Why pay so much for a router? Several reasons, in fact
When you can pick up a router for around £30, you have to wonder what you’ll get by spending five times as much on a product such as D-Link’s DIR-855.
In this case, though, the answer is that you get just about every feature you’ve ever heard of, and then some. Note, by the way, that this isn't an ADSL modem/router – it's designed mainly for cable internet users and if you're an ADSL user you'll need a separate ADSL modem with a network output.
Most obviously, the DIR-855 has a large screen on its top. This replaces the usual set of blinking lights, and it’s useful: with a few button clicks you can check whether the internet connection is working, whether wireless security is enabled, and more.
Inside, the most unusual feature is that this is two routers in one. It has two radio units, operating at different frequencies: one at 2.4GHz, which is used by most traditional wireless network equipment, and one at 5GHz, designed for streaming media files to suitable devices. This means that you can surf the web using the lower-band part of the router without that affecting the speed of the higher band. Alternatively you can also create a separate "guest" wireless network that gives access to the internet but not to your other computers. All five wired network ports are the fastest gigabit variety.
Setting up the DIR-855 will be straightforward to technically minded users, but rather intimidating for those who are new to wireless. The options are logically arranged, but there are a lot of them, and although there are some helpful automated wizards these aren’t immediately presented to the user.
We’d also recommend that potential users avoid updating the router’s software unless necessary, as the latest version wrecked our wireless network until we reverted to the older software. All in all, this is an impressive router but one that we’d only recommend to those who need a dual-band router with all the frills – for internet sharing alone, spend far less on a simpler product.
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Overall A powerful, feature-packed router ideal for the technically minded, but too complicated and expensive for most users
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