Pretty much all gaming is online gaming these days. You need a router that can handle it. D-Link sent us their top-of-the-line gaming unit for review.
The D-Link Wireless AC Gaming Router (DGL-5500) is not the prettiest thing in the world, but it gets the job done.
The router is a weird teardrop cylinder shape that stands vertically. I'm not sure how the internal antennae is oriented, I'm guessing it's also vertical. I much prefer external antennae arrays. Maybe I just like playing with the positioning, but I feel I can cover dead zones better that way. We set this unit up in a one bedroom apartment, however so coverage was not an issue at all. Just be aware that if you are in a multi-story house, you may need to position this router more carefully. I'd like to give a quick shout-out to D-Link for including a power button on the unit. I'm glad this is now a feature, I've always hated having to unplug my router to reset it when something went wrong.
Setup was super easy, as you can see in our unboxing video, the unit came with a pre-set random password and both WiFI bands turned on. This beats having a default password that everybody who buys that brand knows. We wanted a custom setup, however, and plugged into one of the LAN ports to access the units dashboard. A quick run through the setup wizard and we were up and running with a custom SSID name and passwords.
We replaced an old linksys router with this bad boy and it made a noticeable difference. Of course, it should, being a generation ahead of the older router. We were able to watch 3 different HD streams at once on 3 different devices with no problems. The device has a trademarked feature called "StreamBoost" that's responsible for making this run as smoothly as possible. Though to be honest, I feel like the amount of bandwidth you have from your ISP is going to make a much larger difference if you are having bandwidth related issues. Still, the "application aware" traffic shaping is a plus for this unit.
The DGL-5500 is a simultaneous dual band WiFi router which means it broadcasts at both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz at the same time. I highly recommend going with the 5GHz band if your devices support it. It's both faster and (currently) less congested. In my neighborhood, I'm the only 5Ghz station around, while there are about 20 2.4GHz WiFi stations at any given time. Actually, you know what? Stick with your 2.4... Yeah, it's ok, I like having all this spectrum to myself. :)
This router also supports the draft version (like a beta) of the wireless AC* standard. I don't have any devices that yet support this, so I couldn't test it out, but it reportedly offers gigabit class speeds wirelessly. If it's anything like the jump from wireless G to wireless N, I'm super excited. As it's still draft stage, it may be a while before you start seeing laptops and tablets with built in AC chipsets, however.
Overall, a nice unit with some good future-proof features and easy setup. It should be noted that if you're not interested in AC, there are definitely cheaper units out there (including lesser models from D-Link).
*I'd like to take a moment to publicly shame the body that came up with the "AC" designation however. WTF were they thinking? It sounds like it has something to do with electricity more than WiFi, it's confusing enough that there's an AC adapter in the box for power and if you search amazon for an "AC adapter" your going to have a bad time. They could've called it GB for gigabit or X for eXtreme (the kids love that, right?). Really anything other than AC would be better for the marketing team. I feel almost as bad for that name as I do for the "Xbox One".