D-Link has just announced its latest high-end consumer router, the DIR-857 Dualband HD Media Router. This looks very similar to the DIR-657 I reviewed recently, but adds concurrent dual-band, dual-radio, triple-stream (450Mbps) Wifi capability. Given that I moaned about the DIR-657's lack of a 5GHz radio, this is good news for those with compatible 3-stream Wifi adapters. The 5GHz band is becoming the favourite choice in congested neighbourhoods, and any router that doesn't offer it is a bit of a waste of time in my opinion. I've seen from my tests of other 450Mbps routers that a triple-stream setup can help quite a lot in improving range and reliability, even if it doesn't necessarily improve throughput enormously.
The DIR-657 also features four Gigabit Ethernet ports, an SD Card slot (for use with the integrated DLNA server) and a USB3 port, another feature that is now starting to appear in routers. Add a USB3 hard disk and you could have a pretty decent NAS. Alternatively, the port can be used for sharing a USB printer or multifunction device. It still doesn't support 3G dongles, though.
Available now, the DIR-857 costs £178 (inc. VAT). I don't have any commissions to review this model yet, but if and when I do I'll be posting links to the published reviews as usual.
Update 5/7: I now have a review sample (and a commission!), so I will be posting the review as soon as it's done.
Update 27/12/12: The review has finally been published on Computeractive's website, although they've put the wrong model number in the headline! I've put sample performance charts below. It was nothing exciting, giving 35Mbps on the 2.4GHZ channel at 1m and 15Mbps at 25m. At 5GHz, it managed 45Mbps at 1m and 7Mbps at 25m. However, the price has dropped significantly (to around £100) since launch, making it a decent bargain.
|The DIR-857 is a concurrent dual-band 450Mbps model with a USB 3 port and SD Card slot|
|25m, 2.4GHz channel|
|1m, 5GHz channel|
Find it on Amazon: