D-Link has put out a variety of routers over the past few years. Each of these new pieces of tech have offered different features and designs that are meant to enhance the online performance of several behaviors. D-Link's newest release, the DGL-5500, hits the market with the much-touted "StreamBoost" feature. Does this new router and new gaming/video streaming enhancement ability make this a worthy buy?
The DGL-5500 certainly looks like a nifty addition to anyone's entertainment center. It's "new-age coffee pot" look makes it easier to keep upright and sturdy near your home computer. It's features include:
- Next Generation 11AC Wi-Fi - Up to 450 + 867Mbps
- StreamBoost - Intelligent control of bandwidth resources featuring automatic device and application detection
- Gigabit Wired - Delivers wired performance 10x faster than traditional Fast Ethernet
- Simultaneous Dual Band - Delivers faster Wi-Fi speeds and less interference for maximum throughput
- Compatibility - Works with existing and future Wi-Fi devices
Once you hook your DGL-5500 up, you'll be treated to a new User Interface. This new UI has a much cleaner and sleeker design, which makes the process of finding out how much bandwidth traffic your apps/gaming is getting. It's also easy to locate which video streaming apps are currently in use. The visible data information you can read through the router's UI is readily available...granted you have the Steamboost feature turned on. The fact that Steamboost must be turned on at all times in order to see your network/app bandwidth map and any other network traffic statistics is an issue.
In order to see if the DGL-5500 is up to task, I put it through the motions. My Xbox One was on as I played Tomb Raider online, my computer was turned on as I streamed YouTube videos and I used my iPod Touch to also play some YouTube videos. Each of these activities performed well, with no constant buffering or noticeable lag interrupting what I was simultaneously doing. I expected some moments of slowdown, but I encountered none. Hopping on the internet while my gaming consoles streamed Netflix and YouTube also yielded the same positive results.
I don't tend to have so many multiple apps/online gaming sessions/video streams running at the same time, so I know the DGL-5500 is capable of running one of my activities at the highest bandwidth possible. For users who have multiple members of the a household working at the same time on their computer/mobile/gaming consoles, the DGL-5500 will be able to offer the afforded bandwidth to each one and offer no interruptions.
The UI and web interface could be improved, though. Sometimes, all the clients that are currently working won't be visible on the map. Plus turning off the Streamboost tech means you won't have any way to view your connected client map. The UI needs a few tweaks here and there, which could come with a nice firmware update later down the pipeline.
D-Link's gaming routers are continuously making strides towards becoming the best options for hardcore online gamers. The DGL-5500's "StreamBoost" feature is the most standout aspect of this new piece of gaming hardware, thanks to its ability to offer better performance for video streaming, online gaming and more. Its issues (its somewhat problematic user interface and the fact that there's no way to tell if the StreamBoost feature has been updated or not) keep it from being a top priority buy. This router is good, but not great...yet.