D-Link DIR-2150 Review
The router is often the unsung hero of your home, working away quietly in the corner or up in a cupboard to deliver streaming video, audio, online gaming and various other content to all of your connected devices. A good router manages your network and can provide solid performance to all of your devices at the same time, won’t cause lag for your gaming and won’t leave you yelling at Netflix while it buffers. Today we are going to check out the D-Link DIR-2150 to see what it brings to the table and if it deserves a place in your house.
The DIR-2150 has a reasonably simple and sleek design that would not look out of place in a home office. The unit is a more traditional rectangular shape, has 4 large antennas, a clean looking row of LED’s and of course the logo on display. One very noticeable part of the design is the ventilation holes across the top of the device. Something myself and many others have experienced in the past in a router dropping connection or having issues due to heat and devices having a shorter lifespan due to overheating. In Australia this can be a real problem over summer especially when no one is home as the house is likely not being cooled. Not all of the holes across the top pass through for ventilation however there is a good amount which gives me confidence this device can stand up to the Australian climate and should be very reliable long term.
Along the back we have the standard arrangement of 4 LAN ports for your wired devices, a WAN port for the internet, and the usual power, reset and WPS buttons. The 4 antennas stand tall but are simple looking and do not draw too much attention. There are no over the top RGB lights, no crazy colours or funky space ship designs to be seen here which is fitting based on where I believe this router sits in the D-Link line up, but more on that later. I will say that the router does feel a little on the cheap side, it is very light and the plastic used does not have a premium feel but this is more of a personal opinion and is only noticeable if you are holding the device.
Setting up the DIR-2150 is a simple experience. Opening the box you find that the router is ready to go with the antenna attached. Part of the D-Link setup guide suggests using the D-Link Wi-Fi app to setup your device. The mobile app setup is designed to be simple, quick and easy to use so I will run through this first. The app installs quickly and after following the onscreen instructions you will be asked to power off the router if it was already on, connect your internet and then reboot it. The app will then go through some other setup including your Wi-Fi network names, ISP and asking about automatic updates. Once you save these settings it will update the router, reboot to apply and you are ready to go with the whole process only taking a couple of minutes. The process is much the same should you decide to connect to the router via a cable, you will be asked the same questions and proceed through the setup until your router is up and ready to go.
I should mention that my setup process hit a bump. Once it was all connected and ready to go I experienced a connectivity issue. In the end this was solved by kicking off my NBN connection at the ISP side (you may need to call support for this) and letting it re-sync. Doing some research this is likely related to my internet provider and not the DIR-2150, but it’s good to note for anyone who may get in the same situation. You could also try the “Release IP” option in the D-Link main menu as this could also help.
I covered the router setup using the D-Link Wi-Fi app and a cable connection above but what else is on offer.
Looking over the main interface (http://dlinkrouter.local/) things are clean and simple, the main menu is an overview with a couple of options to show you what your router is doing. The menus are easy to navigate and make sense. There is a link to show some advanced settings on some screens but for the most part they are not that in-depth and not really required.
Jumping over to the mobile app, after it runs through detecting your router you have an overview of connected devices and your connection status. There is a small cog in the top right that will bring up the main settings area where you are presented with a button style menu. From this settings area you can control your Wi-Fi networks, setup guest Wi-Fi, check clients and update your management settings. I like this app as it has most of the features you would find in the main interface but it is very user friendly and powerful without needing a degree in rocket surgery.
On the tech side, the DIR-2150 is well featured and has all of the usual suspects you would expect to see in a high-end router as well as a couple of interesting inclusions.
- Fast speeds up to 300 Mbps (2.4GHz) + 1733 Mbps (5GHz)
- 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports providing up to 1000Mbps for each of your wired devices
- A Gigabit internet port for your high speed internet connection
- Built in VPN
- Intelligent Quality Of Service (QOS) technology. QOS helps you to prioritise your important traffic
- Excellent parental controls to help protect your kids and control their online activity
- Support for 802.11k/v Mesh smart roaming. This will allow you to use one of D-Links range extenders to increase the coverage of your network in larger houses or buildings.
- WPA3 security. This is the latest standard in Wi-Fi security and improves on the older WPA2 standard. Increased security is a must in the modern connected world.
Everything above is great, added security, solid parental controls, smart QOS and mesh capabilities however for me the following is where things start to get really interesting.
- Google assistant and Alexa support are built in. You can use simple voice commands to control your guest network, provide credentials to your family and friends, restart your router and you can even ask it to update itself. As the voice control technology progresses and the assistants become more responsive and intelligent, more people will expect to see these features being added to every day devices. It is great to see D-Link included these features and will undoubtedly expand on the control abilities in future.
- MU-MIMO Technology. MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) was created to try and increase the capacity of wireless routers by using an increased number of antennas for transmitting and receiving data. The original MIMO was considered a single user system (SU-MIMO) and was able to run multiple streams of data for a single device. MU-MIMO is Multi User MIMO which allows the same multiple data streams for multiple devices. Put simply this feature allows better communication for each device on your network and can help to remove traffic issues and provide better, more stable performance.
Performance is always going to be a factor when choosing a networking device. We have run some basic performance tests below comparing the D-Link DIR-2150 to my current router (Asus RT-AC68U). My router is notably older but it is AC rated, has up to date firmware and is a popular model.
For these tests we have used a simple testing methodology: The best case scenario is not a real world indicator. Running a networking device in full isolation to see what it is capable of for 0.01% of the time isn’t going to help anyone. To see what people can actually expect we have configured both devices as a normal home router, they have the normal AC Wi-Fi setup (2.4GHz & 5GHz networks) and we have let the router control the connections. The devices are setup in a normal house and have other connections to handle such as streaming, Facebook and YouTube. The background content was run through standalone to account for any caching that may happen before the testing. The tests themselves consist of 3 transfer types over short and long distances between 2 laptops (both AC rated, m.2 ssd’s, i7 CPU’s). The transfers were a large movie file, an iso file and a test file, all of which are realistic things that a home user may copy or need to access.
As you can see from the results, the DIR-2150 comes out on top across almost all of the tests. To be honest I expected this to be the case due to the MU-MIMO feature mentioned above that should allow the router to provide better performance to more devices at once. The only blip was the long-distance standard file test. All were repeated 3 times for consistency and averaged, for some reason the DIR-2150 just was not happy with this file, however the range was not an issue as you can see from the movie and ISO tests.
After spending some time with the D-Link DIR-2150 I am impressed but also a little torn. If I ask myself the question “would I buy the DIR-2150?” the answer is actually no, however this isn’t a bad thing. You see, the DIR-2150 is a great router, packed with top quality features, it will be reliable, will be well supported and will provide a great user experience. The issue I have is that D-Link has such a great range of routers that I feel the DIR-2150 is not really designed for me. A normal home user, someone with a home office, a small family, even a large family will be able to really embrace this device and all of its features. It will update itself, will offer solid wired and wireless connections, can handle multiple devices in a modern day connected home and parents can feel better knowing they have some control over their children’s online activities, but I am not that person. I enjoy tweaking and testing, I am a gamer and generally have targeted requirements for my equipment, luckily D-Link also caters for those needs with the EXO series AC or AX devices.
So the next question is “would I recommend the DIR-2150?” and yes, I would. The DIR-2150 offers excellent value for money, ease of use is feature packed and does what it says on the box, and there are no gimmicks.
D-Link DIR-2150 Review
- FEATURES - 80%80%
- USER FRIENDLY - 92%92%
- VALUE - 86%86%
The D-Link DIR-2150 router does what it says on the box. It is packed with features, easy to use and will be a great addition to your home. Anyone from a single person to a large family who is in the market for a new router should check it out.
For more on D-Link, check out our previous coverage.