Jan 08

D-Link is “trying to recapture the high end of the market in terms of performance,” VP of marketing Dan Kelley told me in an embargoed interview last month. I haven’t been able to test D-Link’s new Ultra Performance series of 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers and adapters, but their radical industrial designs are sure to turn heads.

D-Link is showing three new routers at CES this week—the D-Link DIR-895L/R, the DIR-890L/R, and the DIR-885L/R—along with the spherical DWA-192/R USB 3.0 Wi-Fi adapter.

The company is also pushing the price envelope, asking enthusiasts to cough up $310 for the model in the middle of the new range. It should be available for purchase now. D-Link says the rest of the lineup will be available in the second quarter, but it has not released pricing guidance on the other new routers or the Wi-Fi adapter.

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D-Link’s new DIR-885L/R 802.11ac Wi-Fi router is in the center. The flagship DIR-895L/R is on the left and the DIR-890L is on the right. 

The flagship DIR-895L/R is based on Broadcom’s BCM47094 chipset and can operate two independent networks on the 5GHz frequency band (with theoretical TCP throughput to 802.11ac clients of 2165Mbps on each), and a third network on the 2.4GHz band with theoretical TCP throughput of 1000Mbps. It will be outfitted with eight high-power antennas, and it supports MU-MIMO (multiple users-multiple input/multiple output) technology so that it can stream high-definition video and audio to multiple clients.

The DIR-890L, equipped with six antennas, can also operate two independent 5GHz networks, but its TCP throughput maxes out at 1300Mbps to 802.11ac clients. It delivers throughput up to 600Mbps on its third network, which operates on the 2.4GHz band. The four-antenna DIR-885L/R, meanwhile, operates one 5GHz network with throughput up to 2165Mbps, and one 2.4GHz network with throughput up to 1000Mbps. D-Link arrives at its AC5300 label by summing those numbers. (The AC5600 and throughput numbers in the slide below have been revised downward.)

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D-Link’s DIR-895R/L boasts very high specifications, and will likely have a price tag to match when it ships in the second quarter. 

All three of the new routers will feature an all-new user interface that should make it easier to set up and manage your router and network using only a smartphone or tablet—good news for consumers who don’t have a Mac or PC. And all three will support beam forming, D-Link’s QoS engine, and SharePort technology for sharing a USB printer and a USB storage device on the network.

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D-Link’s DWA-192 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter is shaped like a ball. 

D-Link describes its D-Link DWA-192/R as an AC1900 Wi-Fi adapter, but arrives at that label by summing its maximum throughput of 1300Mbps on the 5GHz frequency band with its max throughput of 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. As an AC adapter, it has the same specification as the Asus USB-AC56 adapter (although that part supports maximum throughput of only 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band).

I suspect the DWA-192/R’s spherical design will render the adapter more omnidirectional, but I’ll have to wait until I can test one. D-Link expects it to ship in the second quarter, but hasn’t announced pricing.

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