D-Link DIR-818LW Wireless AC750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router review: Compact and easy to use, but underpowered

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.9
  • Design and ease of use: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:

The Good The D-Link DIR-818LW Wireless AC750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router is very compact, easy to use and available in four different colors. The device supports Gigabit Ethernet and has a convenient cloud feature.

The Bad The router has slow Wi-Fi data rates and short wireless range.

The Bottom Line Unless you live in a very small home and need a color router to match, skip D-Link's latest DIR-818LW in favor of more powerful options.

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Super compact and available in four color options, the D-Link Wireless AC750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router (model DIR-818LW) is perfect for anyone who cares about matching their gadgets. That is, if matching gadgets is all they care about.

Truth be told, the new D-Link AC750 lacks what's most important in a home router: the fast Wi-Fi performance and the long wireless range, normally found in regular-sized routers.

That makes the DIR-818LW only suitable if you have a small apartment and you're looking for a cheap router -- it's priced at just $80. But even then, it's a better idea to get one of these good N600 routers. Or, if you don't mind spending more, check out these top 802.11ac routers instead.

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Apart from white, the DIR-818LW is also available in black, teal and orange. Dong Ngo/CNET

Colorful compact design

The DIR-818LW is almost small enough to be a travel router. The new version shares the same cylindrical design as the DIR-868L but is about a third of the size. Unlike the processor that's available only in black, the new router is now available in white, orange and teal. It's also wall-mountable. If you're looking for a networking device that matches the color of your newly painted wall, the DIR-818LW is a good find.

Despite its small physical size, on the back the DIR-818LW still has four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port (the much bigger and similarly-shaped Apple AirPort Extreme has only three LAN ports). It even comes with a USB 2.0 port to host a storage device. On the front, it has two indicator lights, one for the power status and the other for your Internet connection. These lights stay green when everything is good, and change to amber when something needs attention.

Out of the box, the router comes with a label stuck on its front that shows the pre-set Wi-Fi networks and passwords. Inside the box, there's another small D-Link Wi-Fi Configuration card with the same information. Now you just need to connect the router to power, hook its WAN port to an Internet source (such as a broadband router) using the included network cable, and you're good to go.

If you want to further customize your network, you'll need to access its Web interface.

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The router is super compact, yet, still comes with four LAN ports and a USB port. Dong Ngo/CNET

Familiar interface, convenient cloud feature

The way to access the DIR-8181LW's interface is similar to that of most routers -- see CNET's How-to on this topic. Basically, from a connected computer, point a browser to the router's default IP address, which is 192.168.0.1. By default, the password is left blank.

The interface is similar to that of the majority of D-Link routers released in the past five years, very well-organized and self-explanatory. In fact, it's one of my favorite among routers' interfaces. Though small, the new router has all of the common features found in home routers, including two guest networks (one for each frequency band), IPv6 support, QoS, Firewall, Web content filtering, Dynamic DNS, port forwarding, and so on. The router can also host a storage device via its USB port, for data sharing and media-streaming needs. In my testing, however, the performance of the USB port wasn't fast enough for the router to be used as a viable network storage solution.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 9.6 oz
  • Data Transfer Rate 750 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wireless