Testing travel routers creates a unique and challenging test scenario. Normally, the tests we run on wireless routers involve the use of a Wired LAN port as well as a DMZ feature. Those are used for testing both wireless performance as well as routing performance. Unfortunately, travel routers don't have LAN ports and many lack a DMZ feature, so we can't provide our normal IxChariot-based benchmarks.
To address these problems, we created a new Wireless Travel Router test process. It's worth a read, because the performance numbers in the charts won't directly correlate to conventional routers. In addition, to make it easier to cull out travel routers from the many other routers in our Router Charts, Ranker and Finder, we created a new filter category for Travel Routers.
Looking at the abbreviated benchmark summary, you can see that the performance was oddly similar for both bands. Since the router linked at 144 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz test (N300 in 20 MHz bandwidth mode) and 351 Mbps during the 5 GHz test (AC433), the 5 GHz results should have been higher. The logical explanation is that the 100 Mbps LAN connection is capping throughput.
D-Link DIR-510L Benchmark Summary
Compared to other travel routers, however, the DIR-510L's performance is about twice that of most N150 class travel routers.
D-Link DIR510L 2.4 GHz downlink throughput comparison
D-Link has broken new ground by introducing the first AC750 class travel router. And it sweetened the deal with a beefy 4000 mAh battery that can run the router and/or charge your mobile devices - all in a slim attractive package. For road warriors looking to lighten their technology load, combining a router with a backup power source makes a lot of sense.
But the big battery and AC radio add material cost, which helps explain why the DIR-510L is priced around $100, As you can see in the downlink throughput comparison above, this is more than four times the cost of some N150 class travel routers. And although the DIR-510L sports an attractive, simplified user interface, it lacks some of the features found in much less expensive competitors.
While I like many things about the DIR-510L, I'm going to reserve final judgment for now. Over the next several weeks, I'll be looking at other travel routers shown in the chart above. The look will include D-Link's DIR-506L, which does most everything the DIR-510L does (except higher throughput and 5 GHz support) for less than half the cost.