D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router

D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router
D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router

Review At A Glance
Product D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router [product link]
Summary D-Link's first dual-band AC1900 router featuring AC SmartBeam and cloud-management capabilities.
Pros + Revamped simplified web admin
+ VPN server
+ Antennas can be upgraded
+ Cloud management
Cons – Limited advanced features
– 802.11ac performance is lacklustre
SRP S$369

The DIR-880L is, currently, D-Link’s top-of-the-line dual-band router. Speed has been bumped up to AC1900 class. In terms of design, it adopted a slim profile instead of the upright cylinder format used in its previous models (e.g. DIR-868L). It features SmartBeam (directs the wireless signal towards connected wireless clients) and cloud-management.

The AC1900 class means that the DIR-880L is capable of speed up to 600Mbps and 1300Mbps on its 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz band respectively.

 


Package Contents

The contents of the DIR-880L package
The contents of the DIR-880L package

Here’s what you will find in your DIR-880L retail box:

  • D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router
  • 3 x large dual-band dipole antennas (which I had attached in the above picture)
  • 12V 3A power adaptor (110-220V)
  • Ethernet patch cord
  • Various guides and information
  • Screws and drywall anchors (for wall mounting the DIR-880L)

 

Slim (and wide) profile

The DIR-880L is a fairly large router. On the front panel, you will find the LED for Power, Internet, 2.4GHz activity, 5.0GHz activity, USB 2.0 device connectivity and USB 3.0 device connectivity.
The DIR-880L is a fairly large router. On the front panel, you will find the LED for Power, Internet, 2.4GHz activity, 5.0GHz activity, USB 2.0 device connectivity and USB 3.0 device connectivity.

The top of the DIR-880L is mostly in glossy black (which happens to be a great fingerprint magnet) while the  portion near to the antennas is checkered matte. Just above the 6 white icons, you will find the (blue-coloured) LED for power, Internet connection, 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz wireless network, USB 2.0 and 3.0 device connectivity. The brightness of the LEDs are just right, not too bright to light up your room at night.

A blue USB 3.0 port on the left.
A blue USB 3.0 port on the left.

On the left of the DIR-880L, you will find a USB 3.0 port to fully utilise your USB 3.0 flash drive as a network share throughout your network. While on the right side, you will find the WPS button.

3 RP-SMA connectors for the antennas, 4 Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit Internet port, USB 2.0 port, Reset button, Power button and Power port.
3 RP-SMA connectors for the antennas, 4 Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit Internet port, USB 2.0 port, Reset button, Power button and Power port.

At the back, you will find the RP-SMA (x 3) for the large dual-band dipole antennas, Gigabit LAN ports (x 4), Gigabit Internet port, USB 2.0 port, reset button, Power button and Power port.

Large antennas! Aside from angling them from 180 degrees (straight) to 90 degrees elbow, you can actually twist the "blade".
Large antennas! Aside from angling them from 180 degrees (straight) to 90 degrees elbow, you can actually twist the “blade”.

One nice thing about the antennas is that aside from the usual rotation about the RP-SMA connectors and ability to adjust the angles from 180 degrees (straight) to 90 degree (elbow) angles, you can actually twist the “blades” so that they can face your wireless clients for more directed signals. If you look carefully at the image above, you can see the rotating point just left of the angle joint.

Lastly, for those who are interested, the diameter of the coin (above) is 23mm.

The vented bottom for heat dissipation. It comes with mounting slots.
The vented bottom for heat dissipation. It comes with mounting slots.

The bottom of the DIR-880L is vented to aid heat dissipation. If you have noticed, there is no way for the DIR-880L to stand upright. The only way to do it is to mount it on a wall or flat surface using hooks. Otherwise you can get those plate display stands to support the DIR-880L.

 

The innards

Key Components of the D-Link DIR-880L
CPU Broadcom BCM4708A
Switch BCM4708A
RAM 256MB
Flash 128MB
Radio 2.4GHz
+ Broadcom BCM4360
+ Skyworks SE2623L 2.4GHz Power Amplifier (x 3)

5.0GHz
 + Broadcom BCM4360
+ Skyworks SE5003L1 5.0GHz Power Amplifier (x 3)

 

Revamped Web Admin

In my previous review for the DIR-868L, I complained about D-Link not changing their nostalgia orange and grey themed web admin. This time round, I was actually surprised by the change in UI (user interface). It was a refreshing change. On the main status page, you can actually click on the icons to reveal more information about them.

The revamped web admin. I guess simplicity is the best?
The revamped web admin. I guess simplicity is the best?

The new UI is actually not too bad once you get used to it.

Some of the nice features that caught my attention are:

  • Guest Networks. You can create a guest network each for the wireless bands (i.e. 1 guest network on 2.4GHz and/or 1 guest network on the 5.0GHz). The “Home Network Access” or AP isolation restricts them to the Internet. Pretty nice feature for your guest to surf the Internet and not snoop around your network.
  • Cloud Management. Simply register for D-Link’s free mydlink service and you can access and manage the DIR-880L from the mydlink web portal. The good? Probably you can troubleshoot the home network remotely (e.g. troubleshooting your parent’s home network) without the need to travel down to their place. However, do use this with caution as, basically, your home network would be safe as long as the mydlink web portal is not compromised.
  • Quick VPN. The DIR-880L comes with a VPN server that does L2TP over IPSec. Pretty nice feature if you wish to access your home network resources while you are outside. I would hope that I can add multiple named VPN user accounts instead of just sticking to one though.

And here are some complains:

  • Limited to 15 rules for advanced configurations. What’s with the legacy limit of 15 rules for port forwarding, Firewall settings, etc.? On the other hand, I don’t think I need 10 records for Dynamic DNS hosts.
  • No advanced settings for Guest networks. Not that it is important but I would like to have control over the type of wireless security (at least). The good thing is that it defaults to WPA2.

 

Speed test

To be updated.

 

Picture Gallery

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