D-Link DIR-868L review: extremely fast router

Flagship 802.11ac router



We tested both wireless and wired transfer rates of the router. We used the IxChariot tool by Ixia, the industry standard for measuring transfer rates in a network. We installed a so-called endpoint on all the systems on our test network. The software uses a test script to measure the number of megabits per second that are sent from one endpoint to another.

We measured the wired speed from WAN to LAN and from LAN to LAN. This entails that packets are sent from a system via the WAN port on the router and transferred through a LAN port to another system. With LAN to LAN both systems are connected to two LAN ports.

The wireless speed is measured in both directions, from LAN to WLAN and from WLAN to LAN. Here we used a system that is connected to a LAN port on the router that is being tested. To connect wirelessly with the router we used a BTO laptop with an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 WLAN chip and three antenna connections.

D-Link DIR-868L

We do a 10 metre line-of-sight test, and one from 3 metres to simulate real-life scenarios. We also connect three BTO laptops (all with Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 chips) to the router. This gives an impression of how the router fares when it is in heavy use, and what the bandwidth is for the different laptops. We test the wireless speeds at three different time intervals, removing the chance that sudden environmental factors influenced the router’s test results. We then take the average of those three results.

With 802.11ac routers it's also important to measure how fast a router is on the new standard. We no longer use an 802.11ac router in bridge mode, because the arrival of the Intel Wireless-AC 7260 chip makes it possible to test this with laptops. To this end we use three BTO laptops. As this chip has two antenna connectors, it can't take advantage of the three antennas of the current models. This is the only separately-available 802.11ac-chip as far as we know.

Keep in mind that 802.11ac hasn't been officiatlly ratified yet, so it's technically not a standard at this point in time. That also means there can compatibility issues.

Product discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

D-Link DIR-868L

Wireless, 802.11ac, 450 Mbit/s, 1300 Mbit/s

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Avg. £125.42
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