Introduction

External design and hardware

Setting-up procedures and firmware upgrade

Web-interface

Utilities

Testing

Conclusion

Introduction

Our testing laboratory hosted one more device of D-Link company from the product line of wireless routers with the support of IEEE 802.11ac standard draft. The description of DIR-860L is slightly inferior to a leading device DIR-868L reviewed by us earlier. Okay, let’s get started!

External design and hardware

D-Link DIR-860L router comes in a cylindrical black glossy plastic case with the dimensions of 120x192x99 mm. The device is powered with the help of an external adapter (included in the box) with the parameters 12V and 2A.

The upper panel has a round ventilation cover with the model name.

The great part of the bottom panel is a ventilation grate. In addition, four rubber legs, a sticker with the model name and a variety of useful information, such as the serial number, SSID, firmware version and so on are located here. The Reset button is also placed here.

The front panel of the router has two LEDs indicating power and Internet access.

On the rear panel there are five Gigabit Ethernet interfaces: four LAN and one WAN ports. Moreover, a USB 3.0 port, power button, WPS button used for facilitation of wireless client connection and a power outlet are located here. Located on the sides of the case there are 3D brand tags.

Now let's have a look at the insides of the router. The hardware platform of the device consists of the only green textolite plate covered with a protective screen on one side.

The only accessible for review microchip is Spansion S34ML01G100TF100 flash memory module with the capacity of 128 Mbytes.

Now let's review the initial settings of the router.

Setting-up procedures and firmware upgrade

Firstly, it is necessary to plug the device in, after that to connect one of LAN ports of the router to a NIC of a PC. Then one should go to dlinkrouter.local or 192.168.0.1 address using any browser. Upon the first launch the system displays the setup wizard with the help of which one can configure the Internet connection, a wireless network and set some system parameters. On this page one can also see hardware and firmware versions.

By default, a session timer is enabled. If a user is not active for three minutes, s/he has to login again.

Firmware upgrade is not a necessary condition, but we strongly recommend performing it. One can do this in FIRMWARE menu item in TOOLS tab. Upgrade may be carried out both in automatic and semi-automatic mode. In the first case it’s enough just to download the latest firmware version from the vendor‘s web site, but in the second case one should upload a file with the firmware from the computer.

In addition to all this, the user has an ability to perform initial settings of the device with the help of a mobile application QRS Mobile.

After the initial settings procedure is completed, an interaction with the firmware is carried out via the web-interface.

Web-interface

All available settings of the router are rather convenient grouped into tabs, which in their turn have several items. Let’s review the most interesting of them.

Manual configuration of the Internet connection is performed in INTERNET menu item, SETUP tab. The user can choose the following types: Static IP, PPTP, L2TP, PPPoE and so on.

Settings of a wireless segment of the network are placed in WIRELESS SETTINGS item in the same tab. The user has an ability to enter the parameters of security and operation mode for 2,4 GHz as well as for 5 GHz frequency range. The router supports such security protocols as WEP, WPA and WPA2.

To configure the DHCP-server and to review the list of DHCP clients one should go to NETWORK SETTINGS menu item.

For organizing a cloud storage one should allow accessing to the USB storage plugged into the router. One can do it with the help of STORAGE menu item. In addition, one can enable DLNA and iTunes servers in MEDIA SERVER item.

The router supports IPv6 protocol. All parameters for IPv6 connection are located in the same item.

For more detailed settings of the device one should go to ADVANCED tab. The user is provided with such standard functions as creating of virtual servers, for example, FTP or a web-server, and MAC address filtering. PORT FORWARDING item allows the user to forward a range of ports from the external network to the internal one, but in this case public and private ports should match. For comparison, in case of creating a virtual server forwarding of a port also takes place, but the administrator has an ability to set external and internal ports as different.

One can change the rules of traffic service with the help of QOS ENGINE menu item. The user specifies a queue for the traffic of this or that application and sets the weights of these queues.

In FIREWALL SETTINGS item the administrator has an ability to configure DMZ for providing access from the Internet to the devices of the local network.

Detailed settings of the wireless network segment are located in ADVANCED WIRELES item. Here one can enable a mode of coexistence for channels with the width of 20 and 40 MHz for 2,4 GHz frequency range, and set QoS rules with the help of WMM function.

ADVANCED NETWORK menu item contains additional network settings. For example, an ability to specify WAN port speed or enabling multicasting for IPv4 or IPv6

One more interesting function available to the owners of the device is Guest Zone. In the item of the same name one can set the name (SSID) of the guest network and security mode. As DIR-860L supports two frequency ranges, one can configure no more than two guest networks working simultaneously. Clients of main and guest wireless networks obtain IP-addresses from different subnets, and Enable Routing Between Zones option allows enabling routing between guest networks and ordinary client hosts.

Now let’s pass on to TOOLS tab. It presents various system settings of the device, such as logging, saving and restoring settings and so on.

At last, SUPPORT tab contains rather convenient and detailed help information on working with the router.

That's where we proceed to completion of the review about the most interesting capabilities of the web-interface and pass directly on to no less interesting utilities for working with the router.

Utilities

Owners of D-Link DIR-860L wireless router have an ability to interact with the device with the help of their mobile device: a smartphone or a tablet. For this D-Link company offers several applications, which are used to facilitate the management process.

With the help of mydlink SharePort application the user can get access from any mobile device to his/her personal cloud storage created on the basis of the router and the USB driver plugged into it.

If it’s necessary to manage the device remotely, mydlink Lite utility is rather useful. With the help of it one can control the network from anywhere.

In overage, the utilities are a pleasant addition to the ways of management of the router. Now let’s pass on to testing of the router capabilities.

Testing

The first test our laboratory usually carries out is estimating the booting time of the router, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. DIR-860L boots in 48 seconds that is a decent result.

The next test was a security scanning procedure of the router. To perform this we use Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility. There were eleven open ports discovered, the security of the services rises no criticism. However, on enabling SMB support there were several probable vulnerabilities discovered. The most interesting data of this test are presented below.

Before getting down to performance tests, we would like to get our readers familiar with the key parameters of the test stand we used.

Component PC Notebook
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VI Extreme ASUS M60J
CPU Intel Core i7 4770K 3.5 ГГц Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 ГГц
RAM DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Гбайта DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Гбайт
NIC Intel PRO/1000 PT
ASUS PCE-AC68
Atheros AR8131
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

 

At first, let’s review the performance of the wireless network segment. The router works within two frequency ranges: 2,4 GHz and 5 GHz. In addition, for the frequency of 2,4 GHz one can enable 20/40 Coexistence Mechanism technology. We have tested all possible ways, the results of measuring are presented at the diagrams below.

Let’s find out the performance of DIR-860L during performing NAT/PAT translations.

Not all routers can boast the support of MPPE, but DIR-860L can encrypt the traffic transmitted via a tunnel. So we cannot but test the work of the device with encrypted VPN connections.

The router can work not only with the current version of IPv4 protocol, but also with its next generation – IPv6. The results of tests for working in IPv6 network are presented below.

We didn’t disregard the capability of plugging an external USB storage drive into D-Link DIR-860L and used an external hard drive Transcend StoreJet 25M3 of 750 Gbytes for this.

Unfortunately, we have not managed to make DIR-860L detect the drive if it was not formatted with EXT2/EXT3 file systems that was a bit surprising for us, taking into account that Linux is used as OS with high probability. It’s worth noting that the vendor didn’t declare the support of the specified file systems, but we would like to have such support. Moreover, we would recommend users to plug additional power adapters into external hard drives if it’s provided by the user manual of the storage drive.

After the testing was completed, we decided to measure the temperature of the device’s case and used for this our lab pyrometer ADA TempPro-2200. The maximum temperature we have discovered was 39,8°C. We consider it a decent result.

That’s where we proceed to completion of the testing of the device and pass directly on to the conclusion.

Conclusion

On the whole, D-Link DIR-860L wireless router made good impression on us. The support of the IEEE 802.11ac standard draft, IPv6 protocol and impressive number of utilities for remote management of the device showed that the router is almost similar to its “elder brother” DIR-868L. Among the weak areas of the tested model it’s worth noting that the web-interface is not translated to Russian (the primary setup wizard is available in Russian) that may make detailed settings of the device more difficult for the users from the post-Soviet space.

The strength areas of D-Link DIR-860L wireless router are the following.

  • High routing-with NAT-speeds
  • Support of IPv6
  • USB 3.0 port
  • Support of two frequency ranges
  • Support of IEEE 802.11ac draft
  • Ability of remote management of the router via mobile devices

Unfortunately, we cannot help but to mention the discovered drawbacks.

  • The web-interface is not translated to Russian
  • No support of EXT2/EXT3 file systems

When this review was being written, the average price of D-Link DIR-860L wireless router in online shops of Moscow was 5100 roubles.

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