Portable routers can be viable, as long as they work properly. Take D-Link for instance and my impression of their previous SharePort Go router/charger/media sever/salad maker, it was an “OK” hotspot device that turned off potential fans by attempting way too much. Basically, it could’ve been a contender with less gimmicks, but I digress.
Of course, D-Link took these criticisms back to the drawing board for the Wi-Fi AC750 Portable Router and Charger. The obvious improvements include speed, 802.11ac, and all-important USB device charging that make it a more versatile tool.
The Wi-Fi AC750 is a small glossy white slab that measures in at 5.5” x 2.3” x .63” and weighs no more than 5.50 ounces even with the sizable 4000 mAh battery inside. Aside from the stylized “D”and active status lights on the front its pretty featureless at first glance. Turn the unit on its side and things get interesting (or as interesting as they’re gonna get) with two USB ports labeled with their respective voltage inputs of 0.5A and 1A on one side (a discreet reset button is opposite), an 10/100 Ethernet WAN port and Micro-USB port (5V DC IN to power the unit itself) on the bottom, while a power switch and WPS button sit on top.
With the switch turned to the “On” position it can be a standard router through a modem, a mobile router with a compatible 3G/4G/LTE USB modem, or hotspot with existing Wi-Fi connections. For our tests we tried both regular router and hotspot modes to see how it measured up as a light-duty network hub.
Setting up the AC750 is pretty straightforward initially (the default mode is in router so you’ll have to connect it before using it as a mobile router or hotspot). In fact it’s absolutely bare-minimum, coming without any preset security for both of its 2.4GHz/5GHz SSIDs so any leech can jump on until you create a password. If you’ve configured routers before then you should be familiar with doing so over your browser (192.168.0.1 and likewise), the only real difference being the interface which is unlike the standard D-Link fare. They’ve stripped most of the complexity out and kept only the most necessary of features oriented for travel. Don’t expect advanced options like port forwarding and DMZ taking up real estate here, although D-Link was kind (and smart) enough to give you a NAT-based firewall that works in the background.
As your basic router (I do mean basic) there really isn’t much to complain about in terms of performance, as usual we put the AC750 through a couple of rounds and came away satisfied despite its form and the expected benchmark tradeoffs. The 510L works best in 2.4GHz frequencies with better-than-average numbers of 19.7MBps (152.6Mbps) at close range and 11MBps (88Mbps) at a more realistic distance of 36ft. 802.11ac 5GHz speeds were not so impressive and averaged out at 7.8MBps (62.4Mbps) overall.
For whatever reason if you’re at home and need a spare router it works in a pinch, although power users can and probably will overtax the device with at least two devices (it’s recommended that no more than five wireless devices should be connected if necessary).
As a hotspot bridge, the AC750 does a decent job if you find yourself stuck at the airport or crowded coffee house at reasonable speeds, granted you’ll still need to open your browser it the access point requires authentication or payment. USB charging is welcome (just move the power switch over to “charger” or wait a couple minutes in the “on” position) but only one port (the 1A) has enough power to charge an iPhone or Android Phone. It’s a noticeable oversight that will frustrate those with dying smartphones or tablets.
I’ve always complained about specialized file sharing over a “smart” router and once again SharePort ecosystem doesn’t make a good case for itself. Accessing your media over the cloud or USB flash drive remains arbitrary thanks to a lackluster file list system with most file formats being incompatible anyways. I really don’t know anybody who relies on these complimentary steaming options, and fortunately D-Link has made a point not to heavily advertise it this time around.
As the world’s first portable 802.11ac router D-Link puts their best foot forward with the Wi-Fi AC750 Portable Router and Charger. For constant jet-setters who travel light it’s an attractive package and can last up to 8 hours on a single charge, and is comparatively easier to use than our last SharePort Go model. Issues such as leisurely 5GHz speeds, disproportionate lack of USB charging ports, and media sharing options do irk me; but these knocks can’t take away the overall value that this pocket-sized asset will provide in business hotels and airport layovers.
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