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Wireless Reviews

AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router
At a glance
ProductD-Link AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-895L/R)   [Website]
SummaryAC5300 class tri-radio router with Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 3.0 storage and printer sharing.
Pros• Upgradeable antennas
• Similar wireless performance to other AC5300 products
Cons• MU-MIMO barely works
• Wireless bridging not supported

Introduction

D-Link's DIR-895L/R AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router is the fourth AC5300 / 5400 class tri-radio router to make its way to the SmallNetBuilder lab. Like the NETGEAR's R8500 Nighthawk X8 [reviewed] and ASUS' RT-AC5300 [reviewed], Linksys EA9500 [reviewed] and TP-Link Archer C5400 [not reviewed], the D-Link is based on Broadcom's 4x4 MU-MIMO chipset.

This same chipset powers AC3100 aka AC3150 routers; the difference is AC5300 routers have two 5 GHz radios. Manufacturers use both AC5300 and AC5400 to designate this router class to keep us confused. They're both the same; we use AC5300.

The DIR-895L/R doesn't bring anything new to the party; we've seen this design many times already. So I'm going to move pretty quickly through the review.

The front panel callout diagram below describes the front panel lights. Note there are no LAN Ethernet lights either here or on the rear panel ports.

DIR-895L/R front panel callouts

DIR-895L/R front panel callouts

The rear panel has one each USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. Port aggregation is not supported on any ports.. There are WPS, recessed reset, power and Router / Extender mode switches here, but no Wi-Fi on/off.

DIR-895L/R rear panel callouts

DIR-895L/R rear panel callouts

The router is pretty hefty, but has screw mounting slots on the bottom anyway for wall-mounting that will orient ports toward your ceiling. Ventilation slots on the bottom and rear panel triangle are plentiful.

Inside

FCC photos were released and had clear detail photos that made component identification easy. But the overview photos were pretty fuzzy. The first one below is with the top removed. You can see the right-side antennas (photo right) are connected to the 2.4 and 5 GHz high-band "Secondary" radio (channels 149 - 165) ; the left-side four are dedicated to the 5 GHz low-band "Primary" radio (Channels 36 - 44).

DIR-895L/R inside

DIR-895L/R inside

Stripping off all the RF can tops shows the CPU / RAM section at top left, 5 GHz high-band and 2.4 GHz radios at bottom center and 5 GHz low band radio at upper right. The device to the left of the 5 GHz low band radio is the Asmedia ASM1182e 1x2 1 lane PCIe switch needed to expand the number of PCIe ports to handle the third radio. The white objects in each 5 GHz radio are filters to keep the radios from overloading each other.

DIR-895L/R inside

DIR-895L/R board

The basic layout is very similar to D-Link's DIR-890L/R tri-radio AC3200 class router shown below.

DIR-890L/R board

DIR-890L/R board

Here a shot of the 895L/R board bottom, showing the heatsink plate. Those rather large things are capacitors.

 DIR-895L/R board bottom w/ heatsink

DIR-895L/R board bottom w/ heatsink

Here's the same view stripped down to the board. The only active components on this side are the two flash memories.

 DIR-895L/R board bottom w/o heatsink

DIR-895L/R board bottom w/o heatsink

Table 1 summarizes the key components for the DIR-895L/R and Linksys, NETGEAR and ASUS AC5300 routers. The processor and radio components are all the same. The main ifferences are the Linksys and D-Link have 256 MB of RAM and the D-Link uses a different 5 GHz power amplifier than the other three products.

  D-Link DIR-895L/R Linksys EA9500 NETGEAR R8500 ASUS RT-AC5300
CPU Broadcom BCM4709C0KFEBG dual-core @ 1.4 GHz Broadcom BCM4709C0KFEBG dual-core @ 1.4 GHz Broadcom BCM4709C0KFEBG dual-core @ 1.4 GHz Broadcom BCM4709C0KFEBG dual-core @ 1.4 GHz
Switch in BCM4709C0KFEBG in BCM4709C0KFEBG & BCM53125 in BCM4709C0KFEBG & BCM53125 Realtek RTL8365MB or in BCM4709C0KFEBG
RAM 256 MB 256 MB 512 MB 512 MB
Flash 128 MB + 32 MB 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz power amp (x4) [guess. FCC ID doc not clear]
- BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz power amp (x4)
- BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz power amp (x4)
- BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz power amp (x4)
5 GHz radio - BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- Skyworks SKY85405 5 GHz power amp (x4)
NOTE: There are two 5 GHz radios.
- BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- RFMD RFPA5542 5 GHz PA module (x4)
NOTE: There are two 5 GHz radios.
- BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- RFMD RFPA5542 5 GHz PA module (x4)
NOTE: There are two 5 GHz radios.
- BCM4366 4x4 2.4/5G single chip 802.11ac SoC
- RFMD RFPA5542 5 GHz PA module (x4)
NOTE: There are two 5 GHz radios.
PCIe Asmedia ASM1182e 1x2 1 lane PCIe switch PLX Technology PEX8603 3-lane, 3-port PCIe switch PLX Technology PEX8603 3-lane, 3-port PCIe switch ASMedia ASM1182e
Table 1: Component summary and comparison

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