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Wireless Performance - more

We're starting to have more benchmarked AC1200 class routers for comparison. I decided to select several of the products that we've already reviewed. For our charts, we'll be comparing the DIR-860L with its sibling, the DIR-850L and the TRENDnet TEW-811DRU. Of course, you can select up to four routers to make your own comparisons.

For the 2.4 GHz downlink test, you can see that the DIR-860L still maintained 20 Mbps of thorughput after the other two products lost their connection at 51 dB of attenuation. However, as we have sometimes seen with other products, the 860L had unexpectedly low throughput performance scores at low levels of attenuation. These poor scores undoubtedly helped pull down the 860L's overall throughput ranking in the Router Ranking chart shown at the end of the review.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink test yielded similar results with both D-Link routers still maintaining a connection after the TRENDnet router had lost a connection. Both D-Links tracked together throughput most of the tested attenuation range, diverging only after 45 dB. These results would indicate that the 860L should have better 2.4 GHz range than the 850L.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 5 GHz downlink throughput test tells a completely different story. The TRENDnet TEW 811DRU handily beat both the 860L and the 850L. At low attenuation, the TRENDnet router was more than 50 Mbps faster than either of the D-Link routers. When the 850L dropped its connection at 42 dB, the TRENDnet was still had 55 Mbps of throughput as compared to the 860L's 3Mbps.

Both D-Link routers had lost their connections at 45 dB of attenuation, but the TRENDnet was still able to achieve 40 Mbps. For the most part, the 860L's performance line was between the lower performing 850L and the TEW-811DRU.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 860L partially redeemed itself in the 5 GHz uplink throughput tests. At low attenuation levels, it bested both the TRENDnet and its sibling 850L by significant amounts. Again, throughout the attenuation range, the 850L came in third. At higher levels of attenuation, the TRENDnet router again outperformed both the D-Link routers. While D-Link routers had lost their connections at 45 dB of attenuation, the TRENDnet was still achievning 37 Mbps of uplink throughput.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Closing Thoughts

If you run the Router Ranker for AC1200 class products, you'll see that for overall "Total Router" scores, the D-Link DIR-860L has grabbed the #1 spot. It also grabbed #1 rank for Routing Throughput. But if you look a Wireless Throughput, it ranks # 3, trailing behind the 850L and the EnGenius ESR1200 (yet to be reviewed). For the Wireless Range, the 860L ranked #2 behind the NETGEAR R6100.

D-Link DIR-860L Router Ranking Summary

D-Link DIR-860L Router Ranking Summary

As Tim noted in the DIR-850L review, the AC1200 market is still developing. Undoubtedly, we'll see some newcomers that may shake up the router rankings. Even though the DIR-860L holds top three rankings across the Router Ranker categories, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Since D-Link decided to offer two virtually identical AC1200 class routers, we just had to see what you would get for the extra $20 or so. It turns out that you actually get a better performing router. Imagine that!

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