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Wireless Reviews

Features

The 850L has D-Link's standard router feature set, which we covered most recently in the DIR-868L review. D-Link hasn't posted an emulator for the 850L, but the DIR-657's emulator is pretty close. The feature summary below is copied from the 657 and 827 reviews.

Routing

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, DS-Lite WAN types
  • DHCP server with MAC address reservation, lease time setting and NetBIOS controls
  • Built-in dynamic DNS client for dlinkddns.com and dyndns.com free and custom services
  • Static routes
  • DMZ host
  • SPI firewall disable, UDP / TCP endpoint filtering, anti-spoof checking
  • WAN ping allow / deny
  • Multicast stream enable
  • IPv6 support (auto-detect, static, link-local, autoconfiguration (SLAAC/DHCPv6), PPPoE, IPv6 over IPv4 tunnel, 6to4, 6rd)
  • IPv6 static routes
  • IPv6 port forwarding
  • PPTP, IPsec, RTSP, SIP ALG disables
  • Schedulable single port, port range and triggered port forwarding. (Can set source and destination ports on single ports [virtual servers])
  • Allow / deny (global) MAC address filtering for network access
  • Outbound schedulable port filtering by IP or MAC address with selectable web access logging
  • 40 domain-based allow / deny (global) Web access filters
  • 8 inbound IP range allow / deny (global) filters
  • Remote admin access enable, IP access filtering, port setting and graphic authentication enable
  • UPnP support
  • WAN port speed set
  • HTTPs admin access enable
  • Syslog support
  • Email alerts and log send
  • Automatic uplink QoS with manual / automatic uplink speed detection and manual rule option

Sharing features

  • UPnP / DLNA Media server enable
  • iTunes server enable
  • SharePort Plus drive and printer sharing

The 850L also supports D-Link's mydlink cloud service that provides secure remote access to attached storage and some router management features. I took a quick peek to see if the service's very basic feature set had changed since our review last year and it hadn't...at least not for the web interface shown below. The only router settings you can access are wireless enables for each radio, SSIDs, security mode and password, email notifications and remote web access enable.

mydlink router status

mydlink router status

A check of the Google Play Store showed an assortment of apps, some for remote storage access and others for management. Looks like D-Link is still trying to get 99 cents for its "+" Android management app. Really, guys?

Wireless

Table 2 summarizes the basic wireless setting modes and channels supported. Note the access to channel 165 in the 5 GHz band, something not found in every dual-band router.

Setting 2.4 GHz 5 GHz
Channel Auto [default]
1 - 11
Auto [default]
36, 40, 44, 48
149, 153, 157, 161, 165
Channel Width 20 MHz only
20/40 MHz (Auto) [default]
20 MHz only
20/40 MHz
20/40/80 MHz (Auto) [default]
Network Mode 802.11b only
802.11g only
802.11n only
Mixed 802.11g and 802.11b
Mixed 802.11n and 802.11g
Mixed 802.11n, 802.11g and 802.11b [Default]
802.11n only
802.11ac only
Mixed 802.11a and 802.11n
Mixed 802.11ac and 802.11n
Mixed 802.11ac, 802.11n and 802.11a [default]
Security Modes None
WEP
WPA-Personal
WPA-Enterprise
WPA Auto (WPA or WPA2)
WPA2 only
WPA only
Table 2: Wireless settings summary

In addition to the manual wireless security settings, the router supports WPS PIN and pushbutton setup modes. You also can define schedules for turning each radio on and off for added security.

Updated 8/16/2012

After a discussion with D-Link, I discovered an error in my previous test and description of the 850L's implementation of the 20/40 MHz coexistence mechanism, so I'm correcting it.

The Advanced Wireless screen HT 20/40 Coexistence control shown below allows you to disable the mechanism that should prevent the router from using 40 MHz bandwidth mode in 2.4 GHz when there are in-range networks that the wider bandwidth would collide with. I'm not a fan of this control and have called out NETGEAR for a similar one. But since the router properly defaults to it enabled, this is kosher as far as the Wi-Fi Alliance is concerned and the product conforms to its Certification requirements in this regard.

DIR-850L Advanced Wireless settings

DIR-850L Advanced Wireless settings

However, I had mixed results when I ran our 40 MHz Coexistence and Fat channel intolerant tests. The Fat Channel intolerant bit tests passed with the router immediately switching to 20 MHz link rates when the bit was set and switching back when it was cleared. The 40 MHz coexistence test failed, however. The test client continued to indicate 40 MHz mode link rates even after 5 minutes when the 850L was set to both Channel 8, then Channel 9 with my house router set to Channel 11 and 20 MHz mode.

The WMM Enable boxes for both radios are also greyed-out, but are enabled. This is good, because WMM must be enabled to allow 802.11n and 802.11ac link rates to be supported (anything above 54 Mbps). You can also adjust transmit power on both bands with High (default), Medium and Low settings only. The 850L does not support wireless bridging or repeating or have an access point mode.

Storage

The 850L supports D-Link's Shareport Plus drive and printer sharing feature with the same feature set as the DIR-868L. The router admin GUI has separate links for Storage and Media Server and the Media Server screen has separate DLNA and iTunes server enables.

I ran Windows filecopy tests using the standard NAS testbed to the 850L with our USB standard drive (Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station (SATDOCKU3SEF) containing a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive) formatted in FAT32 and NTFS.

  DIR-850L TRENDnet
TEW-811DRU
NETGEAR R6100 TRENDnet
TEW-812DRU
Processor Realtek RTL8197D Broadcom BCM47081A0 Atheros AR9344 Broadcom BCM4706
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 6.1 8.9 7.8 5.0
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 9.7 10.8 10.5 6.4
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 5.3 3.6 9.9 2.2
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 7.2 9.4 10.5 5.5
Table 3: File copy throughput

The results are interesting because they compare storage performance using four different processors, one of which is dual-core (Broadcom BCM47081A0). From what I can see, none of these routers has a strong performance advantage in this department.

More Wireless

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