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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance - 2.4 GHz, Three Stream

Next, we'll look at the Performance Table for 2.4 GHz, 3 streams. The ASUS wins all four tests this time and is significantly better running uplink in both 20 and 40 MHz bandwidth modes. The standout for downlink performance is in the weakest signal Location F, turning in 20+ Mbps with both 2 and 3 stream clients.

The IxChariot plot summary for 20 MHz mode downlink in three-stream mode is below. Once again there is a lot of variation in Location F, which you can also see to a lesser extent in the 40 MHz mode downlink plot.

D-Link DIR-857 IxChariot plot summary - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream
D-Link DIR-857 IxChariot plot summary - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

Wireless Performance - 5 GHz, Two Stream

Moving up to 5 GHz, here is the Performance Table for 5 GHz, 2 streams. Although the ASUS takes three out of four comparisons, it doesn't miss taking the fourth by much. If you look at the individual location results, you'll see that the DIR-857's 20 MHz mode performance isn't really that much different from the Cisco and Buffalo in many cases. Put another way, it's not that the D-Link is so bad, it's more that the ASUS is that much better.

The IxChariot plot for 5 GHz, 20MHz mode downlink shows well-behaved throughput. You'll see this general pattern in the other plots linked below, except for high Location C variation running downlink in 40 MHz mode.

D-Link DIR-857 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 2 stream
D-Link DIR-857 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 2 stream

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

Wireless Performance - 5 GHz, Three Stream

Last, but not least is the Performance Table for 5 GHz, 3 streams. Although the D-Link doesn't get an overall win for any of the benchmarks, it manages to tie the Cisco in location A 20 MHz mode downlink and come up with almost 80 Mbps of throughput both up and downlink in 40 MHz bandwidth mode.

The humps and bumps you see in the IxChariot plot summary below for the location A run don't appear in the other benchmark plots linked below. But I got similar results when I repeated the test a few times.

D-Link DIR-857 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream
D-Link DIR-857 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

Closing Thoughts

Simply put, D-Link is way late to market with an "N900" router that really doesn't give folks looking to upgrade much of a reason to select it. The best argument for buying the DIR-857 is that it has high wired routing throughput. It is also one of the few routers you can buy that still uses Ubicom's automatic QoS technology that is a boon to folks trying to wring the most out their woefully low internet upload bandwidth.

If your heart is set on one of the "HD Media" D-Links, I think the two-stream ("N600") DIR-827 is the better buy and slightly better performer. Check out this Performance Table and see if you agree.

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