D-Link AC 1750 Review 2017
Let’s get this out of the way right now…
The first thing you’re going to notice about the D-Link DIR-868L is that it looks really weird.
It’s kind of a funky black cylinder that tapers off toward the back, with ports on that smaller face, flanked by a couple of big, ugly logos. So, no, it’s really not attractive.
Still, that ugly exterior is tied to a pretty formidable list of features and specifications.
It’s a remarkably solid 802.11ac router for its price point, at least in theory. It even supports beam forming.
So, the question is fairly simple
How does it live up to those promises in practice? D-Link Wireless AC Smartbeam 1750 Mbps (DIR-868L) – Hardware The aforementioned incredibly ugly case does serve a purpose…
…structurally, it’s better suited to maximizing the effects of D-Link’s Smartbeam beam forming technology.
The height of the case also allows the router to include higher-powered amplifiers than are ordinarily feasible.
D-Link capitalizes on these benefits, and the results are impressive; the DIR-868L is one of the best routers available in terms of pure Wi-Fi range.
Speed is another matter
It’s an AC1750 class router, yes, but in real-world tests it falls behind units from competitors like Trendnet, producing less than half the speeds of those models in many cases.
It’s still more than usable, but it’s not exactly blazing.
The four gigabit Ethernet ports are fine, of course; there’s not much differentiation between Ethernet speeds on reasonably high-end routers at this point. Internally, things look promising.
The chipset provides plenty of CPU power…
…in the form of a dual-core Broadcom BCM4708X, and the 128MB each of RAM and flash memory are plenty to work with.
Given the reasonable power of the hardware combined with the excellent wireless and wired networking chipsets and the USB 3.0 port, there’s plenty to work with here if you’d like to run a third-party firmware like DD-WRT.
Do note, though, that current builds aren’t entirely mature.
They’re more than usable, mind you, but you can’t just drop them in place and expect the router to run forever without issue; some maintenance and troubleshooting will be necessary on occasion.
Still, if you’re comfortable getting your hands dirty, this is a good way to mitigate the DIR-868L’s lacking out-of-the-box wireless speed and capitalize on the router’s strong points.
D-Link Wireless AC Smartbeam 1750 Mbps (DIR-868L) – Software
The DIR-868L’s web interface is a bit of a mess, but that conceals some first-rate functionality.
The QoS features are the biggest draw here; D-Link has a history of providing top-notch QoS tools, and these are more of the same.
With a little bit of effort, you can make sizable reductions to lag and latency in time-sensitive applications like online multiplayer gaming.
The router’s IPv6 support is also notable; while the migration to IPv6 isn’t happening nearly as quickly as would be ideal, being able to handle that protocol well is still an important bit of future-proofing for a router.
Half-hearted implementations are common enough, but the DIR-868L can perform well with IPv6 right out of the box.
D-Link’s remote administration,
app, mydlink, is also notable. It’s not a new feature, per se, but it’s one that hadn’t really been all that worthwhile in the past; limited, buggy, and hard to set up, it wasn’t really worth the effort.
The version that ships with the DIR-868L is a major improvement, though; it’s easy to tie the router to the remote management account and use the smartphone and PC apps to monitor connections and perform basic maintenance tasks away from your home network.
Of course, it goes without saying that all of the standard features you’d see in this part of the market are present.
Virtual networks, USB hard drive and printer sharing, and other common features are all present and work very well.
D-Link Wireless AC Smartbeam – Conclusion
The D-Link AC 1750 Review 2017 Ugly But Impressive isn’t going to win any awards for raw throughput, but it’s still a fairly high-performance router for $150 that features excellent wireless range and an attractive feature set.
If the DIR-868L’s pros and cons line up with your priorities when looking for a router, it’s an excellent pick.
The hardware is solid, the feature set is attractive, and the wireless range is excellent; there’s a lot to like here, even if throughput is a bit of a problem.