- Dual Band Technology - 2.4GHz (up to 300Mbps) or 5GHz (up to 867Mbps)
- Next Generation Wi-Fi AC Technology
- Backward compatible with 802.11n
- USB Extension Cradle
- WPA or WPA2
- WPS Push Button
- $69.99 69.99
- $48.99 –
- Save: $21.00 (30%)
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Better than N, but not great for AC 05/22/2013
This review is from: D-Link Wireless AC 1200 Dual Band Adapter (DWA-182)
The DWA-182 is undoubtedly faster than any other N adapter I have used, but unfortunately I don't have any other AC adapters to test it against. I suspect AC adapters with USB 3.0 support will be faster.
Configuration overall was easy, although the drivers were not plug-n-play detected by Windows 7. Once the drivers were installed off the included disc (or via download), the wizard quickly and easily configured connection to my wireless network.
I ran the following tests connected to my all Gigabit network with both a Verizon Fios Actiontec Router (Gb version) and a TrendNet AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Router. For each test, I transferred a 5GB .dat game file from a 250MB/s max read SSD array over Gigabit LAN to test max throughput over wireless I used a variety of N adapters in addition to the DWA-182 to test against and here are the results:
TrendNet AC 5G - 866Mbps link 26.3 MB/s actual
TrendNet AC 2.4G - 144Mbps link 10.8 MB/s actual
Actiontec N 2.4G - 130Mbps link 9.6 MB/s actual
TrendNet AC 2.4G - 72Mbps link 5.6 MB/s actual
Actiontec N 2.4G - 72Mbps link 4MB/s actual
*Intel 4965AGN (laptop built-in WiFi)
TrendNet AC 2.4G - 300Mbps link 13MB/s actual
Actiontec AC 2.4G - 130Mbps link 9MB/s actual
As you can see, the DWA-182 paired with an AC Router is faster than any N solution. The Intel built-in wireless is slightly faster than the DWA-182 however, the CPU usage on the Intel WiFi is extreme and makes the dual-band mode unusable because it brings the laptop to a crawl.
As others have already covered, this Adapter is USB 2.0 only, meaning it will never achieve it's max theoretical AC throughput numbers of ~1.2Gbps. USB 2.0 spec hits a ceiling of 480Mbps which boils down to really only ~35MB/s effective.
The build quality also seems lacking for a $60 adapter. It's not as sturdy or quality feeling as my older D-Link DWA-125 or some of the Belkin adapters I've owned in the past.
The housing is made of plastic that is given a "brushed" look, and you can see maybe 1/2 an inch seems like a blank space like they tried to make the USB stick bigger than necessary to look more luxurious?
Also, the PCB portion is not secured tightly within the plastic housing, meaning the internals rattle around the housing a bit when handling the adapter. Quality could be improved for a high-end adapter like this.
Overall the performance of this adapter is still the best of any wireless adapter I've used. It seems to have less CPU overhead compared to the Intel built-in WiFi on my laptop, which solved a wireless streaming issue I had for CableCard TV through WMC.
I'm just not sure it's worth the price premium that AC products carry right now. It's ~5x faster than my older DWA-125 and around 2.5x faster than the Intel WiFi adapter, so the increase in performance is great. If you absolutely had to buy an adapter, it might be better to go ahead and buy an AC adapter, although I would probably look at one that is USB 3.0 over this one.
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