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You are here: Wireless Wireless Reviews D-Link DIR-825 B1 Quick Review

D-Link DIR-825 B1 Quick Review

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Introduction

Updated 11/5/09: RAM size corrected.

D-Link DIR-825

At a Glance
Product D-Link Xtreme N Dual Band Gigabit Router Rev B1 (DIR-825)
Summary Redesign of popular dual-radio dual-band 802.11n wireless router with 4 port gigabit Ethernet switch, now with Atheros WNPU, radios and Gigabit switch. Switch supports Jumbo Frames.
Pros • Two radios for simultaneous dual-band operation
• Gigabit WAN and LAN with > 200 Mbps routing speed
• > 200 Mbps combined wireless throughput
• USB server for storage and printers
Cons • USB device sharing is one Windows client at a time
• Lower routing throughput than the A1

A few months back, word spread via the SNB Forums that D-Link's B1 update of its relatively inexpensive dual-band, dual-radio DIR-825 [reviewed here] used essentially the same core chipset as NETGEAR's high-performing WNDR3700. So folks wanted to know whether they could save $50 by buying the 825 [B1] and get the same performance as the WNDR3700.

Since my review backlog is large and I have little time to retest new hardware revisions of products, I resisted repeated requests for a B1 review. But once I saw the significant performance advantages of the WNDR3700, my fate was sealed and I knew that enquiring minds needed to know.

For those of you in a hurry, I'll say that the DIR-825 B1 is no WNDR3700 in either its routing or wireless performance. So if you want the WNDR3700's performance, you'll need to buy a WNDR3700. If you want the details behind this conclusion, then just read on.

Figure 1 is the FCC shot of the original 825's board. It uses a Ubicom IP5170U clocked at 350 MHz, Realtek RTL8366SR gigabit switch, 16 MB of RAM and two mini-PCI radio modules.

DIR-825 [A1] board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: DIR-825 [A1] board

Figure 2 shows the 2.4 GHz mini-PCI radio module using an Atheros AR9160 dual-band 3x3 MIMO MAC/Baseband chip and AR9103 3T3R 2.4 GHz radio.

DIR-825 2.4 GHz radio

Figure 2: DIR-825 2.4 GHz radio

The 5 GHz board (Figure 3) uses an AR9106 2.4/5 GHz 3T3R radio and another AR9160 BB/MAC chip.

DIR-825 5 GHz radio
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: DIR-825 5 GHz radio

Figure 4 shows the B1 version board. The radios have been integrated into the main board and use more recent Atheros chipsets, i.e. an Atheros AR9223 2.4 GHz 2x2 single chip radio for 2.4 GHz and an Atheros AR9220 2.4/5 GHz 2x2 single chip radio for the 5 GHz radio.

DIR-825 [B1]  board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: DIR-825 [B1] board
Updated 11/5/09: RAM size corrected.

Both the processor and switch are under the grey ceramic heatsinks at the right of the photo. But since they're stuck on only with thermal tape, I was able to pry up the smaller one and confirm that the processor is Atheros' AR7161 WNPU @ 600 MHz. I didn't confirm that the larger device is an Atheros AR8316 Gigabit switch, however. The RAM complement is only 16 MB from a single Mosel-Vitelic v58c2256164 chip. RAM has been increased to 32 MB from a single ProMOS v58c2256164 chip. I didn't bother taking the board out of the case to ID the flash on the bottom of the board.

I'm not going to review features, since little has changed. You can check out the admin interface via the online emulator if you like or read the original review.

I will note that, despite switching from a Ubicom to an Atheros processor, D-Link has kept the QoS Engine controls the same. So perhaps Atheros' automatic QoS technology has progressed to the point where it provides a reasonable facsimile of Ubicom's StreamEngine functionality.

The other notable change is the IPv6 menu under the Advanced tab. It's not very complicated (Figure 5) and just provides a drop-down to select Static IPv6, DHCP v6, PPPoE, IPv6 in IPv4 Tunnel, 6to4 and Link-local only modes and displays the router's LAN IPv6 Link-Local address.

DIR-825 2.4 GHz radio

Figure 5: IPv6 screen



Related Items:

NETGEAR Sends The WNDR3700 Into The Wild
Slideshow: D-Link DIR-628 RangeBooster N Dual Band Router
NETGEAR WNDAP350 ProSafe 802.11n Dual Band Wireless Access Point Retes
Slideshow: Netgear WNDR3300 RangeMax Dual-Band Wireless N Router
Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Wireless-N Router Review Follo

User reviews

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Average user rating from: 6 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
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Overall: 
 
3.4 Features :
 
4.2 Performance :
 
2.8 Reliability :
 
3.2
 
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Not bad

Overall rating: 
 
3.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by Andrew
June 20, 2011
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There are lot of features to play with, but it's annoying to wait 15-40 seconds each time you change a setting for the router to come back.

I primarily use this for it's IPv6 connectivity and heavy Bittorrenting. The connection ceiling limit on this router isn't great, and I've found if I go over ~150 connections the router will get stuck in a half-working state where connection speed just crawls and you have to reboot the router. Also under load IPv6 connectivity tends to crap out and stop working.

The wifi signal strength is ok in my house, but not great. It could use third antenna and a power increase.

 

WAN -> LAN throughput DIR 8-25 sucks

Overall rating: 
 
2.3
Features:
 
3.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by Tim
May 15, 2011
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I have a cable connection (internet) 120 mbit.
With this route I could only have 30-50 mbit throughput.
When using my 6 years old WD114 I could reach 60-95 mbit.

For slow internet connections (< 25 mbit) this is a good router. If you have faster internet, forget this router!

Wireless performance was very good, though (much better than my old router)

 

Firmware upgrade fixes WAN throughput issues (DIR-825 / B1)

Overall rating: 
 
3.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Lee
September 06, 2010
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"Hardware Version: B1" (a.k.a. "Rev B") does demonstrate substantial limitations on WAN-to-LAN throughput "out-of-the-box", but upgrading to firmware version 2.03NA eliminates the problem (or at least substantially improves it).

With firmware 2.02NA, I was seeing WAN throughput limited around 3Mbps (downstream), on a 6Mbps connection. After upgrading to 2.03NA, I see downstream throughput approaching 5.6Mbps.

NOTE: in the router's admin utility, on the firmware upgrade page, there is a button "Check Online Now for Latest Firmware Version". This button did not work for me -- it checked, and said "This firmware is the latest version". Of course it was wrong: it was running 2.02NA, and 2.03NA was available for download from DLINK's website.

 

Wow, this is a piece of junk, I couldn't believe it

Overall rating: 
 
2.3
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by Ossamede
August 21, 2010
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I bought this router (DIR-825 Rev B2) for a relatively simple job: no routing at all -just be a reliable simultaneous dual band access point.

Unfortunately even that appeared to be too much to ask. The DIR-826 was okay to set up manually, although it would have been nice if among the 5 million features and click boxes it had a simple one called "access point" mode, which many other routers have. But fine, I did the set up job.

Once setup was fine I quickly found that router struggled to beat even the g router I had already in the house. At 2.4 Ghz it was not great, despite a variety of channel changes and placements. The 5Ghz was even weaker.

Worse yet the router began a really annoying behaviour of just dropping the internet signal from the main router entirely. At that point, i packed it back in the box after a week of annoyance and returned it to the seller.

A real waste, as the DIR-825 has a lot of good features and can be customized in many ways. But without basic performance and reliability, features are worth nothing. It's hard to believe that D-Link actually put this junk out there for sale - no respect for their own brand it seems!

 

wndr3700 is unparalled.

Overall rating: 
 
3.3
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by wndrfan
August 18, 2010
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I have both the dir-825 and wndr3700. I bought the dir-825 to have a dedicated router in my own room as the netgear was too far and realized only 2mbps throughput. the dir-825 could only do about 300 kbps in comparison. compared to wndr3700 the d-link is an ugly duck. simply looking at the boards make me feel like the netgear was built better. although I have had netgear routers that were exceptionally built but were plagued with all kinds of problems.

 
 
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