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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
narrowed this down to asus ac68u or dlink dir-890L.

i know the biggest thing i need right now is to get a dual band router so i can take advantage of the 5ghz band. my current dir655 does not allow me to do that(i still have 1 or 2 legacy 'g' devices i need to connect to).

the asus seems like the gold standard of dual band ac1900 routers. i'm just wondering if the 'tri-band' of the dlink will allow a little more future proofing, and maybe even give me some extra speed now. since i will have basically everything connect via wifi, and i plan to install an asus ac68 wifi card in my htpc(where my media is stored), the extra 5ghz band could be used to separate the connection between htpc and router from the connection between router and client. since my router to client connection will be limited to n(due to the clients) at least for now, i don't have 'extra' bandwidth to share.

BUT, i can't find any reviews or anything other than marketing about the dlink, and reviews of other tri-band routers don't sound as promising with real world tests.

any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. i'm sure i can't go wrong either way, but i'm sure i can go 'less-right' with one of them :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I vote neither.

Unless you demand "the best", save a little money and get this:

http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-Arche...=1419605335&sr=8-1&keywords=tp-link+archer+c7

Check out my little experiment vs. an Asus RT-AC68U in this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-ho...805617-suggest-router-under-125-please-2.html

I don't think that Tri-Band is much more than a gimmick at this point.
I realize that 'at this point' I probably won't get anything out of a tri-band design vs a dual-band one. my concern is that this is the 2nd time in about 4yrs I've been looking at a new router, and not because my current router is failing, but because it's 'obsolete' and can't keep up with what I want. so my interest with it is that I'd much rather spend 300 for a router that will work for me for 5yrs than spend 200 on a router that will need to be replaced in 3yrs.


thanks for the reply, i'll have a look your post
 

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Cool, I can understand that. You should probably be aware then, that the Asus you mentioned is not a tri-band so this isn't really an apples to apples comparison if that's a feature you want.

What new features (outside of tri-band) are you specifically looking for or what do you want to get out of the new router?
I haven't looked into the tri-band a lot, yet. I know that it's implementation on the NetGear routers is, so far, pretty questionable. From what I understand, you can't actually control which 5GHz band your device connects to at any one time; the router detects which of the two is currently experiencing less load and diverts the client to that one. I had the same though you did, that it would be nice to dedicate one of the 5GHz bands to HTPC/Media Streaming but it doesn't let you dedicate anything. I would expect as the technology matures this might change. Then there's band steering and other new features that may or not be ready for prime time, yet.

Probably the only way to avoid early obsolence is to be a guinea pig.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Cool, I can understand that. You should probably be aware then, that the Asus you mentioned is not a tri-band so this isn't really an apples to apples comparison if that's a feature you want.

What new features (outside of tri-band) are you specifically looking for or what do you want to get out of the new router?
I haven't looked into the tri-band a lot, yet. I know that it's implementation on the NetGear routers is, so far, pretty questionable. From what I understand, you can't actually control which 5GHz band your device connects to at any one time; the router detects which of the two is currently experiencing less load and diverts the client to that one. I had the same though you did, that it would be nice to dedicate one of the 5GHz bands to HTPC/Media Streaming but it doesn't let you dedicate anything. I would expect as the technology matures this might change. Then there's band steering and other new features that may or not be ready for prime time, yet.

Probably the only way to avoid early obsolence is to be a guinea pig.
yes, thanks for clarifying, that's where my question is basically.

if the asus is the 'best' dual band router, and fastest with todays top tech, then the dlink's only advantage will be 'in the future'. now i know nobody has a crystal ball, but my concern isn't so much whether tri-band might be good in the future as much as it's a question of whether or not it's actually 'worse' for the present.

of the other tri-band routers i've seen tested, basically none of them were faster than the asus, and all of them were much slower either with 2.4ghz band, or at long range.

i don't mind spending an extra 100bux on a 'gamble' that triband will become more widely adopted and prove useful down the road. but i don't want to spend an extra 100bux for a product that is inferior. this is why i've crossed off the other tri-band products out there, as all the tests i've seen have them trailing the ac68u in speed. if they were 'tied' that's more what i'd expect for a 'future-proof' buying decision. i don't expect anything to be faster with wireless g or n than the asus, but i don't want it to be way slower either

i like the asus because it's mentioned in the top 5 pretty much everywhere. the others seem to change depending on what review site. i also like it because it's available from retailers i like to buy from, MANY of the competing routers are practically 'grey market' only here.

what i like about the tri band is that i want to start getting wireless ac devices, and it sure sounds like separating the 'ac' devices from the 'n' devices will improve overall speeds. and if not, at least having two 5ghz channels should allow more connections before anything gets saturated. everything i've read suggests you can choose to combine the 5ghz channels and let the router handle it automatically, or use the default setting of having them split with unique SSID's and decide your yourself. my plan is to let it handle it automatically, but if it doesn't do that well, i'm quite sure i have the option to take control as well.

so i'm still pretty set on it being either the asus ac68u or the dlink 890L. if the dlink is comparable to the asus for speed with today's devices, that's the one i'll go with for sure. my immediate goal is just to be able to stream media through my house, and i THINK any decent dual band router that lets me get out of the crowded 2.4ghz band and into the 5ghz band will make a significant improvement.
 

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I think it pretty much depends on the kind of tech investor you are. The performance difference between a sub $100 router and a $200 router is just a few % points unless there is a specific feature you are looking for. Asus commands top $ for their routers because they have a track record of being the cream of the crop in reliability and performance. They also use chipsets and high enough specs that their routers are flashable to alternate firmware like Tomato and DD-WRT. If those are things you are interested in, then the $$$ for an Asus is worth the money.

I am of the opinion that you really can't future proof anything in the tech world for much more than 12-18 months as something new is always coming down the pipe. To think otherwise, you're just chasing the dragon.

If you want something mature that just works and works well then the Asus or another good router that is AC Dual-Band is the right investment. Other features will come along (like Tri-Band) that you will miss out on, but you won't have to worry about feeling like a Beta tester when things don't work as expected.

If you like to get the new stuff and hope that it works out of the box then the D-Link or other Tri-Band might be the way to go. Sometimes it works out great. If I remember correctly, wireless N was only available as a "Draft" version for almost 2 years before it was ratified and became an accepted and universal standard. It worked out very well for early adopters since v1 of Draft N seemed to work just as well as official wireless N once all was said and done. There was always a chance that something would have come up and changed the N standard so that early adopters using Draft N routers would have been left with glorified wireless G boxes but it didn't happen that way.

On the other side of the coin there are all of the people that bought HD-DVD players..... that didn't work out so well for them.

Most likely, Tri-Band will continue to evolve and will get better over time as the manufacturers tweak and polish it after it has been in the real world for a year or two. At some point you will probably say, "Crap, if I had waited another 6 months I could have gotten a Tri-Band router that did X". If that possibility doesn't bother you, go with the D-Link.

Just as a side note, I don't see the 890L for sale anywhere and I would assume that it will be considerably more expensive than the Asus when it becomes available. The NetGear R8000 and Linksys EA9200 are pushing $300 US right now. For that kind of money I could address specific wireless performance issues and requirements more reliably with a little bit of elbow grease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Most likely, Tri-Band will continue to evolve and will get better over time as the manufacturers tweak and polish it after it has been in the real world for a year or two. At some point you will probably say, "Crap, if I had waited another 6 months I could have gotten a Tri-Band router that did X". If that possibility doesn't bother you, go with the D-Link.

Just as a side note, I don't see the 890L for sale anywhere and I would assume that it will be considerably more expensive than the Asus when it becomes available. The NetGear R8000 and Linksys EA9200 are pushing $300 US right now. For that kind of money I could address specific wireless performance issues and requirements more reliably with a little bit of elbow grease.
you make some good points, lots of things that have been running through my mind. it's tough when there's no reviews of the 890L yet, but it IS available pretty much everywhere I look. it's about a 100dollar premium over the asus.


I think the 6month scenario is a 'given' with either router. 6 months from now both will likely have their superiors, or at the very least be cheaper. that's a fact of electronics. I typically don't buy the 'best' when it comes to computer, but try to buy new products that are more than I need, and whenever possible allow for a lot upgrading. I'm still using the laptop I bought around 2004, the desktop I bought 2006, etc. they just have ssd's now, and more ram, maybe a couple other parts that were installed along the way. unfortunately that's not really a possibility with routers. so I'm hoping I can do with them what I've done with my a/v gear, and just buy high quality stuff so it lasts for that reason. for years I've been saying I'd rather have a 3yrs old top of the line tv than this year's entry level model. I'm hoping the same will be true here. either the asus or dlink I'm looking at should be better than the 50dollar routers available for the next few years.


interesting that this post came up, I had the 890L in my cart(along with a couple other items) last night, the price is good til the end the of the month and I doubt they will sell out, so I figured I'd sleep on, delay a little. so I grabbed my credit card and decided I'd check here before I go buy it, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
well, I ordered the asus ac68 network card, dlink dir890L router, and some more ram. almost grabbed a 5tb wd red drive as well, but hdd's only get cheaper, so I decided to wait until I'm out of storage and 'need' one.


hopefully this isn't a sign, but when I tried to place the order it booted me out right after entering payment, second try worked perfect, but I got two confirmations for payment and only one confirmation for placing the order. fired off an email to clarify and hoping they get it sorted out. they are a reputable retailer so I'm not too worried there.


so, anyway, in a week or so I guess i'll start being a guinea pig. I'm sure the 890L will be a huge upgrade over my dir655, anything that gets me into the 5ghz band should be. just hoping it isn't gonna show up with some funky fw or something that's problematic. that was the one area I was confident with the asus. I knew if the stock fw wasn't good, there was stable 3rd party options to use.


in the mean time, I'm trying to figure out where to put this robot crab that's 5x bigger than my current router, haha
 

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well, I ordered the asus ac68 network card, dlink dir890L router, and some more ram. almost grabbed a 5tb wd red drive as well, but hdd's only get cheaper, so I decided to wait until I'm out of storage and 'need' one.


hopefully this isn't a sign, but when I tried to place the order it booted me out right after entering payment, second try worked perfect, but I got two confirmations for payment and only one confirmation for placing the order. fired off an email to clarify and hoping they get it sorted out. they are a reputable retailer so I'm not too worried there.


so, anyway, in a week or so I guess i'll start being a guinea pig. I'm sure the 890L will be a huge upgrade over my dir655, anything that gets me into the 5ghz band should be. just hoping it isn't gonna show up with some funky fw or something that's problematic. that was the one area I was confident with the asus. I knew if the stock fw wasn't good, there was stable 3rd party options to use.


in the mean time, I'm trying to figure out where to put this robot crab that's 5x bigger than my current router, haha
I know, that is often the hardest part of router configuration. I hate the form factor of my RT-AC68U. It stands upright and at an angle so there's really no easy way to set it up discretely or hang it behind anything. It basically has to sit on a flat surface and advertise its existence to everyone that is within viewing distance.

A crab is exactly what I thought when I saw the 890L, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know, that is often the hardest part of router configuration. I hate the form factor of my RT-AC68U. It stands upright and at an angle so there's really no easy way to set it up discretely or hang it behind anything. It basically has to sit on a flat surface and advertise its existence to everyone that is within viewing distance.

A crab is exactly what I thought when I saw the 890L, too.

that's funny, I was actually thinking the upright design of the ac68u was going to work really well with where my router is right now. it's sitting on a work desk, so it being 'tall' is not an issue, and the upright design would give me more desk space.


the the 890L I'm half tempted to hang it from the ceiling just to see how many ppl I can scare when they walk into my dark home theater :cool:
 

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I'm in a similar boat. I'm rocking a 655 and it is time for an upgrade. I was sniffing at the Asus AC87 for a while, trying to get ahead of the curve, but for all the reviews I have seen, the AC68 is a better product than most things out there right now.

I was going through Boxing Day Flyers and came across a pick of a DLink 890L and was curious as my 655 has served me well. There is absolutely nothing on the net about it beyond what the site offers and this little forum here. Anyways, please let me know if you have any success with this router. I'm going to wait on the sidelines and see what happens in the next 2-3 months. I have to let my credit card cool down from all the Christmas shopping.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
will do. seems like it's just been release in just a few countries, and not worldwide yet. I did stumble upon a post from china where it's actually red and not black.


it was definitely a risk to buy it. the asus 68u is a KNOWN good router, there should be no doubt about it being a major improvement. the dlink is a total unknown.


I got my order sorted out, but it hasn't been shipped yet. maybe while I'm waiting i'll see if I can find a way to test my speed now, and that way I could compare to the new router after. still won't tell me anything about how it compares to the asus, but better than nothing right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
well, my 'goodies' arrived today:



everything looks good, got the router out and it's not as ginormous as i thought actually. fits just fine on my shelf where my old router was/is.



but after connecting it, and running the set up wizard, would not connect to the internet. all i had to do was restart the modem and everything connected just fine. i'll update in a bit with my impressions on performance.

EDIT: ok, tried a few different casual tests. i have a 'download' station where i get my tv shows and whatnot from, and then i transfer those to my HTPC on the other side of the basement. the download pc is wired, htpc is wireless. in the past i was struggling to get 1MB/s, often lower. now i know a BIG part of this is also the upgrade to the asus ac68 wifi card, but now i'm getting around between 11-12MB/s. this seems to be limited by my old Ethernet connection on the desktop now, which maxes out at 100mbps.

some other minor improvements.
-my old dlink 655 did not want to work on channel 1 for some reason. the signal was sporatic, and often too weak. but that is by far the best channel for me to operate in for 2.4ghz band. fortunately the 890L has no problem maintaining a steady signal on channel 1. this is not a huge deal, but it's nice.
-i'm out of the crowded 2.4ghz band finally, and it appears as though NONE of my close neighbours are using 5ghz. i have no competition right now in that band. the 890L has automatically connected to my htpc(asus 68 ac wifi card) on one of the 5ghz channels, and my other wireless n devices on the other.
-signal strength is slightly stronger, i was getting -49 to -52db's before, now it's -39 to -43db. (measured at my htpc, which is only about 20feet away from the router)

unfortunately i have not had a chance to test out the streaming much. my bd player, which has always been finnicky, wouldn't connect to the internet until i manually entered all the info, and now it seems to hang when i try to load up Mediabrowser on it. I think i'll have to reinstall MB3 on it, seems like I had to do that for my other clients as well.

anyway, I was able to successfully stream a low bitrate 1080p video(the interview) to my laptop which played relatively stutter-free(I'm guessing this is the limitation of my 8yr old laptop's integrated graphics) and a medium bitrate 1080p video(standard digital copy of 22 jump street) to my phone at the same time.


so, again, no idea how this would compare to the asus 68u or other high end ac router, but it's a HUGE leap from my old dir655. with the new asus wifi card, I'm getting very impressive results so far.
 

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well, my 'goodies' arrived today:



everything looks good, got the router out and it's not as ginormous as i thought actually. fits just fine on my shelf where my old router was/is.



but after connecting it, and running the set up wizard, would not connect to the internet


i tried several times. i tried changing cat cables, i tried different SSID's, different passwords, as those are really the only options i have in the wizard. outside the wizard, i looked at different options, and nothing jumped out as being incorrect. since the bulk of my troubleshooting always involves going online to see what others have done, this became frustrating, not being able to get online... so i hooked up my old router again, to see if i could turn up any suggestions for other dlink routers, because there's absolutely no information about the 890L out there yet.

so one derp for me. all i had to do was restart the modem and everything connected just fine. i'll update in a bit with my impressions on performance.

EDIT: ok, tried a few different casual tests. i have a 'download' station where i get my tv shows and whatnot from, and then i transfer those to my HTPC on the other side of the basement. the download pc is wired, htpc is wireless. in the past i was struggling to get 1MB/s, often lower. now i know a BIG part of this is also the upgrade to the asus ac68 wifi card, but now i'm getting around 2.5MB/s. which is still not impressive, because these are external drives i'm transferring it to. when i transfer to the desktop(i have a m.2 ssd for the OS), i'm able to get a steady rate between 11.1-11.4MB/s.

some other minor improvements.
-my old dlink 655 did not want to work on channel 1 for some reason. the signal was sporatic, and often too weak. but that is by far the best channel for me to operate in for 2.4ghz band. fortunately the 890L has no problem maintaining a steady signal on channel 1. this is not a huge deal, but it's nice.
-i'm out of the crowded 2.4ghz band finally, and it appears as though NONE of my close neighbours are using 5ghz. i have no competition right now in that band. the 890L has automatically connected to my htpc(asus 68 ac wifi card) on one of the 5ghz channels, and my other wireless n devices on the other.
-signal strength is slightly stronger, i was getting -49 to -52db's before, now it's -39 to -43db. (measured at my htpc, which is only about 20feet away from the router)

unfortunately i have not had a chance to test out the streaming much. my bd player, which has always been finnicky, wouldn't connect to the internet until i manually entered all the info, and now it seems to hang when i try to load up Mediabrowser on it. I think i'll have to reinstall MB3 on it, seems like I had to do that for my other clients as well.

anyway, I was able to successfully stream a low bitrate 1080p video(the interview) to my laptop which played relatively stutter-free(I'm guessing this is the limitation of my 8yr old laptop's integrated graphics) and a medium bitrate 1080p video(standard digital copy of 22 jump street) to my phone at the same time.


so, again, no idea how this would compare to the asus 68u or other high end ac router, but it's a HUGE leap from my old dir655. with the new asus wifi card, I'm getting very impressive results so far.
You should be good with any AC -> AC streaming. When I was using a wireless bridge between floors of my home I would regularly test 375-425mbps between the PCs at each end of the bridge. A full BD rip will max out at 50mbps and most run consistently around 20-25mbps. I would guess the laptop stuttering is due more to the decoding process than it is to the network.

Say what you want, but that router still looks scary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You should be good with any AC -> AC streaming. When I was using a wireless bridge between floors of my home I would regularly test 375-425mbps between the PCs at each end of the bridge. A full BD rip will max out at 50mbps and most run consistently around 20-25mbps. I would guess the laptop stuttering is due more to the decoding process than it is to the network.

Say what you want, but that router still looks scary.
yeah, I don't really have the clients to really showcase the router(in theory). my laptop is old, it won't play high quality 1080p video that's stored on the internal SSD, so the graphics are weak, but it's also using the same wifi card that came with it in 2004 or whenever I bought it. the only thing that's AC is my htpc, and I wanted that because I can't wire it to my router, and it could be streaming to 2 places at once, so it needs to be the fastest connection I can get. the other clients are wireless n at best, so I'm not expecting full BD's to stream, in all honesty I'm not sure they'd play if I could? but hopefully the 8-12gb rips will work.


I find it funny all the comments online about how ugly the router is. it's not exactly a product I think needs to be aesthetically pleasing. hide it and forget it. I don't mind the way it looks, but I'm not going to avoid buying a router based on appearance. there was one website where all the guys were talking about how ugly it was, and making comments like it was designed to attract 12yrs olds or something. it SEEMED like on one hand they were saying it was so stupid to buy a router based on looks(I agree), but at the same time they were totally crossing this router off because of its looks(isn't that hypocritical?). either looks matter, or they don't. I say they don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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Just trying to figure out how they arrive at 1000mbps for the 2.4GHz band. Seems out of spec since I don't see any combination of 150 that divides evenly into 1000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just trying to figure out how they arrive at 1000mbps for the 2.4GHz band. Seems out of spec since I don't see any combination of 150 that divides evenly into 1000.
i don't understand ANY of it. but i think that's because ac1900 routers are only getting 80mbps in the 2.4ghz band, and 500mbps in the 5ghz band...

so for all know 1000mbps rating means it might actually get 450mbps? probably not though

i look at these 'ratings' about the same way that tv's rate contrast ratio. generally speaking, the higher the better, but it means very little until somebody ACTUALLY tests it. i assume dlinks ac5300 will be faster than the ac3200, but i have no idea what it will actually be capable of. the 2,165mbps seems like an unexpected value as well.

so far, i haven't seen anybody else post a speed achieve with the 890L, and the best i've seen personally is a hair over 13MB/s for a brief period, then it almost always drops to 11.xMB/s for the remainder of the transfer. i'm pretty sure that's in the 100mbps range, not the 1300 it says it can do. but i don't really know what i'm doing for testing.
 

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Nice review and information fierce_gt. Been looking for some user feedback.

The 600Mb and 1000Mb and such that you see on the box or the web site, those refer to actual device to router connection rates that these routers support. So if you have device HW that supports 600Mb or 1000Mb on 2.4ghz, that will be the connection rate those devices handshake with the router and connect with. This differs from actual data flow or transfer rates between the device thru the router from it's source. I have seen 450Mb on 2.4ghz using adapters that support that kind of connection rate on 2.4Ghz. I have one router that does 600Mb now however I don't have anything to support that connection rate...yet.

One idea you can do with your old DIR-655 router, you can help it out by installing a 5Ghz D-Link model DAP which would work well. For those looking to upgrade there 2.4Ghz only router to have 5ghz, you can install a D-Link model DAP that support 5Ghz as a Wireless AP and you'll be good to go. The DIR-655 is a great router and work well.

Anyone looking for help and information about D-link products, please visit the D-Link forums:
http://forums.dlink.com

There is a forum thread for the DIR-890L and DIR-655.

Enjoy and hope it works well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Nice review and information fierce_gt. Been looking for some user feedback.

The 600Mb and 1000Mb and such that you see on the box or the web site, those refer to actual device to router connection rates that these routers support. So if you have device HW that supports 600Mb or 1000Mb on 2.4ghz, that will be the connection rate those devices handshake with the router and connect with. This differs from actual data flow or transfer rates between the device thru the router from it's source. I have seen 450Mb on 2.4ghz using adapters that support that kind of connection rate on 2.4Ghz. I have one router that does 600Mb now however I don't have anything to support that connection rate...yet.

One idea you can do with your old DIR-655 router, you can help it out by installing a 5Ghz D-Link model DAP which would work well. For those looking to upgrade there 2.4Ghz only router to have 5ghz, you can install a D-Link model DAP that support 5Ghz as a Wireless AP and you'll be good to go. The DIR-655 is a great router and work well.

Anyone looking for help and information about D-link products, please visit the D-Link forums:
http://forums.dlink.com

There is a forum thread for the DIR-890L and DIR-655.

Enjoy and hope it works well for you.
I realize the quoted numbers are mostly theoretical. but when several review sites are getting 400-500mbps for their tests, I was a little surprised that the best transfer speed I got was around 100mbps between the router and an asus ac68 wifi card(ac1900 speed rated). unless maybe my desktop is so old it doesn't have a gigabit Ethernet port. I actually hadn't thought of that, but a 100mbps cap seems almost too coincidental. i'll have to look into that

EDIT: that's exactly my issue. I only have a 100mbps Ethernet connection on my desktop. who would have thought my wired connection would be the bottleneck...

there's nothing that could be done with the dir655 for my needs. it's gonna be spending some time in a drawer for now. it did its job, but that job has higher demands now and it's time to move on.
 
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