, or closest to 0dbm as possible. Looking at the chart above, the 880L was on par with both the TRENDnet 818 and the WRT1900 from Linksys.

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Moving to the 5GHz band, the 880L was one of the best routers in this test, next to the Buffalo 1750DHP.

Benchmarks - Wired and Wireless Throughput

Benchmarks - Wired Throughput

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LAN to LAN throughput peaked at 952Mbps for the 880L, making it the quickest we have tested to date.

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WAN to LAN came in at 952 Mbps - top in our charts once again.

Benchmarks - Wireless Throughput

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In our 2.4GHz testing, the 880L had a few issues. I was unable to get the router to lock into a specific band, i.e. 20MHz or 40MHz. Setting the unit to auto and placing it just feet from our test system still wouldn't allow it to switch to 40MHz.

We found it was due to the amount of users in the area broadcasting their own signal. One way to mitigate this is to switch the channel 1, but even that doesn't always work.

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Moving over to 5GHz, the router opened up a little and produced 414 Mbps on the 80MHz band and 227 Mbps on the 40MHz band.

Benchmarks - File Transfer Test & Final Thoughts

File Transfer Speeds

In our file transfer test, we use a single 4GB ISO file and transfer it from test system one to our second test system via the network. To eliminate any bottlenecks, each system is utilizing a Corsair Neutron 256GB SSD.

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File transfer testing showed the 880L second to just the WRT1900 from Linksys at 80MHz, while 5GHz 40MHz and 20MHz the 880 topped the charts. Over on LAN transfers, we found the router to allow 112 MB/s.

Final Thoughts

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The D-Link DIR 880L is one of the most surprising routers I have seen come through the lab. Sure, we have had the WRT1900 and Netgear Nighthawk, but those were expected to top the charts from inception. For some reason, I wasn't expecting the 880L to be such a great router - to be honest, I figured it would do the job, but not as well as it did.

In many of our tests, I had to run the router through them multitudes of times to confirm what I was seeing. As such, the router came out on top in a few scenarios where I wouldn't expect it. Take the 5GHz file transfer chart for instance, the 880L is second to just the WRT1900, and with LAN to LAN transfers, it's actually the quickest by a few MB/s.

In addition to the performance, the 880L carries a number of user friendly features. I really enjoyed the way the QoS was handled with this router, where you can drag and drop PCs into categories. Another feature that is great for the average user is Shareport, allowing you access to your files from any number of devices.

The only downfall and perhaps it's not a major downfall, but for people like me that enjoy a good amount of control with their routers, the ability to have a more administrator type settings was missed.

Something similar to the old D-Link firmware with the orange and grey scheme would have fit nicely with me, but as this product's intended market is with the average consumer, I can see why D-Link opted for the user friendly approach.

PRICING: You can find the D-Link DIR-880L wireless router for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The D-Link DIR-880L wireless router retails for $179.88 at Amazon.

Canada: The D-Link DIR-880L wireless router retails for CDN$177.99 at Amazon Canada.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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