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Wireless Reviews

Gaming Router AC1300 with StreamBoost Technology
At a glance
ProductD-Link Gaming Router AC1300 with StreamBoost Technology (DGL-5500)   [Website]
SummaryQCA-based AC1300 class router with Qualcomm Streamboost automatic traffic shaping.
Pros• Nothing in particular
Cons• USB 2.0
• Slow storage writes
• Lacks many wireless features including bridging / repeating

Typical Price: $130  Buy From Amazon

Overview

It has taken longer than I intended to get this review of the first router equipped with Qualcomm's StreamBoost automatic traffic shaping technology posted. I actually finished the wireless tests shortly after receiving the product around the end of July. But some oddities with wireless performance, which I'll get to later, caused it to slip to the back burner in hopes that D-Link and Qualcomm Atheros (QCA) would issue new firmware, so that I only have to do this review once. But with no new firmware in sight, I'm pressing on with the review.

Even though D-Link is positioning it as a "Gaming" router, (hence, the DGL- prefix vs. the DIR- used on its other wireless routers) the DGL-5500 is packaged in the same cylindrical package used on all its new routers except the DIR-810L AC750 class box.

This means the front of the 5500 has only power and "Internet" indicators, which use color and blinking to indicate power, boot, WPS and internet connection status. There are no indicators to show Ethernet or wireless activity / status.

DGL-5500 ports and buttons

DGL-5500 ports and buttons

All the 5500's Ethernet ports are Gigabit. But the single USB port that supports storage sharing is 2.0 not 3.0.

Inside

Digging into the 5500's FCC ID photos confirms its QCA-based design. The photos aren't clear enough to positively identify all its components. But it's safe to assume that D-Link has stuck with QCA's 11ac "reference platform, which consists of the QCA9558 dual-band, 3-stream 802.11n SoC, QCA9880 3-stream 802.11ac radio solution, and AR8327 Gigabit Ethernet switch.

The photo below shows the 5 GHz radio that's in the form of an oversized PCI-e card.

D-Link DGL-5500  inside

D-Link DGL-5500 inside

There are more fuzzy photos of design details in the gallery below.

The table below compares the DGL-5500's component breakdown with TP-Link's Archer C7, which is very similar in design. While the Archer C7 is a full AC1750 class router, D-Link opted to go for a mixed three-stream / two-stream AC1300 design. I never really understood the allure of this mix in N750 class products and I remain puzzled in its use in AC products. But I suppose if I saw a chance to differentiate products to squeeze out a bit more profit, I'd take it too.

D-Link DGL-5500 TP-Link Archer C7
CPU QCA9558 dual-band, 3-stream 802.11n SoC QCA9558 dual-band, 3-stream 802.11n SoC
Switch Atheros AR8327 Atheros AR8327
RAM 128 MB Nanya NT5TU32M16DG-AC (x2) 128 MB Winbond W9751G6JB DDR2 (x2)
Flash 8 MB ? 8 MB Winbond W25Q64FV
2.4 GHz Radio In QCA9558
- Unidentified 2.4 GHz power amp (x3)
In QCA9558
- Unidentified 2.4 GHz power amp (x3)
5 GHz radio - QCA9880 3x3 802.11ac radio
- Unidentified 5 GHz power amp (x2)
- QCA9880 3x3 802.11ac radio
- SiGE 5005L 5 GHz power amp (x3)
Table 1: D-Link DGL-5500 / TP-Link Archer C7 key components

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