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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

The DGL-5500 is Wi-Fi Certified for 802.11a/b/g/n (not ac) and defaulted to Auto 20/40 Channel Width on the 2.4 GHz radio and Auto 20/40/80 MHz bandwidth mode for the 5 GHz radio upon power-up. The router comes with different 2.4 and 5 GHz SSIDs set, so you'll be able to connect to your desired band without having to change router settings.

I successfully ran a pushbutton Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) session with a Win 7 client. The WPS session completed quickly and resulted in a WPA2/AES secured connection with the same WPA2 pre-shared key set for both radios. Note that I was prompted for WPS only when connecting to the 2.4 GHz radio. So I guess that WPS enable checkbox under the 2.4 GHz radio settings only is intentional.

I was all set to run 40 MHz Coexistence and Fat channel intolerant tests but was only able to get the Intel Centrino 6300 client to show link rates of 40 or 60 Mbps with my house network on Channel 11, the router using Channels 1 and 5 and the wireless client parked right next to the router. Even switching the router back to 20 MHz only mode showed an 11 Mbps link rate.

I had no problem linking at 20 MHz rates during testing using the ASUS PCE-AC66 client. And inSSIDer also showed proper advertised maximum link rates of 216 Mbps and 450 Mbps in 20 Mbps and 20/40 Mbps Auto mode, respectively with the Intel 6300 client.

Awhile back, QCA had told me about some special sauce they have that adjusts bandwidth mode (and link rate) on a frame-by-frame basis, so perhaps this is what I'm seeing. But if the result is showing the user low link rates, I'm sure folks aren't going to be happy, since link rate is what most people judge their wireless performance by. I'm sure we'll come back to this in the retest article.

All tests were run using our wireless test process and 1.01 version firmware loaded. The router was first reset to factory defaults and Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 for 5 GHz. 20 MHz bandwidth mode was set for 2.4 GHz and 80 MHz mode (to enable draft 802.11ac link rates) was set for 5 GHz. The test client was connected using WPA2/AES encryption.

The router were positioned 8" from the chamber antennas in all test positions. The 0° position had the router front facing the chamber antennas.

The retest Benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations.

D-Link DGL-5500 Benchmark Summary

D-Link DGL-5500 Benchmark Summary

Since the 5500 is the only AC1300 router we have tested, I'll have to compare it to AC1750 class routers, which also have 3x3 2.4 GHz radios, i.e. 216 Mbps maximum 20 MHz mode link rates. The 5500's 70 Mbps of average downlink throughput ranks it toward the bottom of those products, whose downlink averages range from a high of 91 Mbps for the Buffalo WZR-1750DHP to a low of 58 Mbps for the TRENDnet TEW-812DRU. The 5500's 89 Mbps average uplink does much better putting it in the #3 spot behind the ASUS RT-AC66U with 95 Mbps and TP-LINK Archer C7 with 93 Mbps.

For 5 GHz, the 5500's 133 Mbps average downlink essentially ties the 134 Mbps of TRENDnet's TEW-811DRU. And the 5500's 121 Mbps uplink average beats the next-best EnGenius ESR1200 at 103 Mbps by a comfortable margin.

For the 2.4 GHz profiles, I again used AC1750 class products, choosing the #1 ranked Broadcom-based D-Link DIR-868L and tied-for-#2 ranked TP-LINK Archer C7, which uses the same QCA9558 SoC as the DGL-5500.

The 2.4 GHz downlink profile shows a throughput dip at low attenuations that we've seen with other products. Once the 5500's throughput recovers, it tracks between the other two products as throughput starts to fall off. At 45 dB of attenuation and above, throughput tracks closer to the DIR-868L. But at the important 60 dB point used for 2.4 GHz range ranking, the 5500 manages only 2 Mbps of throughput, for a weak win over the DIR-868L at 1 Mbps.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot shows no dip in the early going, but instead one in the 30 dB attenuation range. After throughput bounces back, all three products track pretty closely down to the bottom. Of the three, only the DGL-5500 is still connected at 60 dB, although with only 2 Mbps of throughput for the one minute test run.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

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