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Router Charts

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Mesh Charts

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Features

Like most D-Link routers, the DIR-860L shares a core set of standard features. Most of those features have been covered in previous reviews such as the DIR-868L. You can check the DIR-850L review for a bullet list of features.

Unfortunately, D-Link no longer provides UI emulators for every product, but the features in the products are close enough that you can get a good idea of the feature set by using the DIR-657 emulator. Some of the features that I particularly like on D-Link routers are:

  • DHCP Reservation - it's easy to set up reservation as the router provides a list of current host names and MAC addresses that you can just click to populate a DHCP reservation entry.
  • Excellent port forwarding, port range forwarding and triggered port forwarding. The virtual servers list is populated with a number of standard services and ports that you might want to forward.
  • Good QOS control - You can control QOS for ports, ranges of ports and set priority for a range of LAN IP addresses. This is very useful if you are setting up a cloud-based PBX VoiP phone system in a small office. Note QoS affects router uplink bandwidth only.

Storage

The 860L, like 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.

Tim ran Windows filecopy tests using the standard NAS test bed to the 860L with SmallNetBuilder's 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.

  D-Link DIR-860L D-Link DIR-850L TRENDnet
TEW-811DRU
NETGEAR R6100 TRENDnet
TEW-812DRU
Processor Broadcom BCM47081A0 Realtek RTL8197D Broadcom BCM47081A0 Atheros AR9344 Broadcom BCM4706
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 16.4 6.1 8.9 7.8 5.0
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 27.9 9.7 10.8 10.5 6.4
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 18.8 5.3 3.6 9.9 2.2
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 28.8 7.2 9.4 10.5 5.5
Table 3: File copy throughput

The results in Table 3 above are quite interesting because the file copy throughput for the 860L clearly outstrips the competition in every test category. It's especially interesting to compare the 860L with the TRENDnet TEW-812DRU that uses the same Broadcom SoC.

Routing Performance

Routing throughput was measured running 1.03 firmware, using our router test process. Table 4 summarizes the results.

Test Description DIR-860L
WAN - LAN 770
LAN - WAN 901
Total Simultaneous 1044
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 32,049
Firmware Version 1.0.3
Table 4: Routing throughput (Mbps)

The IxChariot composite plot below shows relatively steady and essentially Gigabit wire-speed throughput in the LAN- WAN test. The WAN - LAN test also showed similar variances, but averaged only 769Mbps.

D-Link DIR-860L routing throughput unidirectional summary

D-Link DIR-860L routing throughput unidirectional summary

The simultaneous up/downlink benchmark plot below shows some serious problems in balancing traffic loads in heavy use. The LAN - WAN varied from 947.4 to 192.6 Mbps, and the WAN-LAN performance ranged from 446.8 to 91.8 Mbps. Both of those are huge ranges but probably won't noticeably impact performance for most asymmetrical internet connections.

D-Link DIR-860L routing throughput bidirectional summary

D-Link DIR-860L routing throughput bidirectional summary

Wireless Performance

The DIR-860L 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.

We successfully ran a pushbutton Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) session with a Win 7 client connecting to the 2.4 GHz radio. The WPS session completed quickly and resulted in a WPA2/AES secured connection with the same WPA2 pre-shared key set for both radios. When we tried connecting to the 5 GHz radio, we did not see a WPS session prompt.

All tests were run using our new wireless test process and version 1.03 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 was positioned 8" from the chamber antennas in all test positions. The 0° position had the router front facing the chamber antennas. The benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations.

D-Link DIR-860L Benchmark Summary

D-Link DIR-860L Benchmark Summary

The 49 Mbps 2.4 GHz downlink average was essentially the same as the DIR-850L's at 50 Mbps. The best AC1200 router for this benchmark was the NETGEAR R6100, which averaged 63 Mbps. 2.4 GHz uplink results again had the DIR-860L and 850L averaging about the same at 48 Mbps and the R6100 again producing the best-in-class average at 67 Mbps.

Switching over to 5 GHz, the 860L and 850L diverged with average downlink throughput of 95 and 76 Mbps, respectively. Best in class for this benchmark was TRENDnet's TEW-811DRU with 134 Mbps. 5 GHz uplink had the 860L averaging 98 Mbps, the 850L at 70 Mbps and the best in class this time being the tested, but not-yet-reviewed, Edimax BR-6478AC at 121 Mbps.

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