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D-Link DSL-2890AL Gigabit Cloud ADSL2+ Modem Router review: D-Link hits the sweet spot for modem-router price and performance

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The Good Its wireless performance is up there with significantly more expensive AC1900 rated modem-routers.

The Bad There's no printer support and USB performance is bad -- but let's face it, USB storage on routers isn't great anyway.

The Bottom Line D-Link's DSL-2890AL hits the absolute sweet spot between price and performance for 802.11ac modem-routers.

8.3 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Support 8

As an AC1750 modem-router, D-Link's DSL-2890AL poses a problem for the more expensive AC1900 competitors. While you'd expect 802.11n 5GHz and 802.11ac to be the same amongst the two grades, what I didn't expect to see was 2.4GHz performance parity with routers that were significantly more expensive.

While the higher-rated AC1900 routers will likely cope with more 2.4GHz devices on the network, for those with only a few devices the 2890AL's AU$219 pricetag represents incredible value.

dlink2890al.jpg
Dave Cheng/CNET

Design and ease of use

D-Link's unique cylindrical design puts it at odds with wall mounting, and makes it look more like a NAS than a router. Or perhaps a speaker. Maybe a coffee plunger.

Regardless, it has a wealth of status lights, including power, DSL sync, Internet, WPS, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless and individual lights for all four gigabit Ethernet ports. D-Link receives a huge tick of approval for troubleshooting here.

dlink2890al-2.jpg
Dave Cheng/CNET

On the rear are four gigabit Ethernet ports, a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port, and physical buttons for both power and Wi-Fi on/off.

The 2890AL still uses D-Link's old web UI, which is straightforward and functional, but could do with a coat of modern paint and a reduction in the number of clicks required to achieve certain tasks. Still, I appreciated the helpful hints D-Link puts down the side that explain options and networking terms, and provides links to extended help stored on the router itself.

d-link-dsl-2890al-ui.jpg
Screenshot by Craig Simms

Features

On top of standard features like QoS, port forwarding and firewall settings, D-Link offers access to its router via its mydlink app. It's very limited though, allowing you to view and block connected devices, check your Internet and LAN IP, and alter basic Wi-Fi settings.

While there are two USB ports, functionality is limited, only supporting storage. This can be accessed over FTP, SMB, or online using D-Link's Shareport Web Access feature. DLNA is also supported.

Parental control includes blacklist or whitelist support, scheduling across WAN, wireless, virtual server, port forwarding, and network filters.

D-Link offers guest Wi-Fi on 2.4 and 5GHz, and supports DDNS through its own service and DynDNS.org.

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