It’s been a long time since our lab tested a compact wireless device. Lately we most often review top routers of considerable dimensions and weight. But wait! The time to make up for it comes now. Please welcome, D-Link DIR-806А.
D-Link DIR-806A wireless router comes in a black plastic case with two dismountable dual-band antennae that have the gain ratio of 5 dBi. The device has dimensions of 115x81x22 mm (not considering the antennae). To work properly the device needs an external power unit (included in the box) with the following characteristics: 5 V and 1.2 А.
The upper panel of the device consists of two parts, the one is opaque and the other one is glossy, and doesn't have anything remarkable on it apart from a ventilation grate and the model name.
The side panels also have ventilation grates located on them. There is also a microUSB port located on one of them, which is used only for connection of an external power supply unit.
On the front panel there are LEDs indicating status of the device and its ports as well as the WPS button meant for resetting the user settings and adding devices into a local wireless network in an easier way.
The largest part of the bottom panel of the router is a ventilation grate. Apart from it, there are a sticker with brief information about the device and four rubber legs for desk-mounting of the router. Wall mounting is not applicable.
Now let's have a look at the insides of the case.
Hardware stuffing of the wireless router is one green textolite card. The system is powered by Realtek RTL8881AQA SoC CPU. A RTL8192ER microchip of the same-named brand is charged with duties associated with wireless connections. Winbond W9751G6KB-25 chip with the size of 64 Mbytes performs functions of the RAM. The thing about the card that surprised us the most was the usage of an aerial cable. To tell you the truth, we see something like this for the first time.
That is where we bring the review of the hardware platform of D-Link DIR-806A wireless router to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.
Firmware upgrade is carried out in Firmware Upgrade section, System group of the router web-interface. It may be carried out both in a manual and semi-automatic mode. As a matter of course, firmware upgrade in the semi-automatic mode is available only if the router is connected to the Internet. In order to upgrade the firmware manually the user will need to download the firmware upgrade file from the vendor's website. The whole firmware upgrade process takes about four minutes and does not require any technical proficiency from an administrator.
Manual firmware upgrade can be done using Information item, Home menu, too. The administrator will need to click on the link that features data about the current firmware version in order to do this.
It's worth mentioning that the information about the current firmware version is located in the title on every page of the web-interface.
That is where we bring review of the firmware upgrade process to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of the device web-interface.
One can access the router web-interface using any modern browser. When this article was being written, the web-interface was available in seven languages. The admin password will have to be chosen upon the first login to the system.
And though the web-interface of DIR-806A is different from those we got used to, we will not review all of its capabilities in detail but only focus on the most interesting ones.
Upon successful authentication the administrator will find him/herself on Information page, Home group, where brief information about the device is presented.
Click'n'Connect item in the same group is used in order to launch the wireless network settings wizard for connection to the Internet service provider and help the user facilitate the primary configuration of the wireless network and IPTV.
One can choose the operation mode of the wireless module using Wireless network settings wizard item.
The other two items in Home group are used to configure port forwarding (virtual server) for providing access to a certain service located in the local network externally as well as specify the interface to which the set-top box is connected.
Monitoring menu item contains the current network layout and key settings.
Items in Status group feature statistical data, information about the current routing table, connected clients and their active sessions as well as data about multicast traffic.
Settings of the router LAN and WAN interfaces are located in Net group. Apart from the IP parameters that are statically and dynamically configured, the following connection methods to the provider are supported too: PPTP, L2TP, and PPPoE.
The main wireless network operation parameters are located in items of Basic settings sub-group, Wi-Fi group. Availability of information on wireless channel utilization came to be a nice feature.
Selection of the encryption mode and specifying the key for every of the wireless ranges can be done using items in Security settings sub-group in the same group.
Client filtering based on their MAC addresses is done using MAC Filter sub-group.
Items in Additional settings sub-group are used in order to manage transmitter power, channel bandwidth, and other auxiliary parameters.
Apart from performing functions of an access point for the wireless network, the model under review can act as a wireless client too and get connected to existing networks. The respective settings are located in Client item, Wi-Fi group. Upon adjusting DIR-806A (in the wireless router mode) as a wireless client the device can actually be considered a WISP repeater, performing translation of NAT/PAT addresses of the devices connected to the router. When DIR-806A functions as an access point, the activation of the wireless client mode will make the device perform functions of a wireless network client or wireless network repeater.
Management of virtual networks is carried out using VLAN item in Advanced group.
Specifying the preferred version of IGMP and selection of the supported protocols can be done using Miscellaneous page in Advanced group.
Parameters of the router automatic configuration using TR-069 protocol are located in TR-069 Client item.
Management of virtual servers as well as traffic filtration parameters can be done using items in Firewall group whilst URL filtration can be managed in Control group.
Items and sub-groups of System group let the administrator change the web-interface password, manage settings, obtain access to log information, upgrade firmware, manage date and time settings, check the availability of certain clients using ICMP, select the device operation mode, and enable or disable access via Telnet protocol.
It's also worth noticing that the most widely used commands are always available to the user, irrespective of what menu item is open at the moment, via System link located in the page title.
That is where we bring review of D-Link DIR-806A wireless router web-interface to a conclusion and pass on to examining the capabilities of its command line.
Access to the device command line using Telnet protocol is enabled by default. In order to access the command line one must use the same log-on information as for the connection to the device web-interface. BusyBox 1.19.2 library is installed in Linux OS with a 188.8.131.52 kernel on the router.
dlinkap login: admin
_______ ___ __ ____ _ _ ___
| ___ \ | | |__|| \ | || | / /
| | | || ___ | |__ __ | \| || |/ /
| |___| || |___| | || || |\ || \
|_______/ |______||__||_| \____||_|\___\
= Building Networks for People =
BusyBox v1.19.2 (2015-04-24 15:20:30 MSK) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
BusyBox v1.19.2 (2015-04-24 15:20:30 MSK) multi-call binary.
Copyright (C) 1998-2011 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, Denys Vlasenko
and others. Licensed under GPLv2.
See source distribution for full notice.
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
or: busybox --list[-full]
or: function [arguments]...
BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
utilities into a single executable. Most people will create a
link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
will act like whatever it was invoked as.
Currently defined functions:
[, [[, ash, basename, brctl, cat, cp, crond, crontab, date, dd, echo, false, free, grep,
gunzip, gzip, halt, hexdump, httpd, ifconfig, insmod, kill, killall, klogd, ln, logger,
login, logread, ls, lsmod, md5sum, mkdir, mount, nc, nice, nslookup, ntpd, passwd, ping,
pmap, poweroff, ps, reboot, renice, rm, rmmod, route, sh, sleep, syslogd, tail, tar,
telnetd, test, top, touch, traceroute, true, umount, zcat
$ cat /proc/version
Linux version 184.108.40.206 (builder@rd) (gcc version 4.4.5-1.5.5p4 (GCC) ) #1 Fri Apr 24 15:18:22 MSK 2015
Let's see what processes are currently running on the device using ps command. By using top utility one can obtain information on the current activity of the launched processes.
PID USER VSZ STAT COMMAND
1 admin 1780 S /sbin/init
2 admin 0 SW< [kthreadd]
3 admin 0 SW< [ksoftirqd/0]
4 admin 0 SW< [events/0]
5 admin 0 SW< [khelper]
6 admin 0 SW< [async/mgr]
7 admin 0 SW< [kblockd/0]
8 admin 0 SW [pdflush]
9 admin 0 SW< [kswapd0]
14 admin 0 SW< [mtdblockd]
19 admin 2300 S resident[mngr]: building networks for people...
137 admin 776 S iwcontrol wlan0 wlan1
149 admin 740 S /usr/sbin/link_watcher 0
151 admin 1176 S klogd
153 admin 1212 S syslogd -S -m 0 -C32 -l 6
232 admin 1184 S httpd -p 80
234 admin 1184 S telnetd -p 23
236 admin 2360 S tr069
238 admin 1028 S miniupnpd -f /tmp/miniupnpd.conf
240 nobody 972 S dnsmasq --keep-in-foreground --conf-file=/tmp/dnsmas
243 admin 972 S dnsmasq --keep-in-foreground --conf-file=/tmp/dnsmas
248 admin 2300 S resident[wrkr]: waiting for something...
3722 admin 1184 R -sh
4210 admin 1184 R ps
Mem: 17512K used, 36212K free, 0K shrd, 1760K buff, 6088K cached
CPU: 0% usr 0% sys 0% nic 100% idle 0% io 0% irq 0% sirq
Load average: 0.00 0.00 0.00 1/24 4215
PID PPID USER STAT VSZ %VSZ %CPU COMMAND
236 1 admin S 2360 4% 0% tr069
248 19 admin S 2300 4% 0% resident[wrkr]: waiting for something
19 1 admin S 2300 4% 0% resident[mngr]: building networks for
1 0 admin S 1780 3% 0% /sbin/init
153 1 admin S 1212 2% 0% syslogd -S -m 0 -C32 -l 6
234 1 admin S 1184 2% 0% telnetd -p 23
232 1 admin S 1184 2% 0% httpd -p 80
3722 234 admin S 1184 2% 0% -sh
4215 3722 admin R 1184 2% 0% top
151 1 admin S 1176 2% 0% klogd
238 1 admin S 1028 2% 0% miniupnpd -f /tmp/miniupnpd.conf
240 1 nobody S 972 2% 0% dnsmasq --keep-in-foreground --conf-f
243 240 admin S 972 2% 0% dnsmasq --keep-in-foreground --conf-f
137 1 admin S 776 1% 0% iwcontrol wlan0 wlan1
149 1 admin S 740 1% 0% /usr/sbin/link_watcher 0
14 2 admin SW< 0 0% 0% [mtdblockd]
4 2 admin SW< 0 0% 0% [events/0]
5 2 admin SW< 0 0% 0% [khelper]
2 0 admin SW< 0 0% 0% [kthreadd]
^C 3 2 admin SW< 0 0% 0% [ksoftirqd/0]
Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM.
$ cd /proc
4244 tty kpagecount phyRegTest
3722 bus kpageflags br_mldsnoop
248 sys crypto phyPower
243 irq diskstats reInitSwitchCore
240 misc partitions mtd
238 execdomains gpio gc_overflow_timout
236 ioports usb_mode_detect alg
234 iomem load_default hw_nat
232 timer_list rf_switch url_filter
153 modules watchdog_reboot qos
151 buddyinfo wlan0 br_wlanblock
149 pagetypeinfo wlan0-vxd br_igmpsnoop
137 vmstat wlan0-va0 br_igmpDb
19 zoneinfo wlan0-va1 br_mCastFastFwd
14 vmallocinfo wlan0-va2 br_igmpVersion
9 swaps wlan0-va3 br_igmpquery
8 slabinfo wlan1 br_igmpQuerierInfo
7 filesystems wlan1-vxd br_mldQuerierInfo
6 locks wlan1-va0 br_mldVersion
5 cmdline wlan1-va1 br_mldquery
4 cpuinfo wlan1-va2 br_igmpProxy
3 devices wlan1-va3 enable_dos
2 interrupts custom_Passthru_wlan filter_table
1 loadavg rtl865x fast_pptp
self meminfo eth0 pptp_conn_ck
mounts stat eth1 fast_l2tp
net uptime custom_Passthru fast_hello_reply
sysvipc version peth0 fast_pppoe
fs kcore StormCtrl fast_nat
driver kmsg eee suspend_check
$ cat uptime
$ cat loadavg
0.00 0.00 0.00 1/24 4258
$ cat cpuinfo
system type : RTL8881a
processor : 0
cpu model : 56322
BogoMIPS : 519.37
hardware watchpoint : no
tlb_entries : 64
mips16 implemented : yes
$ cat meminfo
MemTotal: 53724 kB
MemFree: 36248 kB
Buffers: 1760 kB
Cached: 6092 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 4036 kB
Inactive: 5300 kB
Active(anon): 1484 kB
Inactive(anon): 0 kB
Active(file): 2552 kB
Inactive(file): 5300 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 1496 kB
Mapped: 1580 kB
Slab: 7468 kB
SReclaimable: 440 kB
SUnreclaim: 7028 kB
PageTables: 192 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 26860 kB
Committed_AS: 3732 kB
VmallocTotal: 1048404 kB
VmallocUsed: 328 kB
VmallocChunk: 1045688 kB
We have placed the contents of /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, and /usr/sbin below.
webs usr sys root opt lib64 lib etc bin
var tmp sbin proc mnt lib32 home dev VERSION
$ ls /bin
zcat sleep pppd ln igmpx dd
wscd sh ping l2tpd iapp date
urlfilterd rm nice kill gzip cp
umount resident_cli mount iwpriv gunzip chat
uboot.img resident modprobe iwlist grep cat
true ps mkdir iwcontrol false busybox
touch pptp ls iwconfig echo auth
tar pppoe-relay login ip dnsmasq_script ash
$ ls /sbin
tr069 reboot lsmod iwspy iwconfig halt button_test
syslogd poweroff logread iwpriv insmod event
route miniupnpd led_test iwlist init ebtables
rmmod mfc klogd iwgetid ifconfig dcfg
$ ls /usr/bin
udhcpc tail nslookup logger hexdump [[
traceroute renice nc killall free [
top pmap mtd_write iptables-xml crontab
test passwd md5sum inadyn basename
$ ls /usr/sbin
zebra ntpd iptables-restore drop_caches arptables
vconfig notify_all iptables-multi dnsmasq
telnetd link_watcher iptables crond
ripd iptables-save httpd brctl
That is where we bring a brief review of the router command line to a conclusion and pass directly on to testing it.
The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP protocol. D-Link DIR-806A wireless router boots in 31 seconds. We believe that the result is decent.
The second traditional test was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility. On the whole, there were eight open ports discovered. The most interesting data of those we obtained are presented below.
Before getting straight down to performance tests we would like to mention the key specifications of the test stand we used.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Extreme||ASUS M60J|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 4790K 4 GHz||Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz|
|RAM||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Gbytes|
|NIC||Intel PRO/1000 PT
|OS||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus|
We decided to start the performance tests with evaluating user data transmission speeds upon performing of NAT/PAT translations. The tests were carried out with 1, 5, and 15 concurrent TCP sessions.
Apart from performing translations, DIR-806A can carry out common routing too.
The most important tests for the users who live on the territory of ex-Soviet bloc countries are device performance measurements upon operation of tunnel connections. Our experience tells us that the usage of PPTP connections loads routers the most and that's exactly why we decided to make the measurements using this protocol. On the diagram below one can see the results of the measurements of user data transfer speeds upon a PPTP connection that uses neither encryption nor data compression.
Naturally, data compression and even more so encryption reduce the performance considerably. Upon using data compression in the tunnel without encryption we could not perform the measurements in a complete way because the VPN connection failed in both directions when 15 concurrent TCP sessions were established. That's why the diagram below only has data about ten concurrent connections. It's worth mentioning that usually service providers do not use data compression and/or encryption for PPTP tunnels in their networks and that's why we don't think that the detected problem is serious. However, we still notified the vendor about this and we were told that this bug will be fixed in the next firmware versions. But our readers can already use the diagrams presented below in order to review the obtained speeds.
Performance tests of D-Link DIR-806A router wireless segment turned out to be really interesting, too. Its wireless segment supports both frequency ranges: 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
After receiving results of these measurements it looked like the bottleneck was not the module itself but the wired network. That's why we connected two wired clients and performed simultaneous transfer of data between one wireless and two wired clients.
Our concerns proved to be right: the wired segment performance was the bottleneck.
That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.
We are glad about D-Link DIR-806A wireless router we tested. It has good performance, doesn't cost much, and is pretty small. We would call it a nice standard model that will be a perfect choice for the majority of common users of the Internet who don't need the highest speeds and performance results but neither want to have a slow connection.
Among the strength areas of D-Link DIR-806A wireless router are the following.
- Good device performance upon operation with VPN
- Small size
- Great wireless speeds
- Availability of information on utilization of wireless channels in the web-interface
- Competitive price
- Support of virtual networks (VLAN)
Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention certain drawbacks of the model.
- No IPv6 support
- The device is pretty unstable upon usage of PPTP together with MPPC compression
As of when this article was being written, the average price for D-Link DIR-806A wireless router in Moscow online shops was 2288 roubles.