D-Link AC5300


PC & Tech Authority - - REVIEWS INTRO -

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

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