Aside from struggling Internet speeds at peak times of the day, there’s another common problem with the Internet which not many people are familiar with: clogged Wi-Fi networks. The issue here is that only so much data can pass through at once, so when you’re playing games online, while someone is streaming TV in another room, while someone else is messaging over WhatsApp and browsing the web, all of this data ends up getting bottle-necked.
This problem usually stems from the often under performing router that our Internet Service Providers supply us with. Fortunately there’s a solution to this problem and one of those solutions is D-Link’s monstrous DIR-895L AC5300 MU-MIMO Ultra Wi-Fi Router, or DIR-895 for short.
This router hopes to solve the common problems of Wi-Fi clog by allowing more connections to pass through at once meaning everyone gets a fair share of the Internet pie, it also aims to improve data transfer for those heavier tasks such as 4K video streaming and data transfer.
Out of the box you’ll find yourself the DIR-895L base unit, a brightly coloured clam-shell-like box with various little holes along its edges. These holes are for you to screw the device’s nine antenna into, resulting in what could only be considered an oversized Tiki-mask, or some sort of robotic spider-like thing from outer space. Design-wise it definitely makes a mark, and is certainly aimed at a more tech-friendly household, however it’s not the sort of thing you’ll find sitting on the sideboard of your nan’s house.
Setting up the DIR-895L was fairly simple. It was completely plug-and-play and within seconds I was able to connect to the router. While I don’t have the most ideal set up (we have a piss-poor VDSL modem, I was actually able to get it all connected within five minutes. An additional five minutes allowed me to completely disable my old router’s Wi-Fi network so our home relied solely on the DIR-895L.
What’s more, connecting to the router itself is done through a web interface which is responsive to whatever device you’re connecting on. Whether it’s desktop or mobile, you’ll find an interface which is suited to whichever device you connect. There’s also a distinct lack of complex menus, which is also ideal. This allows users who might not be so tech-savvy to get connected in an instant and customise their network name and password without entering fiddly settings.
While I didn’t notice any considerable improvements of the overall speed, when we really hammered the router, the only thing which struggled was the Internet connection itself, which was completely out of our control. However playing online, streaming, and data transfers never seemed to struggle in terms of the Wi-Fi connection itself, plus with the 8 antenna, we were able to get Wi-Fi signal from almost anywhere in our home. This is, in part thanks to the Multi User MIMO (MU-MIMO) tech which allows multiple users to connect to the device and get fantastic speeds by distributing this data evenly.
So what exactly are you getting with the DIR-895L? This router delivers tri-band Wi-Fi AC technology that offers combine speeds of upto 5332Mbps thanks to its 4×4 data streams (1,000Mbps on 2.4GHz + 2,167Mbps on 5Ghz + 2,167Mbps on 5Ghz). What’s more, the device intelligently connects devices to the three best and clearest bands offering an improved connection.
Living in a cul-de-sac we’re surrounded by many routers all of which are sitting on the same default channels. Fortunately, the DIR-895L helps combat this busy traffic by not only selecting clearer channels, but also offering a 5GHz connection too, which offers a clearer and much faster connection than traditional 2.4GHz.
From our various, yet simplistic tests, we found that the router performed really well sending data both online or through the local network. Both wired and wireless connections had similar performance too which is ideal for those not wanting to run Ethernet cabling all through their home.
My only concern is the price. At £299.99, it’s a lot to spend on something you’re essentially going to set up and forget about. It’s definitely worth it for high-traffic households, or for someone who wants to make the most of their Internet connection, however for the average user, it may be worth looking for more affordable MU-MIMO alternatives.