IT’S EYE-CATCHING AND THE PERFORMANCE IS GREAT – BUT THE PRICE MAKES THE AC5300 DIFFICULT TO RECOMMEND
The second router from D-Link this month is a very different proposition to the rst. Where the AC2600 is petite and unassuming, the AC5300 makes a very visible statement. It’s the bulkiest, most conspicuous router here, and it’s also the second most expensive.
Evidently, much of the money has gone on the design. There’s no snazzy 60GHz radio or 10GbE connectors, as found on the Netgear Nighthawk X10, to justify the price. Peer around the case and you’ll nd the exact same physical connections as on D-Link’s much cheaper EXO AC2600, including just four Gigabit Ethernet ports – which feels a bit mean when you’re paying this much.
The internals, thankfully, are a signi cant step up. A second 5GHz radio is included, and each one supports (in theory) a huge bandwidth of 2,167Mbits/sec – a claim only two other routers this month can match. Factor in the eight antennae and you have a recipe for excellent wireless performance: at close range, the AC5300 delivered the highest download speeds of any router we tested in this month’s roundup, and while speeds naturally dropped off as we moved further away, the AC5300 remained consistently towards the front of the pack.
On the software front, the AC5300’s web interface is all but identical to the AC2600’s, and to be honest this feels decidedly drab by comparison to the unit itself. It does, however, support a few features that the cheaper model lacks, including an access point mode and a media bridge function, which enables you to connect wired devices to a wireless network. There’s support for USB printing too, though it’s not perfectly straightforward – as with the Linksys EA9500, you have to install a third-party app on each system you want to print from.
With those additions, we’re certainly looking at a more rounded networking device than the AC2600, and its performance can’t be faulted. Even so, it’s very hard to recommend the AC5300 at $649 when the Linksys EA9500 offers a similar package for $200 less. Still, you can’t put a price on style: if you’re taken by the AC5300’s arresting looks then by all means splash out.
$649 • www.dlink.com.au