The DIR-869 is a dual-band Wi-Fi router and certainly has the looks.
The spec sheet reads pretty good too; Four LAN ports, automatic band selection and beamforming.
Is it pretty enough to turn my head away from my Linksys EA7500? Maybe. Has it got the necessary chops to keep me interested after the first date?
Well, we’d better have a look. Hadn’t we?
D-Link EXO DIR-869 design
I do love routers that look like they’ve come fresh from the special projects lab of a military hardware maker. This is fortunate, as the DIR-869’s stealth fighter aesthetics mixed with just enough Area 51 is just that.
It shares its looks with the more technically beefed-up DIR-879. You can also tell that it comes from the same stable, or should I say hanger, as the DIR-890L Tri-Band offering from D-Link.
The antennas have some neat geometric patterning on the outside, whilst their inner most panels are left a shiny, glossy black.
The router measures 8.72 x 6.30 x 2.38-inches and so you should not have any difficulty in finding a place to put this compact device. Although, the colouring may make it difficult to blend in with your decor.
The back of the DIR-869 is home to four wired Gigabit Ethernet ports and a WAN (Internet) port. There are also Reset, Power, and WPS switches around here too. One more switch allows you to toggle between using the EXO as a router or a Wi-Fi extender.
The observant amongst you will have noticed a distinct lack of USB ports. Not a single one.
D-Link DIR-869 performance
Having flown the 890L I am familiar with D-Link’s web-based management console.
It is very intuitive with the Home page displaying a simple network map with DHCP, IP address, and Internet connection status information.
Through the Settings menu you can use the Wizard or get your fingers dirty with the DHCP, PPPoE, and Static IP settings. Flick over to the Network page and you can edit LAN IP Address, Subnet Mask, and advanced DHCP settings.
The Features menu offers QoS, Firewall, Port Forwarding, and Website Filtering settings. Finally, the Management menu has Internet access scheduling, system logs, data transmission statistics, and firmware upgrades.
AC1750 comes from its wireless spec of 11AC Wi-Fi – Up to 450Mbps (2.4GHz) + 1300Mbps (5GHz). The next step up in the EXO range gives you AC1900. That one brings the 2.4GHz band up to 600Mbs.
- 450Mbs + 1300Mbps = AC1750
- 600Mbs + 1300Mbps = AC1900
Installing the DIR-869 was done within 15 minutes all told.
Simply connect the router to your modem and then either connect a laptop or PC direct and head over to 192.168.0.1 via your browser, or go in via your mobile device.
You will have to log in using the default credentials at this point, naturally.
Rename the SSID and update the password to your usual network preferences and Robert is your mother’s brother.
My first gripe is that DIR-869 spends most of its time looking like a stallion pawing at the air.
I don’t think my Ethernet cables are heavier than anyone else’s nor are they so short that they are pulling at the router. But, still, if I have the DIR-869 with its back to the edge of the unit it stands on so that the cables run behind it, the EXO will start to point skywards.
Speeds were never going to match the AC1900 Linksys EA7500, it may have been more sporting to have had the DIR-879 to compare (this is on its way to me I have just been told).
As the 2.4GHz speeds were already skewed in the home team’s favour I turned to the 5GHz band.
The Linksys managed to clock a good few Mbps more than the DIR-869. I doubt that most people would notice the difference to be honest unless you’re dealing with large file streaming.
I generally use the 5GHz for my mobile phone and tablet (admin privileges) but I did find that the signal dropped sometimes when I was upstairs. Overall though, the signal strength is pretty good from the DIR-869’s quad aerial set-up.
D-Link AC1750 EXO (DIR-869) review conclusion
The D-Link AC1750 EXO is a very good looking 802.11ac Wi-Fi router.
It might not be able to match AC1900 device,s but then, AC1750 normally won’t.
The EXO DIR-869 does a lot of things well. It also manages to fit a dual core processor, dual band Wi-Fi as well as four Gigabit Ethernet ports in to a rather small and attractive frame.
The lack of USB ports could be a deal breaker to some as this means you can’t share USB-equipped printers or storage devices. At the time of review, the Linksys would’ve cost you another £20-30. Now that it’s 6 months old, it’s actually £30 cheaper than the EXO DIR-869 and packs a pair of USBs and Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) simultaneous data streaming. It might not be as pretty or small, but it’s all down to what you’re after at the end of the day.
If you are looking for a stylish dual band Wi-Fi router that can handle most streaming challenges and have limited space. Then check out the D-Link AC1750 EXO (DIR-869).