D-Link DWR-921 4G LTE Router Reviewed

D-Link DWR-921 LTE Router

D-Link DWR-921 LTE Router

If you are like me, residing close to the CBD and stuck on an archaic copper connection delivering subpar ADSL2+ speeds, then you will be glad to see D-Link’s latest connectivity product. D-Link have upped the ante with the DWR-921 4G LTE router. On paper, the DWR-921 promises excellent online connections in areas where fixed-line broadband services, like cable or ADSL, fail to deliver.

Capable of theoretical speeds of up to 150 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up, the D-Link DWR-921 was one router we were not going to pass up reviewing.

Setup

As far as hardware goes, nothing earth shattering but it is a compact and sleek unit. The rear of the unit caters for 4 x LAN and 1 x WAN 10/100Mbps connections. The push in/out standard sized SIM card slot and dual removable external LTE antennas are also located at the rear of the device. The following bands are supported by this router:

  • LTE Bands: 3 / 7 / 8 / 20 (800 / 900 / 1800 / 2600 MHz)
  • UMTS / HSDPA / HSUPA Bands: 1 / 8 (900 / 2100 MHz)

Just a note with the SIM card slot, if you are using a sim adapter to make your smaller SIM card fit, make sure it’s a good one as the last thing you want is to eject the adapter and not have the SIM card come out with it.

Configuring the router was made fairly easy with the use of the setup wizard. This included the configuration of the Wi-Fi network which supports the wireless 802.11 b/g/n standards. Once online, the DWR-921 allows you to share and access the 3G or 4G LTE mobile broadband connection. You can also send SMS messages from the web management tool.

In addition, the D-Link DWR-921 uses dual-active firewalls (NAT/SPI) to control traffic and prevent exploits and intrusions and WPA/WPA2 wireless encryption maintains the security and safety of wireless networks.

Performance

I was hoping to test this unit with a Vivid Wireless and Telstra 4G/LTE service. Unfortunately, despite the Optus network being found using the Vivid SIM card, I discovered that the SIM card is locked to the device it came with so wouldn’t work with the DWR-921. Fortunately, I also had the Telstra SIM card.

A couple of issues I ran into with the Telstra service:

  • the APN didn’t auto configure correctly
  • the router kept dropping back to 3G

If you aren’t within the range of a 4G LTE connection, the router will fall back to the closest 3G connection available on its own. After correcting the APN and forcing it to connect at 4G I was in business.

Firstly, the test was performed in an area of low reception, around 28% signal strength. The router dropping back to 3G before I forced the 4G connection makes sense when you look at how low the signal is. Even with the low signal, the speed was faster than my 3-4Mbps ADSL2+ fixed line connection.

DWR-921 results with 28% signal strength - Telstra 4G

DWR-921 results with 28% signal strength – Telstra 4G

Lastly, the test was performed in a different location of the same building. I went up a floor and placed the router near a window. The reception went up to 48%, still not great but the best I can do in our Telstra coverage area. The speed was considerably better and almost 6 – 7 times faster than my ADSL2+ connection.

DWR-921 results with 48% signal strength - Telstra 4G

DWR-921 results with 48% signal strength – Telstra 4G

However, a number of factors can contribute to slower mobile speeds. In my case, I topped out at 23Mbps because of my mobile coverage and cell tower congestion given the time I ran the tests. But the potential is there and if you have great coverage, the performance would be closer to the theoretical maximums.

Final Thoughts

In summary, we found the D-Link DWR-921 4G LTE router to be a great alternative for those in a 4G LTE coverage area that lack any form of decent fixed line broadband. Capable of up to 150 Mbps download speeds, it’s ideal for the home or those needing a portable hotspot connection such as construction sites or at conventions.

The installation process was easy as well. All you need to do is insert a SIM card and share the mobile internet connection via Ethernet or secure wireless. For those seeking a mobile broadband router to satisfy their current need for speed until the NBN arrives, add this to your list of routers to consider.GeekLingo_Highly_Recommended

19 thoughts on “D-Link DWR-921 4G LTE Router Reviewed”

  1. Could you tell me how many devices can connect wirelessly? I am with Telstra and the most I can connect is 10 so I am constantly turning things off so my laptop or phone can connect. I need about 15 could you recommend a 4g router that will provide at least 15 connections.

    Regards
    Stevej

  2. Pingback: Working From Home – How to Effectively Set Up a Home Office - GeekLingo

      1. there is no password provided… it just says to leave blank, but at least with my mackbook air it won’t let me proceed without a password… all instructions provided and everything I can find online say for initial configuration connect to Ethernet port, which to me seams odd as it’s a wireless LTE router and most computers did away with either net ports about 10 years ago

          1. We’ll don’t I feel like a goose! Found it and it works a treat! Thank you very very much!

            If you don’t mind I have a couple more questions you might know the answer to: I’m in an extremely remote area with terrible signal… if I want to take the little bit of signal I get in one place and take it to another place or maybe even other places say 2 bedrooms, can I do this from this device?

            Can I do it wirelessly?

            Or does it have to be with Ethernet between router and “booster” fro lack of a better siscription?

            And lastly, those rabbit ear thingy’s on top… are the receiving the signal from the cel tower? or broadcasting the wifi signal?

            Thanks again for your help!

            Cheers,

            Walt

          2. Glad to hear it. 😎

            With respect to your question – no. It’s a router that shares the connection from where it sits. You can’t use it like a signal booster for LTE and improve LTE/4G signals in other areas of your house. What you do instead is share that connection via wifi to your other rooms for internet access instead.

  3. Hi Noeneel, Sorry I wasn’t very clear! what I meant was:

    1. is there a way/compatible devise that I could use to take the wifi signal from the DWR-921 to other area’s in the house where the reception from the DWR-921 is not so strong? Because at the moment the my DWR-921 is up one end of the house up on the 1st floor because that is the only place it gets cellular data signal, but then the wifi is weak in some areas of the house down on the first floor…

    2. can I fit after market antenna’s (say yagi or log) to the DWR-921 to improve the signal strength it receives from the cel tower? That way I could put the DWR-921 in a central place in the house and the wifi would reach all areas of the house…

    Up on my roof I get 5 bars of cellular LTE signal, 1st floor where the DWR-921 is now I only get 2-3 bars or 41% according to the DWR-921 router and on the ground floor I get absolutely no signal at all…

    If you have any ideas that could possibly help it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Walt

    1. Given the proper connectors, no reason why you couldn’t try an external antenna but there are so many variables and it’s outside of my area of expertise.

      For your question regarding extending the WiFi, there are a range of devices available that can help you achieve this. Have a look at WiFi extenders or WiFi Mesh systems (e.g. Google WiFi)

      1. so are the external antenna’s that are supplied with the unit, that screw on the back of the router what picks up the 3/4G signal from the cel tower?

  4. bit late to the party, but the wifi antenna(s) is internal. The rabbit ears are 3g/4g. I’ve just bought one of these plus a pair of roof mount antennas (one log periodic directional and an omni-directional). The connectors are ‘normal’ SMA as opposed to the RP-SMA common on WiFi gear,

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