You don’t often think about what kind of router you’re using -- it’s usually not even in the same room as you. If it is, it’s probably hidden away behind or underneath something, and only comes to mind when you have internet issues and think “I should restart my router”. That’s why it was pretty surprising to be asked to review the D-Link AC5300 Router.
The box it comes in is pretty big, and illustrates that this isn’t something you’ll hide with ease. The box contains a CD with related software, a quick installation guide, D-Link Cloud apps leaflet & Warranty information, as well as a phone cable, 1.5m long CAT-5 cable and both UK & US plugs. It also has some wall mounting screws, if that’s your thing.
I was honestly surprised by the size of the router itself, as it’s easily twice the size of any router I’ve ever owned, at 4.5 x 25 x 22 cm. It also has eight aerials, something I’ve never had, though I suppose you only have to attach as many as you like. Obviously, the more you attach, the wider and more stable your Wi-Fi connection will be.
On the front of the unit are the usual indicator lights for power and connection status. The rear of it has a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, power and four ethernet connections. There is also a slot for the internet connection from a fibre router, and buttons for power, WPS and reset. The final thing is a switch which allows you to switch between Router and Extender mode.
I would conservatively estimate that over 50% of the unit is made up of vents, which I wouldn’t outright say is a negative thing. Unfortunately, due to having internet issues unrelated to the router, I wasn’t able to test this for an extreme length of time to see what kind of heat it generated if left on for weeks at a time.
Once all of the wires were hooked up, setting up the router is painless, done through your browser. It’s all made clear in the quick start instructions, so you shouldn’t have an issue if you don’t have a DVD drive for the included CD.
Since I had all of the antennas attached, the range on the Wi-Fi was stronger than my old aerial-less router. I lost connection less often, for one thing. Speed-wise, I didn’t notice much difference, if any. I have a fibre connection, so it’s pretty speedy no matter the router. This was the same for both extender and router modes.
If you’re in the market for a new router, there’s nothing that would instantly disqualify the AC5300 from consideration. It’s a tad expensive, and very big, but does exactly what it should.
D-Link AC5300 Mu-MIMO Ultra Wi-Fi Router Review
It's huge, but does what you expect it to do. The large amount of aerials allow the Wi-Fi range to extend further than you might expect.