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Customer Review

368 of 435 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars D-Link HAS to be paying people for these positive reviews, May 30, 2009
This review is from: D-Link DIR-825 Extreme-N Dual-Band Gigabit Router (Personal Computers)
A couple of months ago I purchased the DIR-825 because on average it received better buyer reviews than the competing dual-band N-compatible routers. At this point, I'm really struggling to understand how this is possible, because the DIR-825 fails in so many areas. I've designed wireless home networking products for almost the past 10 years, and while I'd hope that my experience and familiarity with top brands should equip me to make good purchasing decisions, in my confidence I apparently overlooked some fundamental requirements. In the DIR-825 I got a router that had what I was looking for (configurable QoS, dual-band 802.11n support), but also had a lot of other "features:"

- Randomly disconnects clients every hour or so. This happened more in 5GHz than 2.4GHz, but it definitely happened in both spectrums, and did so often. The router's logs did not indicate any reasons for clients being removed. My theory is that there were frequent signal strength hiccups that caused clients to think the router had vanished. They always reconnected about 10 seconds later, but that's long enough to disconnect you from most online games.
- Renders Vonage VOIP calls completely inaudible, even when the wireless network is quiet. The Vonage router is the only wired networking device in our house. We had it plugged into the DIR-825 so we could take advantage of the router's advanced QoS capabilities, but it was an absolute nightmare. We never got VOIP to work right so long as it was 'behind' the DIR-825, regardless of QoS settings and various other tweaks mentioned in the D-Link knowledge base and forums. We ended up having to put the Vonage device in front of the router (which fixed Vonage but had side effects on the rest of the network).
- Auto-channel Select Feature DOES NOT WORK. The auto-channel select feature, which is enabled by default, is supposed to automatically choose the least congested WiFi channel in your band. I have access to some very expensive sniffing and spectrum analysis systems that tell me that the absolute best 2.4GHz channel in my house is number 4, and the absolute worst is number 1, which literally has 10 different SSIDs beaconing on it as I write this. The DIR-825 ALWAYS selected channel 1 (and it wasn't just a matter of what it reported in the admin UI; sniffers reported it in Channel 1.) Not only does this feature appear to do the opposite of what it advertises, it's also known for randomly disconnecting clients. Unfortunately, disabling it did not fix our problem with that.
- Doesn't work with BitTorrent. I know all about port forwarding, TCP, UDP, UPnP, I followed forums, FAQs, and step-by-steps, but I never got BitTorrent to accept incoming connections properly. (And note that I hardly ever have BT running, anyway; it has nothing to do with the other issues noted here).
- Crummy wireless range in both bands. First off, a little bit of info about the 5GHz band: 5GHz is never going to have the same range as the 2.4GHz range at the same transmit power; this is a matter of physics- higher frequencies = shorter wavelength = shorter distances/more susceptible to walls. There's another problem though- at least in the USA, you are only allowed to transmit on 5GHz at a fraction of the maximum power allowed on 2.4GHz, so really 5GHz is hit with kind of a double-whammy of suck. Note that there are a few 5GHz channels that are allowed to be transmitted at a higher power than the rest, but that doesn't mean that 5GHz device manufacturers actually do that- it only means they can. With that in mind, I can say that the DIR-825 has worse range in not only 5GHz but 2.4GHz as well than the dual-band Linksys WRT610 (which surprises me because of the Linksys's funky design), and also worse than any of the 2.4GHz-only routers we had before that.
- Is on its way to losing WiFi Alliance compliance. There's a WFA-certified logo on the box of the DIR-825, but if you've been following wireless forums you will learn that D-Link has been experimenting with removing 802.11b support from their routers, including the DIR-825, in their downloadable firmware updates. Now, I personally stopped using 11.b years ago, and you can get better 2.4GHz performance by going G-only, but WFA logo compliance REQUIRES that you support 802.11b. D-Link has not explained why they're trying to do this, but I suspect that their hardware has either become overloaded or their code so messy that they can't adequately support new requirements without dropping 802.11b support- and that should scare you.

After a full MONTH of trying to get the DIR-825 to work properly, I realized it wasn't me, and it wasn't my setup- it was just that this router sucks worse than any other router I've ever used. I promise you there's not a single setting I didn't investigate or tinker with in my quest to get reliable WiFi, but honestly, even if there were some magic combination of router settings that would make things work, the thing should have been configured to work properly out of the box. I don't have any crazy setup, just a bunch of computers, and a few game consoles and TiVos that are normally quiet.

I purchased the Linksys WRT610N Simultaneous Dual-N Band Wireless Router and am MUCH happier now. I don't believe I had to configure any special settings except for the port-forwarding stuff for BitTorrent. I have Vonage connected behind the router again, and VOIP works perfectly. Our connection strength is better on all computers in the home than with the DIR-825, and the only random disconnects we get are on 5GHZ, though they are much more infrequent than with the DIR-825. Save yourself a month of headaches and get something, anything, other than the DIR-825.

P.S. About 802.11n - Note that 5GHz support is an optional feature of 802.11n at this time, so when looking for APs or network cards, understand that not all of them support 5GHz (in fact, most don't). Allways look for "dual-band" or "5GHz" when shopping for 802.11n stuff so you have the most flexibility in your home setup.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 23, 2009 10:28:55 AM PDT
Thanks this is the review that convinced me to get the WRT610N instead.

Posted on Aug 12, 2009 6:24:55 PM PDT
M. Ferguson says:
All that BS spewing just to prove, irrevocably, to everyone that you're just shilling for Linksys instead of D-Link when empirical tests have showed the Linksys to have higher failure rates, more overheating, and worse performance. Just because you're a tech illiterate fool doesn't mean people who disagree with you are D-Link plants.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2009 5:57:43 AM PDT
There are many problems identified on the D-Link forums in regards to this router and their DIR-655.

Posted on Sep 11, 2009 11:04:02 AM PDT
Good thorough recap of your experience. I've had exactly the opposite experience - the Linksys WRT610N was flakey, dropped connections, got so hot I could fry an egg on it, could not reach my furthest 2.4G client PC (where the DIR-655 provides a 65% connection), and was bundled with LELA SW that didn't work. If you read forum reviews on the WRT610N, they run about 50-50 with people that get them to work OK, and 50% that don't/can't.

So you place your bets and take your chances with any high-tech product. I think a lot of these router reviewers fail to pay attention to the wireless devices on the OTHER end of the connection - no review includes that information. Hooking a new Wireless-N router to a 7 year old Wireless G card that's never had its firmware updated is likely to be problematic, especially if from different manufacturers. So common etiquette suggests that you refrain from trying to draw conclusions about who is shilling for whom, and appreciate any poster who takes the time to write a thorough review of their experience.

Router programming is not technically simple. Linksys LELA tries to simplify it and if it worked more consistently, it would be a benefit to many buyers that can't handle the more capable (but more complicated) web interfaces. This user has found router Nirvana in the WRT610N and if his unit falls into the 50% that don't flake out, he'll be a happy camper. That's all that counts in the end.

Posted on Sep 16, 2009 11:00:04 AM PDT
Straitman says:
THANK YOU for your knowledgeable and informative review. So much more helpful and useful than the so-called "expert" reviews on the various computer-oriented web sites. Are you aware that the DIR-825 is actually a PC Magazine Editors Choice? Based on that I was convinced that the DIR-825 would be the best selection for me - until I fortunately read your review. I need a router that works with Vonage among other requirements, and really appreciate your advice that the DIR-825 does not handle Vonage (something the PC editors apparently never looked into). You have saved me a month of aggravation, and that is worth more than I can say.

Posted on Oct 6, 2009 9:59:46 AM PDT
marcworld says:
I just ordered this router, because my brand-new WRT610N doesn't support VPN connections. It says VPN is supported but there are hardware bugs that cause it to fail. WRT610N was great at everything else, though. Really kind of pissed I can't get VPN doesn't work.

Will see how D-Link does...

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 4:56:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2009 4:57:46 AM PDT
W. T. Bartko says:
I agree entirely with Joshua's very thorough and thoughtful review. I had much the same experience after recently purchasing this router. After searching the online forums, I discovered that I needed to upgrade the firmware for the router to function correctly. That's right, the router right out of the box does not work correctly. Obviously D-Link is aware of this, hence the upgrade. How is it possible that they either (a) cannot produce and ship a product that works well from the start or (b) don't at least let buyers know about the problem by including instructions to upgrade the firmware before doing anything else. Once upgraded, the router works well and I otherwise have no complaints. Just that one really big one. Come on D-Link, get it right.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2009 12:31:19 PM PDT
R. Rundio says:
"All that BS spewing just to prove, irrevocably, to everyone that you're just shilling for Linksys instead of D-Link when empirical tests have showed the Linksys to have higher failure rates, more overheating, and worse performance. Just because you're a tech illiterate fool doesn't mean people who disagree with you are D-Link plants."

You sound a little too pissed off about this review. How can you sit here and say the guy didn't have a problem? Even if you have used both routers side by side, or because some magazine or agency says one is more likely to fail than another doesn't mean this guy didn't have the problems he is having. Maybe he got a lemon. Maybe, for his specific use, the D-link just doesn't work as well as others. I find it almost amusing that instead of countering his complaints with constructive information, you simply accuse him of trashing one product in favor of another. I would rather you have offered some advice or at least say something like "that problem sounds odd..." I especially like the fact that he list serious complaints (not working with vonage and constantly resetting connections) and you can simply say that some test shows this router has a lower failure rate than another. I, frankly, don't care what the failure rate is for some item in a test. All that matters is the failure rate I EXPERIENCE. If I went through what this reviewer did, I'd have graded it the same. I guess you would rather see the "This product rocks" review than to hear criticism.

Posted on Oct 23, 2009 10:36:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2015 7:45:10 AM PDT
L. Dindial says:
Not every router is going to work out there - I don't care what the brand is.

I've been a Linksys user for about 6 - 7 years now and when my WRT330N died, I purchased the WRT610N. I thought it was an okay router, but at the time I thought that something was wrong with the range of the 5GHz band(today, I understand why that is - I had a lack of knowledge back then). Otherwise, the router worked fine with me other than a few dropped connections. I was upset with the range, therefore I returned the WRT610N and got this D-Link DIR-825 and it has been flawless out of the box. Don't you guys get it? You have to get lucky to get the right-working product. Ever think that maybe "software" issues isn't the ONLY issue? There could be hardware problems as well, which is what happened to my WRT330N; a hardware problem is causing it to reset itself every five seconds and I thought it was time for a new router.

BitTorrent? I didn't have to do ANYTHING to the DIR-825 and I have torrents running at optimum speeds. Again, it's the luck of the draw; I understand that some of you get frustrated when you invest your money into a product that you need to work right away, but remember when dealing with technical devices, there can be failures. I learned to never trust any tech device 100% since it can work really well for me and not for someone else.

Finally, some advice for you all:
When buying a tech device, order it from the SITE (i.e. Amazon) because if your product does not work, Amazon will refund EVERYTHING (even the shipment back to them). That's what I did with the WRT610N - they refunded all of the money and I told them I was going to do an exchange with the DIR-825. Remember that you have choices and options when things go wrong, even though it can be frustrating at times.

I hope this helps you guys out. I like D-Link and Linksys both, since I still use their devices. I have the DIR-825, the Linksys WGA600N (works great with the DIR-825), and I have a DGS-2208 on the way (8-port Gigabit Desktop Switch from D-Link).

I'll answer a quick question: Would I have kept the WRT610N had I known better about the 5GHz band range?
Probably yes, even though the D-Link is giving me more range on both bands. In my basement, the WRT610N gave me 60-70% range in the back room, while the D-Link is giving me 70%-80% (it varies, but both are still pretty solid. This is the 2.4GHz band).

I hope this clears up some stuff, and I apologize in advance if I forgot anything. Any questions? Ask away, I'll be glad to help you.

EDIT 07/16/2015: After taking a break for a year, the DIR-825 has been back up and running as a bridge AP for 6 months now without a hiccup. This unit continues to exceed my expectations; I have gotten the DIR-860L AC router from D-Link and it has not had a hiccup yet. Since I have Verizon FiOS as my provider, I need to use these supplemental routers as AP bridges. My home network continues to remain solid

Posted on Nov 10, 2009 2:49:24 PM PST
Potion09 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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