D-Link DIR-827 Amplifi HD Media Router 2000 review: D-Link DIR-827 Amplifi HD Media Router 2000

The DIR-827's USB port works with the included SharePort utility software to support any USB device. The software enables the computer to recognize a USB device that's plugged into the router as if it were plugged directly into the computer's USB port. This is a nifty feature that spares you from having to move the device around, since most USB devices are generally designed to work with only the computers they're plugged into. With certain USB devices, such as a printer or external hard drive, SharePort Plus even allows multiple computers to access the connected USB device at the same time.

A highlight of the DIR-827 is HD Fuel, which is basically a special Quality of Service setting that automatically detects the HD media-streaming signal from the Internet and prioritizes the bandwidth for the client that's requesting it. This helps make HD streaming, such as from Netflix or YouTube, a much better experience. HD Fuel works similarly with online gaming and VoIP applications.

This feature works best when only one computer on the network is doing the streaming. When multiple clients are streaming, all of them then get the same level of priority, and I didn't see much difference from other routers that don't have this feature. It would be much more helpful if users could manually set the priority level for certain clients.

Performance
The DIR-827 performed well in my tests, for the most part. I tested it both as a router and as a network storage device.

As a wireless router, on the 5GHz band, the DIR-827 registered around 103Mbps at close range (15 feet). When I increased the range to 100 feet, the performance was reduced just slightly to around 90Mbps. These are very good numbers and among the fastest for 300Mbps true dual-band routers.

It was a little different on the 2.4GHz band. At the 15-foot range, the router averaged around 42Mbps; at the 100-foot range, this was lowered to just around 19Mbps.

The DIR-827 offers decent range performance. The DIR-827 managed to provide stable Wi-Fi connections to clients as far as 280 feet in my testing. That's fast enough to do more than just casual Web surfing; the clients should be placed within about 150 feet from the router.

The DIR-827 passed the stress test, in which it was set to constantly transfer a large amount of data between clients. During a period of more than 24 hours, it didn't disconnect once.

Despite support for USB 3.0, which is slated to be about 10 times the speed of USB 2.0, the DIR-827's network storage performance wasn't impressive. I tested the router with a few USB 3.0 portable hard drives and via a Gigabit connection; it averaged about 8.5MBps for writing and around 16Mbps for reading. While these speeds are faster than those of most other USB-enabled routers, and fast enough for general data-sharing and media-streaming needs, they weren't close to the best I've seen and definitely didn't show the benefit of USB 3.0.

NAS performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
202.8 
171 
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
D-Link DIR-827
126.4 
68 
Netgear WNDR4500
65.6 
63.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200
64 
60.8 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.2 
57.1 
Netgear WNDR4000
57.6 
51.8 
Netgear WNDR3800
88.9 
34 
Cisco Linksys E3200
36.2 
32.2 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 

2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Netgear WNDR4000
23.9 
67.8 
Cisco Linksys E4200
46.9 
61.4 
D-Link DIR-825
38.8 
61.3 
Cisco Linksys E3200
40.4 
57.44 
Asus RT-N56U
34.4 
57.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
21.4 
56.6 
Netgear WNDR3700
29.44 
55.44 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
31.1 
52.1 
Belkin N750 DB
26.6 
50 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.8 
43.5 
D-Link DIR-827
18.7 
41.7 
Linksys E2500
10.7 
36.5 
Linksys WRT610N
28.8 
35.76 
Netgear WNDR4500
12.5 
28.6 

5GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
35.8 
148.5 
Asus RT-N56U
76.2 
112.6 
Netgear WNDR4500
41 
109.4 
D-Link DIR-827
90.4 
103.1 
Cisco Linksys E4200
79.1 
100.48 
Cisco Linksys E3200
53.8 
95.3 
Belkin N750 DB
74.64 
92.32 
Netgear WNDR4000
63.9 
89 
D-Link DIR-825
36.48 
80.96 
Linksys E2500
70.2 
77.2 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
49 
71.9 
Cisco Linksys E3000
48.8 
65.4 
Linksys WRT610N
54.8 
64.8 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
60 

Service and support
D-Link backs the Amplifi HD Media Router 2000 DIR-827 with a one-year warranty, which is short but standard for most home routers. At the company's Web site, you will find a wealth of support information including downloads, FAQs, and a searchable knowledge base. You can also seek help through the company's toll-free technical support phone line, which is available 24-7.

Conclusion
The Amplifi HD Media Router 2000 DIR-827 makes a very good router for those who need a fast true dual-band router for HD media streaming. Those who need to use guest networking, however, should wait till there's a firmware update.

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