With so many home devices getting smart upgrades that make them easier to manage, it’s probably time that your router gets a makeover, too. The new D-Link router options look like the awaited solution, combining some handy new router features and impressive speeds with abilities like cloud access, remote management, and “SmartBeam” technology.
New D-Link Router: AC5300 — Maximum Speed
This is the flagship model of the new router lineup, a massive router product with a frankly intimidating look to it. Count the antennae and you will find a total of eight, two primary antennae in the back and six more up front, each capable of being swiveling back and forth in certain directions.
The purpose of all these antennae lined along the edges of the AC5300 is to improve reception. In theory, every antenna can help broadcast and receive the Wi-Fi signal you use, which can help create a clearer signal over a wider area. They may also help overcome various Wi-Fi problems like thick walls or a difficult setup when you have to place your router in an awkward place with poor reception.
However, inside the AC5300 is hardware that will probably make more of a difference than all those antennae on the outside. D-Link has equipped this model with a 1.4GHZ Dual Core processor, enough processing power for the fastest, most demanding network needs. D-Link claims that this model can offer tri-band wireless connections up to 5330Mpbs – or 1000Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 2165 on two of the faster 5GHz bands.
Clearly, this new D-Link router is made for some serious wireless activity, with a lot of different devices functioning at the same time over a broad area. This may sound particularly suitable for an office, and it is, but there are other features that a busy home environment could appreciate too. These routers have what D-Link calls smart connect technology, allowing for swift initiation and connection of all sorts of mobile devices, even older models. More home automation features are found in the remote access and management functions of this smart router, which allow you to view your wireless network directly via your phone or tablet wherever you are.
One of the most interesting features of this giant router is also a function that the other two versions include: The AC SmartBeam that can direct “individual beams of bandwidth” to specific locations. While these routers have not been officially released and are lacking in professional reviews, if this feature is all it’s claimed to be, it could be a great boon if you are looking for a wireless solution for that one room or patio that just can’t get a good connection with general broadcasts from traditional routers.
AC3200: The Middle Road Option
The first thing you’ll notice about this new D-Link router (aside from the alternative color scheme) is its lack of antenna options compared to the AC5300. It only offers six, compared to eight. However, the tri-band speeds remain the same, and features like SmartConnect and AC SmartBeam tech are still included. D-Link also highlights the cloud storage options with this model, which allows you to use a feature called SharePort, which allows you to plug in hard drives and flash drives via USB port and access your media information wirelessly or from distant desktop computers.
AC3100: More Limited Wi-Fi for Simpler Needs
This new D-Link router only has four antennae to help you broadcast Wi-Fi signals, but this may be just right for your home or apartment, especially since many of the best features of the other models remain intact. SmartConnect is still there, that SmartBeam option still allows you to target bandwidth to specific areas, and inside is that impressive 1.4 GHz Dual Core Processor. This model, like the others, also allows you to remotely check up on your data and change your security from your phone if necessary.
Here is the tricky part: If these routers sound interesting to you, keep an eye on those D-Link links, because the products are due out sometimes in Spring 2015. D-Link is not giving out pricing information yet, but those numbers are certainly on their way. It’s safe to assume that fewer antennae equal a lower price, which is a notable deal because so many of the smart features remain in place for all models.
Photo Credit: Arkadiusz Sikorski