AC1900 class routers utilize a Broadcom chip, and are capable of 802.11ac in both 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies. In contrast, AC1750 class routers utilize an 802.11ac device for the 5GHz radio and a 802.11n device for 2.4GHz to save a little cost.
The D-Link DIR-880L is the company's AC1900 entry. Like other routers in its class, the DIR-880L is said to be capable of only 600Mbps in the 2.4GHz bands and 1,300Mbps in 5GHz bands, but it differentiates itself in terms of design and interface.
The router comes with four Gigabit LAN ports to connect to PCs and other devices, and one Gigabit WAN port to connect to an Internet source like a modem or a router. There's also the power port, a recessed reset button, an on/ off button, and a USB 2.0 port at the back. The router has another USB 3.0 port placed on its left side. We wondered why D-Link doesn't just include two USB 3.0 ports, and we speculated that it is done to keep the cost down.
It's not a deal breaker, but by putting the USB 2.0 at the back and the USB 3.0 port at the side of the router, D-Link is saying that the former should be used to connect to permanent or semi-permanent network resources and peripherals (such as a printer), while the latter should be used for temporary resources like a USB drive.
D-Link is also one of the few router makers to offer a cloud platform to access and control the router remotely. This can be done both via a web browser, or the Android and iOS apps. On top of that, D-Link's user interface is sleek with Smart Wizard, and a whole new look and feel that is both fresh and intuitive.
When it comes to performance, the DIR-880L is above average. On the 5GHz band, it sustained speed of approximately 520Mbps at five meters. We increased that to 10 meters, and the speed was almost less than half at 213Mbps. Note that the drop in speed is normal for a 5GHz band.
Not surprisingly, at 2.4GHz, the DIR-880L achieved a speedy 186Mbps transmission from as far as five to 10 meters, and only dropped to 143Mbps at 15m and behind a wall. It looks like D-Link sacrificed a little bit of form for a lot of performance with this router.