If you like ‘em loud and proud, D-Link has just the router for you. The DSL-4320L (AKA the Taipan) is the ADSL-equipped version of the D-Link’s older DIR-890L router, a model which was launched early in 2015.
With six antennas apiece and glossy racecar paint jobs, both look essentially identical: this model just comes in bright-blue, rather than the DIR-890L’s red. Both are massive devices that, at a glance, look more like souped-up quadcopter drones than the stationary pieces of networking gear they actually are.
For now, the Taipan is an ANZ exclusive, and it’s what vendors have been calling ‘tri-band’ routers, meaning they have three wireless radios inside. That’s a single 2.4GHz 802.11n-capable radio (supporting speeds up to 600Mbps) and two 802.11ac 5GHz ones (at up to 1300Mbps a pop), with one of the latter also offering MU-MIMO support.
This is the first tri-band router with an ADSL modem built in — thus, the high asking price.
The good news is: you don’t need to know all that much about what’s under the hood to benefit from all that tech. The Taipan can be set up to only offer one Wi-Fi network for you to connect to, and based on the abilities of the device you’re using (smartphone, laptop, TV, games console or other), the router will connect you to the right radio.
That MU- MIMO support means it more effectively distributes its wireless bandwidth when multiple devices are connected. Without it, you might find one device hogging all the speed.
At close range, the Taipan is fast. We clocked speeds of up to 70MB/s on our 867Mbps test laptop, which is basically maxing-out the latter’s Wi-Fi. It didn’t quite fare so well at longer ranges, around 20–25Mbps where the best can manage 30–40Mbps.
Still, hardware-wise, it ticks most of the boxes you could reasonably expect. But while the onboard software features also cover all the basics most people will need (including USB storage support and mobile apps for configuration from your phone) and are reasonably easy to use, those features often aren’t as flexible or deep as you’ll find elsewhere — especially when compared to the likes of the Synology RT1900ac.
It’s in the configuration options and details that the DSL-4320L falls a bit flat. There are parental controls, for example, but they’re only rudimentary — just a website filter for 24 sites. Other brands offer cloud-based services with sophisticated blocklists based on different types of heuristic content filtering.
And while the Taipan does have a scheduling feature, this only lets you turn the firewall and website filtering features on or off.
The statistics page is another example. It can give you a live view of traffic being used and the total that’s been downloaded since the router was rebooted, but there’s no real configurability here, or the ability to drill down and, say, track individual clients or set quotas for them, or specify when your broadband monthly quota is reset so you can keep track of your total downloads.
That lack of feature-depth may not matter to some, but for us, when you’re asking a premium price — and $580 is definitely premium — you should be able to expect the best across the board. And with its current software setup, the DSL-4320L doesn’t quite deliver.
Verdict: Tri-band 802.11ac comes to ADSL routers, but the software isn’t as smart as the hardware it’s running on.