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Wireless Performance - more

For 5 GHz, I compared AC1200 class products, which support 867 Mbps maximum 11ac link rates. I chose the #1 ranked TRENDnet TEW-811DRU and #2 ranked D-Link DIR-850L.

The 5 GHz downlink plot shows both the DGL-5500 and TRENDnet TEW-811DRU clearly out-performing the DIR-850L throughout the test range. The TRENDnet is still going relatively strong for the maximum 45 dB attenuation test, while the DGL-5500 wasn't able to maintain a connection.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 5 GHz uplink plot shows the DGL-5500 tracking above the other two products throughout its run. Except, once again, it disconnected for the last 45 dB test run.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

I called out the DIR-868L for its large variation in performance among the four test runs with the router rotated 90° each time. Well, the DGL-5500 is even worse in this regard. The 2.4 GHz downlink composite plot shows that the throughput dip with attenuations in the 9 to 15 dB range occured in three out of four runs, so it is not a fluke. (The bold line indicates the values entered into the Charts database.)

Four test runs - 2.4 GHz downlink - D-Link DGL-5500

Four test runs - 2.4 GHz downlink - D-Link DGL-5500

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot shows that the dip in the 30 dB attenuation range also occurs in more than one run.

Four test runs - 2.4 GHz uplink - D-Link DGL-5500

Four test runs - 2.4 GHz uplink - D-Link DGL-5500

5 GHz downlink runs don't show any dips. But the 90° run ended quite early with an obvious disconnect.

Four test runs - 5 GHz downlink - D-Link DGL-5500

Four test runs - 5 GHz downlink - D-Link DGL-5500

5 GHz uplink again showed the best performance was obtained with the front of the router facing the test chamber antennas.

Four test runs - 2.4 GHz uplink - D-Link DGL-5500

Four test runs - 2.4 GHz uplink - D-Link DGL-5500

The conclusion is that D-Link's unusual antenna arrangement is perhaps more directional than the cylindrical format might suggest—at least when the router and client are very close together.

Closing Thoughts

The DGL-5500 is the only AC1300 class router we have tested, so its #1 ranking is irrelevant. Comparing its 2.4 GHz N450 side to AC1750 class routers shows it fares relatively poorly on downlink, but much better running uplink. Comparing its 5 GHz AC867 class performance to AC1200 class routers shows that the 5500 is much more competitive and can hold its own nicely against them.

D-Link DGL-5500 Router Ranking Summary

D-Link DGL-5500 Router Ranking Summary

D-Link perhaps made a wise choice marketing the DGL-5500 as a "gaming" router, since that crowd will do most anything to gain any performance edge they can. They are probably the only group that will pay $200 for a router with fewer features, lower maximum wireless link rates and lacking the ability to be used in pairs as a bridge.

In the end, D-Link is counting on StreamBoost to carry the day for what would otherwise be a draft 11ac router priced closer to the $100 that many AC1200 class routers now ask. So I'll be sure to give StreamBoost a good workout and report back soon.

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