D-Link DIR-880L: Simplicity & Speed under $200 [Review]

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Routers are devices that we don’t really interact with much. We come home turn on our devices and boom…we’re online. That’s it. This is the daily routine. As time goes on however, we add more and more devices and now our internet speed is slower than normal. Time to get a new router, but with that comes the question ‘what router do I buy?’ Routers are plentiful and if you’ve ever had to buy a router before then you know that buying one can be a complicated process, especially if you’re unsure of what you want out of your router specifically. All you really know is that you want it to be fast and not require a college degree to set up. The DIR-880L is that router. Its simplicity and speed under $200.

User Interface and Configuration

SetupThe online user interface for the DIR-880L is really easy and intuitive. All of your settings are available to you at a basic and advanced level. I was able to configure the router pretty easily. It was really a series of simple steps. Take it out of the box, screw on the antennas, connect it to the modem, and change a few settings, rock and roll. All in all, I was online in about 10-12 minutes. The easy to follow network map shows you when you are and aren’t connected to the internet plus any devices that connected to your network. Pretty simple.

UI2You do most of the configuration from within the general setup wizard itself or if you’re an advanced user you can really mess around with the settings in the tabs.This enable you to do things like separate how you wish the router to separate bandwidth, enable security, QoS, Firewall, Port forwarding, Mac filtering, DMZ, VPN and any other functions that you can think to use that make your home network what you want it to be. Everything is tabbed, organized and easy to maneuver through. The thing about the interface is not so much what you can change and configure as much as it’s about how easy it is to use especially if this is your first experience with a D-Link router.

This is one definitely one of the easiest router setups I’ve dealt with. It’s an inviting interface without intimidation involved in its setup.

Features & Performance

configscreen-100357107-origThe DIR-880L is not the most feature packed router but it’s a really good router nonetheless. There were some standout features though that I did like. For starters, the 880L is fast. It has concurrent dual-band technology. This means the 880L allows you to perform certain tasks like internet browsing, email on the 2.4 GHz band while doing bandwidth heavy things like gaming and Netflix streaming on the 5 GHz band.

Those three big antennas give you great range and I found that I was able to get solid throughput and consistent speeds in my apartment no matter where I was. Of course this will vary depending on the size of your home, but even with other routers that I’ve used the closest match to the 880L that I’ve had thus far was with the Linksys WRT1900AC and maybe the ASUS RT-AC68U.

Cloud based management was a really nice feature for use with this router by way of the myDLink.com website. From here you can manage the router, router settings and your home network from anywhere as long as you’re online.

Gaming on the PS4 and Xbox was an easy task with the really good speeds I was getting from the 880L. On average I was getting 40-42Mbps on average. So unless the game servers were experiencing difficulties (ummmmm….Destiny) I never had an issue with getting kicked out of any multiplayer or online activity.

Range, dual band technology and speed are for me the most important elements of a router when you finally make your choice and bring it home. The 880L performed well and overall I’m happy but it wasn’t without its problems or just things I didn’t like.

Screenshot_2015-04-20-22-50-40The things I didn’t like weren’t deal breakers but they really took away from the experience and hopefully D-link will improve on them. The biggest example of something that I didn’t like was the USB 3.0 port on the side of the router. That port allows you to use it in conjunction with the myDLink SharePort app to stream all of types of media, video, docs, pics, etc. Sounds great. Until you actually have to use it. I had such a hard time using this feature. It’s a pointless feature if you ask me and even more so since it doesn’t work that well. The streaming is incessantly slow over WiFi no matter your internet speed and the setup between the app and the online UI is a bit of a nuisance. I’m not quite sure exactly why anyone would want to use this feature at all. D-Link should improve it or scrap it.

The 880L didn’t have too many things wrong with it but because it’s a basic router my expectations weren’t too high. It’s as simple as that.

Should I go out and buy this router?

“Should I buy this router?” is a loaded question. There are other routers that perform a little bit better comparatively such as the Linksys EA6900 or the Netgear R7000 but this router is no slouch. It’s a basic router in terms of the configuration, setup and features. If you’re looking for an advanced router to really bring out the absolute best in your home network then this router may not be that. The basics are what you get here and it’s not such a bad thing. Ease of use is what’s lacking in a lot our devices nowadays and it’s refreshing to get a device with so much simplicity.

Would I recommend it? Yes I would. It’s inexpensive, fast, and easy to use and that’s all you can really ask for.

The D-Link DIR-880L router is available at various retailers with price range currently of $159.99 and up.