D-Link DIR-868L Wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router – Speed Test

D-Link's new wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router with AC1200 Dual Band USB Adaptor
D-Link’s new wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router with AC1200 Dual Band USB Adaptor

Review At A Glance
Product D-Link DIR-868L Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router [product link]
Summary D-Link's top-of-line draft AC offering of second-generation Broadcom-based AC1750 class router with IPv6 support and USB 3.0 port.
Pros + Excellent wireless throughput on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
+ AC1750 (450 Mbps on 2.4 GHz & 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz)
Cons – Wireless-N 2.4 GHz range
– Lack of wireless bridge mode

The D-Link DIR-868L Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router is a second-generation Broadcom-based AC1750 class router with IPv6 support and USB 3.0 port. The DIR-868L is capable of delivering concurrent dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz speeds up to 1.75 Gbps.

This DIR-868L is D-Link’s top-of-line in its draft 802.11ac offering. It supports link rates up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz.

Interested to know whether it is a wireless speed demon? Read on.

 

Speed test methodology

The tests will be conducted using Iperf. Iperf is a network testing tool that can create TCP and UDP data steams and measure the throughput of a network that is carrying them.

A series of upstream and downstream tests will be conducted on:

  1. Wired to determine the baseline throughput
  2. Wireless-N 2.4 GHz (20/40 MHz)
  3. Wireless-N 5.0 GHz (20/40 MHz)
  4. Wireless-AC 5 GHz (80 MHz)

Three concurrent data streams will be used to saturate the network link between the test nodes over 60 seconds. Sampling of the speed will be captured at 10 seconds interval.

All speed tests are conducted in a typical residential environment. There will be wireless congestions from other wireless devices in the area so do not expect the speeds to be close to lab results. Well, just take that these are real life speed test results.

The speed tests are conducted from two location within the apartment:

  1. D-Link DIR-868L and wireless client in the same (living) room with line of sight at 3 metres apart
  2. D-Link DIR-868L in the living room and the wireless client in the study with no line of sight. They are approximately 10 metres apart with concrete in between

 

Equipments involved in the test

The equipments used in this speed test are:

The iMac will be connected to the D-Link DIR-868L using an ethernet patch cord. The HP EliteBook 2560p will wirelessly connect to the D-Link DIR-868L via the DWA-182 during the wireless tests.

The wireless client, D-Link DWA-182, is only capable of handling up to 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 867 Mbps on 5 GHz. Hence, this hardware limitation may impact the results on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The impact would be more on the 5 GHz band.

 

Wired Benchmark (LAN to LAN)

Direction Dist. (m) Wall Min (Mbps) Avg (Mbps) Max (Mbps)
Up - - 921 931.7 939
Down - - 925 934.6 939

I usually do this wired benchmark to identify and eliminate any hardware or software issues that potentially impacts the subsequent speed test results. With a wired LAN speed of 931.7 Mbps write and 934.6 Mbps read in this test, I would say the hardware and software are good to go for more speed tests.

 

Wireless-N 2.4 GHz (20/40 MHz)

Direction Dist. (m) Wall Min (Mbps) Avg (Mbps) Max (Mbps)
Up 3 No 54.5 72.5 78.9
Down 3 No 99.9 102.3 104
Up 10 Yes (1) 22.7 33.8 43.9
Down 10 Yes (1) 16.5 25.6 36.6

This test is conducted on the Wireless-N 2.4 GHz band using 20/40 MHz channel width at two different locations within the apartment.

The D-Link DIR-868L and DWA-182 combination managed to achieve an average write and read speed of 72.5 Mbps and 102.3 Mbps respectively in the same (living) room.

The write and read speed drops drastically to 33.8 Mbps and 25.6 Mbps respectively when the wireless client is shifted to the study.

 

Wireless-N 5 GHz (20/40 MHz)

Direction Dist. (m) Wall Min (Mbps) Avg (Mbps) Max (Mbps)
Up 3 No 128 148.6 161
Down 3 No 210 223.3 248
Up 10 Yes (1) 141 144 146
Down 10 Yes (1) 192 196 202

The speed test was repeated on the Wireless-N 5 GHz band using 20/40 MHz channel width. This time round, the D-Link DIR-868L squeezed an average 148.6 Mbps and 223.3 Mbps for write and read speeds respectively.

When the client is shifted to the study, the average write and read speeds dipped slightly to 144 Mbps and 196 Mbps.

The wireless client, D-Link DWA-182, is only capable of handling up to 867 Mbps. Hence, this hardware limitation may have impacted the results on 5 GHz band.

 

Wireless-AC 5.0 GHz (80 MHz)

Direction Dist. (m) Wall Min (Mbps) Avg (Mbps) Max (Mbps)
Up 3 No 107 147.1 168
Down 3 No 98.3 127 139
Up 10 Yes (1) 142 152.4 156
Down 10 Yes (1) 66.1 119.7 136

The DIR-868L was set to operate on Wireless-AC 5.0 GHz band for this test. With the D-Link DWA-182, the duo managed an average speed of 147.1 Mbps and 127 Mbps for write and read.

When the wireless client was shifted to the study, the average speed remained at 152.4 Mbps and 119.7 Mbps for write and read.

The wireless client, D-Link DWA-182, is only capable of handling up to 867 Mbps. Hence, this hardware limitation may have impacted the results on 5 GHz band.

 

Wireless range

Test Direction Living Room Study Drop in Speed
N 2.4 GHz Up 72.5 33.8 53.4%
N 2.4 GHz Down 102.3 25.6 75%
N 5 GHz Up 148.6 144 3.1%
N 5 GHz Down 223.3 196 12.2%
AC 5 GHz Up 147.1 152.4 3.6%
AC 5 GHz Down 127 119.7 5.7%

Based on the test results so far, it seems to suggests that DIR-868L does not handle distance well for the 2.4 GHz band. In the 802.11n 2.4 GHz tests, the moving of wireless client from the living room to the study resulted in approximately 64% reduction in wireless speeds.

On the other hand, 5 GHz band speeds for both 802.11n 802.11ac were handled pretty well.

 

Conclusion

Test Direction Min (Mbps) Avg (Mbps) Max (Mbps)
Wired Up 921 931.7 939
Wired Down 925 934.6 939
N 2.4 GHz Up 54.5 72.5 78.9
N 2.4 GHz Down 99.9 102.3 104
N 5 GHz Up 128 148.6 161
N 5 GHz Down 210 223.3 248
AC 5 GHz Up 107 147.1 168
AC 5 GHz Down 98.3 127 139

The D-Link DIR-868L Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router delivers quite fantastic results for all the speed tests scenarios.

The lower speed results on 802.11ac (wireless-AC) might be attributed to the DWA-182 wireless USB client’s hardware limitation. The DWA-182 hardware can only manage 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band while the DIR-868L is capable of handing up to 1300 Mbps. Performance is expected to improve with a better wireless client.

Unlike its competitors, there isn’t a bridge mode to fully utilise the wireless-AC 1300 Mbps link. As of this review, you cannot get 2 sets of DIR-868L and set them in wireless bridge mode. Lets hope future firmware revisions will add this feature.

In terms of wireless range, the test results suggest that the DIR-868L handles range better on the 5 GHz than 2.4 GHz band. The wireless throughput on 5 GHz only dipped slightly by 5% when the wireless client is shifted from the living room to study. On the other hand, wireless throughput on the 2.4 GHz band dropped by 60%.

To close it off, D-Link DIR-868L is one of the best AC1750 router in terms of wireless throughput but do keep on eye on the signal strength.

3 thoughts on “D-Link DIR-868L Wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router – Speed Test

  • November 2, 2013 at 11:39 am
    Permalink

    Hi,

    Thanks for the great review. Do you think you could provide the exact iperf parameters you used for this test? I just bought the same router, and the speed testing I’ve done has been mostly very disappointing but I don’t know if I’m testing correctly. My wireless G speeds seem to be in the 7-13Mbps range, and wireless N in the 16-22Mbps range (tested from a Nexus 4).

    I decided to try a purely wired iperf test, and the best I could do with two computers wired into the router was about 85Mbps, a far cry short of your 940Mbps. One computer is a recently built (overbuilt) media center with a Core i7 and 8GB RAM, so I don’t doubt its abilities to do a speed test. The other is a 4 year old Dell Inspiron with a Core i3 and 4GB of RAM; it’s getting a little long in the tooth but I would have thought it could do better than this. Maybe I’m missing something about my H/W. As a double-check, I repeated the same test with an old Linksys WRT-54G, and got the exact same 85Mbps figure, so either one or both of my computers is junk, or I’m using iperf wrong.

    So, long story short, I’d like to repeat your all-wired test. Right now I’m starting my server as follows:

    iperf -s -f m -i 10 -p yyyy

    and client as follows:

    iperf -c xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -f m -i 10 -p yyyy

    Is there something I should change?

    Thanks again!

  • November 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm
    Permalink

    OK, I figured out the problem with my wired test: my Dell laptop only has a 100Mbps ethernet card, so that 85Mb number I’m getting is actually not bad.

    However, I’m surprised that my Nexus iperf test is so slow when connecting to my media center, which does have a Gigabit ethernet card. Also, while I only get about 16Mbps on my Nexus with iperf, I get 22+Mbps with a normal internet speed test on the Nexus, which again makes me think I’m not using iperf correctly. So, I’d still like to see your recommended iperf parameters if you don’t mind sharing them.

    Thanks!

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