D-Link DIR-865L Wireless AC 1750 Dual Band Cloud Router review: D-Link DIR-865L Wireless AC 1750 Dual Band Cloud Router

In my trials, the cloud features worked very well. It could easily view the status of the DIR-865L and its connected clients in real time. I could also quickly block or unblock a connected client. It couldn't manage all of the router's settings, however. In fact, only a few of its settings were available to the cloud feature. To completely manage the router, you'll need to resort to its Web interface, which is generally only available within the local network. Mobile users can download and install the MyDlink Lite mobile app for iOS and Android devices; it offers similar levels of management.

The DIR-865L's Web interface is very similar to that found in all D-Link routers released in the last few years. It's well-organized, responsive, and easy to work with, especially for those familiar with D-Link routers. For new users, there's the context-based help, which automatically appears on the right side of the page and explains what each item means.

The router's OpenDSN-based parental control allows you to manage Web filtering from anywhere over the Internet. To use the router with OpenDNS, first you'll need to sign up for a free OpenDNS account or use an existing account that you created with a different router. After that, from within the router's Web interface, select OpenDNS as the method of managing the parental control feature; you will then be asked to associate the router with the OpenDNS account with a few mouse clicks, and that's it. The router can now be managed from anywhere in the world when you log into your OpenDNS account at OpenDNS.com.

This parental control feature is kind of a hassle. It would be much better if the feature were incorporated with D-Link's cloud features, allowing you to also manage it using the MyDlink portal.

The DIR-865L's USB port can be used with any external hard drives formatted in either FAT32 or NTFS, and in my trials, it was able to power all bus-powered portable drives. You can then easily and securely share the drive's contents with machines on the local network. You can also stream digital content stored on the drive with network media streamers. I found that the performance of the router's storage feature was just fast enough for casual data sharing and media streaming, and it's recommended that you get a dedicated NAS server if you have serious network storage needs.

Apart from being a router, the DIR-865L can also be used as a media bridge, meaning it can work as a Wi-Fi client and bring wireless connection to Ethernet-ready devices. When used as a media bridge, the router's WAN port will act like another LAN port, enabling the DIR-865L to bring Wi-Fi to up to five Ethernet-ready clients.

The router's cloud features allow users to manage their home network while on the go, via a browser or mobile apps.
The router's cloud features allow users to manage their home network while on the go, via a browser or mobile apps. Dong Ngo/CNET

Performance
The DIR-865L didn't blow me away with its performance, but it wasn't bad, either. I tested the router with both 802.11ac, using only the 5GHz frequency band, and Wireless-N clients. Since there aren't many 802.11ac hardware clients on the market, I actually used a second unit of the DIR-865L as a media bridge and in a close range throughput test with 802.11ac, the router scored 199Mbps, which was fast, but slower than others 802.11ac routers I've reviewed. When I increased the distance to 100 feet, the router registered just 135Mbps.

When used with existing Wireless-N clients, the router did much better on the 5GHz than it did on the 2.4GHz band. On the 5GHz band, the router scored 148Mbps in a close-range test and 122Mbps at 100 feet. On the 2.4GHz band, however, it only showed 36Mbps and 22Mbps for the close-range and long-range tests, respectively.

It's important to note that the router was tested at CNET headquarters in San Francisco where there are many Wi-Fi devices that might interfere with he router's signal, and low performance on the 2.4GHz band has been consistent for most recent routers. At this same location, the DIR-865l still offered very long range, up to 280 feet away, on both bands.

The router also passed the 24-hour stress test; during this time, it didn't disconnect once.

The DIR-865L's network storage performance didn't have much to impress. I tested the router with a portable drive, via Gigabit connection, and it scored just 34Mbps and 61Mbps for writing and reading, respectively -- only enough for mild data sharing and media-streaming needs.

CNET Labs 5GHz Wireless-N performance score (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
D-Link DIR-857
172.4 
214.6 
Asus RT-AC66U
166.6 
208.2 
D-Link DIR-865L (with AC client)
135.2 
199.2 
WD My Net N900 HD
74 
195 
Belkin N900 DB
138.2 
189.6 
Cisco Linksys E4200 v.2
122.2 
185.6 
Asus RT-N66U
155.3 
181.8 
Netgear R6300
144.8 
178.8 
AirStation WZR-D1800H
120 
172 
Netgear WNDR4500
92.7 
152.8 
D-Link DIR-865L
121.6 
147.6 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
105.8 
116.1 

CNET Labs 2.4GHz Wireless-N performance score (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200 v.2
35.8 
148.5 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
31.3 
77.8 
Netgear WNDR4000
23.9 
67.8 
WD My Net N900 HD
16 
58.1 
Asus RT-N66U
45.5 
55 
Netgear R6300
41.6 
51.2 
Belkin N750 DB
26.6 
50 
D-Link DIR-857
29.6 
47.8 
Netgear WNDR4500
31.1 
45.3 
Asus RT-AC66U
15.2 
36.8 
D-Link DIR-865L
22.1 
36 

CNET Labs NAS performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Cisco Linksys E4200 v.2
202.8 
171 
ASUS RT-N66U
88 
131.9 
WD My Net N900
158.9 
114.6 
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
Netgear R6300
82.7 
72.3 
D-Link DIR-857
126.4 
69.6 
D-Link DIR-827
126.4 
68 
Netgear WNDR4500
65.6 
63.2 
Netgear WNDR4000
57.6 
51.8 
D-Link DIR-865L
60.5 
33.6 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 

Conclusion
With fragmented Internet-based features, and average performance, the D-Link DIR-865L Wireless AC 1750 Dual Band Cloud Router makes a decent router for the money.

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  • Weight 1.2 lbs
  • Connectivity Technology wireless
About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.