The D-Link Cloud Gigabit Router N600, otherwise known as the DIR-826L, is one of the company’s new line of so-called cloud router products. These routers promise not only to provide you with local connections across your network but grant you access to your network from outside your home too.
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D-Link has made setting up the router a painless process. As soon as you open the packaging you are presented with a credit-card sized piece of card detailing just the essential information to get you started – such as the network ID, password and admin login details.
It’s a nice touch to have this information all together. Additionally when you login to the router, setup is all done via a wizard which guides you step-by-step through setting up the essentials.
The cylindrical shape of the D-Link Cloud Gigabit Router N600 is a pleasant change from the standard boxy design of most routers. The design and port layout of this router is identical to its less powerful brother, the DIR-636L. The ports on the back consist of the standard WAN port for connection to a cable or ADSL modem, and four gigabit ethernet connections. You also have an additional USB 2.0 port which can be used to connect a hard drive to allow the use of the headlining cloud features.
In terms of hardware this router has made a single and significant change from its sibling product the DIR-636L – and that’s the 5GHz band radio. The addition of a 5GHz band to the existing 2.4GHz means that you can run two networks simultaneously.
This is much better for larger households where many people are connecting as you will have greater per-person network bandwidth, and less interference with competing 2.4GHz.
Also the 5GHz band can be much faster than the 2.4GHz at close range, providing greater speeds for streaming video and file transfers.
The cloud features of the router work on two levels. Firstly you can access the router settings and records from a mobile device when away from home. This is probably most useful for parents wishing to monitor their children’s activity on the internet.
The router will actually record and update the sites your children have visited in real time and relay them to your mobile iOS or Android device. This is very simple to set up and is handled through an online account.
The second level is slightly more tricky to set up as you must enter the router storage settings but we still found it relatively straightforward. The second level allows you to access files on a hard drive connected to the USB port both locally and remotely. The main thing to remember is that if your D-Link is plugged into a combination modem/router, it must be set to bridge mode to prevent double-NAT from breaking the connection to the DIR-826L.
D-Link Cloud Gigabit Router N600: Performance
The wireless performance of this router is surprisingly good considering the relatively low price. The 5GHz band produced transfer rates of 142Mbps at 1 metre, and 115Mbps at 7 metre. At this price point that’s about as good as it gets.
Pushing it out to 10 metre distance, the 5GHz band sustained a 44Mbps of data throughput.
The 2.4GHz performance was much same as that of its little brother the DIR-636L, providing 90Mbps at 1 metre and 43Mbps at 10 metre.