802.11ac Wi-Fi Router Round-Up: ASUS, Netgear, D-Link, and TRENDnet

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D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-890L/R)

The D-Link AC3200 Ultra router goes by the model name DIR-890L and it is indeed deserving of the title "Ultra." Everything about this flagship router is over-the-top, from the candy apple red paintjob to the wallet-busting pricetag and its top-of-the-line specs. It's also ridiculously large, measuring 15 inches across by 9.7 inches, and it's 5 inches tall. It is literally the largest router we've ever seen, and it's sure to draw the attention of visitors.

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Unlike some AC routers this bad boy sports the full package of channels and antennae, so it comes with one 2.4GHz channel and two 5GHz channels. By default the router selects the best channel for any connected client, whether it is 2.4GHz or 5GHz. All of them are on the same SSID, and it just picks the channel with the least amount of interference. You can also disable this functionality, and manually assign SSIDs and security credentials for each network, giving you three separate networks, each with its own customizable settings.
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The reason why this router is labeled AC 3200 is because it offers that much bandwidth in total, but it's deceiving since you can't get that much bandwidth from any single channel. The 2.4GHz channel offers 600Mb/s, while each of the 5GHz channels offer 1,300Mb/s, so when you add them all up you arrive at 3,200Mb/s in bandwidth. This router is designed for a connected home where multiple family members are tapping its bandwidth, including phones, tablets, PCs and more. If you're living by yourself in a 1BD apartment it's a bit of overkill, not that there's anything wrong with that of course. If you have a large home though, or one with multiple floors, this router is designed to fit your needs.

The DIR-890L/R router sports all the high-end connections one would expect, including support for 802.11a/b/g/n/AC. It has four 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN ports, a 10/100/1000 Gigabit WAN port, and two USB ports; one which is USB 3.0 and one that's USB 2.0 for sharing a printer or other low-speed device.
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The USB port is dubbed SharePort, and you can access connected devices and stream content from them over iOS and Android apps that are free to download. There's also a management and monitoring app named mydlink Lite that lets you control the router remotely, monitor bandwidth, and more. It can function as a DLNA media server too, and offers a full-range of advanced functionality including Network Address Translation, VPN passthrough, Quality of Service, and Stateful Packet Inspection. Its wireless security options include WPA and WPA2, as well as WPS for easier setup on certain devices.

D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router Setup
The setup routine for this router was flawless, and the easiest in this group as it required no input from us at all to be up and running, meaning we had an internet connection as soon as we connected a broadband modem to the router. The setup process was also a simple affair of clicking-through a few windows, and it also prompted us to create a unique SSID and password for our network, which we prefer over having it setup out of the box. Once we did that we were up and running in a few minutes.

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One unique feature we found on this router compared to the others is when you enable Smart Connect it puts all three bands on the same SSID, as opposed to the other routers, which only combine the 5GHz channels.

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Overall the D-Link router has the most modern and easy-to-use interface in this roundup in our opinion. The menus are all grouped in a logical way, and are easy to navigate. The network maps make sense and all the information is presented in a way that is simple and easy to digest.

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Its QoS settings are interesting, as it presents you with a list of connected devices and allows you to drag them into boxes labeled "Highest, High, and Medium" though you can only have one device in Highest, two in High, and eight in Medium. Nice touch.

Everything about this router's web interface is slick and well-made. Other router manufacturers should take note.

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