D-Link’s DIR-636L is a rather interesting entry to the router market. It has several high-end features combined with lower-budget hardware and a price to match. Let’s see how this odd mix performs in the real world. Read more wireless router reviews.

The first thing that stands out about the D-Link DIR-636L is the styling. It is a rather handsome shiny monolithic cylinder which is a welcome contrast to the standard flat black or grey boxes that are the usual form factor of a router.  

The front of the D-Link DIR-636L has a single power indicator and a WAN indicator light. The ports are the now-standard line of four gigabit ethernet connectors and a single WAN connector.  

There is also the welcome addition of a USB 2.0 port to allow you to connect hard drives or printers to your router. The router contains no fans which makes it blissfully silent in operation.

One of the first things of note about the D-Link DIR-636L is that this is a 2.4GHz-only router so you will not have access to the 5GHz channels to boost your close-range wireless performance.

However this is to be expected in a router that costs around £55. In fact for that price it is amazing that D-Link have included some features not present on routers costing twice that.

The most vaunted feature of this D-Link DIR-636L router is the cloud access. This means that you can connect the router to a hard drive via the USB 2.0 port and make its contents available, not not only to your local network, but to any web browser over the internet or your iPhone, iPad and Android devices.  

However be aware that you can only stream video in formats that your iOS or Android device can play natively. For iOS and Android you will need to download the free SharePort app and login to your myDlink account.  It should be noted that if you connect via an external router/modem, it must be in bridge mode in order to use the cloud services. 

D-Link have added in some advanced features for parents allowing them the sort of control that before now only a dedicated proxy server could provide.  

You can block access to websites by their web address and conversely you can block all access to the internet and only allow certain websites. This effectively creates a safe internet sandbox of websites that only you have allowed. 

In addition to blocking features you can also install the myDlink app for iOS or Andriod. This app allows you to see a list of websites visited by devices connected to your router in real time.

D-Link DIR-636L: Performance

In terms of speed we shouldn't expect blistering performance at this price and 2.4GHz radio band. However for a 2.4GHz router the speed at 1m was 92Mbps which is acceptable. The speed at 10m was 43Mbps which is also reasonable for this band.  

There are faster 2.4GHz routers out there but until you jump to the 5GHz band there isn't much in it. It’s worth noting that the 43Mbps bandwidth was enough to stream BBC iPlayer in HD, with a second computer web browsing at the same time.

D-Link DIR-636L: Specs

  • Wireless router
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 2.4GHz
  • 4x gigabit LAN
  • 1x gigabit WAN
  • USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2)
  • WPS
  • IPv6
  • remote cloud access storage
  • remote cloud router access control
  • 111 x 93 x 145 mm
  • Wireless router
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 2.4GHz
  • 4x gigabit LAN
  • 1x gigabit WAN
  • USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2)
  • WPS
  • IPv6
  • remote cloud access storage
  • remote cloud router access control
  • 111 x 93 x 145 mm

OUR VERDICT

Overall this product definitely ticks a box other routers do not. It is a budget-priced router that provides exceptional control for parents over what their children can and cannot access. For families this would be an excellent option. However, we would recommend checking out the DIR-826L for another £15. This has all the same monitoring features but adds the useful 5GHz band into the mix.

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