|At a glance|
|Product||D-Link HD Media Router 2000 (DIR-827) [Website]|
|Summary||Ubicom based simultaneous dual band router with IPv6 support and USB port and SD card slot for sharing.|
|Pros||• Good routing feature set|
• IPv6 support
• USB 3.0 port for drive and printer sharing
|Cons||• Only two status lights / indicators|
• Borderline unusable throughput with low signal levels
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Well, CES is once again almost upon us. So that means the D-Link is getting close to shipping some of the products it announced at this past January's CES. Three "HD Media" routers were announced and we've already seen the single-band DIR-657. The DIR-827 HD Media Router 2000 we're looking at today is number two out of the birth canal. I'm not holding my breath on the simultaneous dual-band three-stream member of the family, the DIR-857, however. My guess is that it will be reintroduced in January...
On the outside, the DIR-827 looks a lot like the DIR-657. The main difference besides the name is a shiny finish and a bump in the top cover to add a rear-facing air scoop. You'll see a few other thermal management design features in a bit when we look inside. So D-Link is either taking a conservative approach to heat removal or was forced into it due to the components used.
The indicators, controls and ports shown below are virtually identical to those on the DIR-657. The main difference is that the USB port is 3.0 vs. 2.0 on the 657. All Ethernet ports on both products are Gigabit.
The FCC ID docs were not helpful at all, since the registration is only for the radio module. So after I completed testing, I opened 'er up for a look. The shot below shows a generous use of heatsinking and the simultaneous dual-band radio module that connects via PCIe bus. There are only two antennas, so that would make them both dual-band. Note that the board has room for two more antennas, which were probably designed out to reduce manufacturing cost.
Since I don't have X-ray vision, I had to do more disassembly to see what makes the 827 tick. So after removing the radio module and top heatsink, I finally got to the good stuff. The photo below shows a Ubicom IP8000 CPU, which is more powerful than the 657's Ubicom IP7160U.
DIR-827 board detail
To spare you more of my flowery prose, the table below compares the key components for the two siblings.
|CPU||Ubicom IP8000AU||Ubicom IP7160U|
|Switch||Atheros AR8327N||Atheros AR8316|
|RAM||256 MB||128 MB|
|Flash||16 MB||32 MB|
|2.4 GHz Radio||Atheros AR9382||Atheros AR9227|
|5 GHz Radio||Atheros AR9382||N/A|
Table 1:Component comparison
I had to pop off the RF can tops and pry off the ceramic heatsink to identify the components shown in the photo below. Atheros AR9382 dual-band 2T2R SoCs are used for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz radios. The big device is a Pericom PI7C9X20303SL 3-port, 3-lane PCIe Packet Switch that connects the two radios to the Ubicom's PCIe bus. Note the unloaded components for a third antenna.
DIR-827 radio module
Removing the board reveals one more layer of heatsink coupled to the bottom of the board via the thermal pad shown.