LIKE MANY 802.11AC routers, the DIR-880L has a sizeable footprint, and will take up the space of a large hardback book on your desk.
It operates simultaneously on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz networks, and by default each wireless network is assigned an easy-toidentify SSID. Default passwords for the two networks are on the bottom of the router, as is the address for the web interface and the username and password. You can configure two guest networks: one for each band.
The web interface has a clean design with tabs across the top that break down into generally logical sub-menus. The setup wizard is equally simple to use, and it also registers you for a Mydlink account that lets you remotely access and configure the router. You can also use the D-Link QRS Mobile app on iOS or Android to set up the router, so you don’t even need a computer to get started.
The router is equipped with a Gigabit WAN port and, as there’s no built-in modem, you’ll need to connect an external modem or an ADSL router for internet connectivity. There are also four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The top of the router has a row of status indicators for power, internet connectivity, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks and the two USB ports. Strangely, there are no LEDs for the LAN ports.
Only one of the two USB ports is USB3 and the router doesn’t support network printer sharing, so these are used purely for storage sharing. You’re able to configure the ports to share storage devices over either SMB or, if you want to set up a media server, DLNA. If you use your Mydlink account you can also access connected USB storage devices remotely, which is useful if you need access to files or media while away from home; bear in mind that performance is dependent on your home connection’s upload speeds, which will be far slower than your downloads.
The router has a theoretical throughput of 600Mbit/s on 802.11n and 1,300Mbit/s on 802.11ac. We tested Wi-Fi performance using our laptop’s integrated wireless chipset and saw 48Mbit/s at 10m and 23.6Mbit/s at 25m in our 2.4GHz test, which is above average. Performance improved significantly on the 5GHz band, with 142.5Mbit/s at 10m and a particularly good 91.4Mbit/s at 25m.
Performance improved even further when we changed to D-Link’s DWA-182 802.11ac USB3 adaptor (£38 inc VAT from www. ballicom.co.uk). In 802.11n mode on the 5GHz band, we saw a scorching 233Mbit/s at 10m and 181.8Mbit/s at 25m; the 25m score is one of the fastest we’ve seen. In 802.11ac mode, the router managed a throughput of 210Mbit/s at 25m, which is also up there with the best. The D-Link DIR-880L is a very fast router and its web interface is simple to use. Having two USB ports is also a real boon for sharing storage, but it’s a shame you can’t also share a printer over your network. However, we prefer D-Link’s DIR-868L, as it’s far more attractive and, more importantly, has superior 5GHz wireless performance for £3 less.