The Bottom Line
Introduction & Pricing, Availability and Specifications
For those of you that are in the market to upgrade or purchase your first router, it doesn't take much to become confused with all the marketing that surrounds each advance in technology. AC1900 is where you want to start when looking for a router, as many modern devices fully support this technology.
The D-Link EXO AC1900 solution takes advantage of this by leveraging a cost-effective Realtek platform that I have yet to test myself. At the heart of this solution, D-Link chose the RTL8198CS a dual-core solution that operates at 1GHz paired with 128MB of memory from ESMT and NAND flash from ESMT at 128MB as well.
With this being an AC1900 device, you get 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band which is operated by the Realtek RTL8194AR while the 5GHz band allows 1300 Mbps and utilizes the Realtek RTL8814AR. And with this router marketed in the performance category, it does utilize some pretty powerful Wi-Fi amplifiers in the SKY2623L and SKY15201 at 1000mw.
Pricing, Availability, and Specifications
Specifications of the DIR-879 start off with the interfaces supplied on the router. With this, we have 802.11a/g/n/ac technology backed by dual-band technology and five gigabit ports, four for LAN access, and one for WAN. Features of this solution include SmartConnect that manages incoming wireless connections and chooses the band appropriately. Adding to this is SmartBeam technology, Advanced QoS, and Quick VPN.
MSRP of the D-Link EXO AC1900 Wireless Router comes in at $149.99 with a two-year warranty.
D-Link EXO AC1900 Wireless Router
Packaging for the EXO includes a rather large image of the router on the front with a few specs of marketing below.
On the backside, we have a little more detail on the features of the router including the Amplifiers, Beamforming and SmartConnect technology.
Opening the box, I first noticed how well the router is packed. D-Link definitely put a little more thought into this solution.
The scope of delivery included the power adapter, Ethernet cable, and screws.
Looking at the EXO, we find a similar aesthetic to the Ultra tested over a year ago. This time around D-Link is using an orange scheme, but we still have the sleek antennas on the sides.
The back of the router houses reset, WPS, and power buttons with four Gigabit LAN ports and a WAN port in yellow.
Management GUI Details and Test System Setup
The management for the 879 is rather simple to use, and it all starts with a wizard to get the router setup.
After setup is complete, you land at the screen above. As you can see, D-Link has chosen to go with a modern look with tabs above and all the info you need at the bottom.
The Basic wireless menu allows you to change the SSID of your networks along with passwords and the bands you want to use.
QoS for the D-Link is one of the nicer setups I have seen. You simply select from the connected clients and drag and drop where you want them to be prioritized.
D-Link has also included a nice feature in the statistics server showing you the past few minutes of traffic on the router for each interface.
Tyler's Router Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Z170 Premium - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i5 6500 - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Klevv CRAS 16GB (4x4) DDR4 3000 - Read our review
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Secondary Storage: Intel 750 400GB U.2 SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Thermaltake P5 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
Benchmarks- Wired and Wireless Throughput
LAN to LAN throughput for the 879 came in at 937.2 Mbps.
WAN to LAN came in at 919.5 Mbps, on par with many competing solutions.
In 2.4GHz testing, the D-Link EXO performed quite well, reaching 93 Mbps on the 20MHz band while the 40MHz reached 158 Mbps.
5GHz throughput started out at 167 Mbps on the 20, while the 40 produced a very nice 294 Mbps. The 80MHz band topped out at 395 Mbps.
Benchmarks – Router Storage Testing & Final Thoughts
File Transfer Speeds
For our router file performance testing, I use a SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB Flash Drive formatted in the FAT32 or NTFS filesystems. I then use NAS Tester 1.7 with a 100 and 1000 MB file size and loop it five times with an average result being charted.
As we start out with the read performance of the 879, the router was able to produce 38 MB/s with the 100M file size and 32 MB/s with the 1000M file size. Write performance was a touch lower with the 879 coming at 14 MB/s and 16 MB/s, respectively.
The D-Link EXO is quite an interesting router in that while it is a full-fledged AC1900 solution, the platform underneath is quite new, to me at least. One thing I can say is the router is built really well as I would expect from D-Link, and while the antennas are integrated, they have introduced high power amps in this solution.
The management of this router reminds me very much of their smart home devices in that it is a very clean and simple user interface. With that said, you do still get to tweak your router to your needs for those that enjoy doing so and for those that want to set it up and go, you can do that too.
The performance was solid in wired throughput testing, reaching peak gigabit performance in LAN and WAN. Wireless throughput was average for the 2.4GHz band at 93 Mbps and 158 Mbps, respectively. 5GHz was quite solid as well, producing 167 Mbps on the 20MHz band and 294 Mbps and 395 Mbps for the 40 and 80MHz bands. File performance wasn't the greatest for the EXO as I was only able to achieve 38 MB/s read and 16 MB/s read.
Overall, the DIR-879 is a solid platform for those wanting an upgrade from an older router. For those wanting to jump into the latest 802.11ac technology, the EXO offers a solid price point with an MSRP of $149.99 and a two-year warranty.
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||85%|
|Value for Money||90%|
The Bottom Line: D-Link's DIR-879 EXO AC1900 wireless router is one the best bang for your buck products when it comes to AC1900 solutions.
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