D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L) Reviewed

D-Link Taipan (DSL-4320L) AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router

D-Link Taipan (DSL-4320L) AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router

Most people don’t look twice at a modem/router installed at home. That certainly won’t be the case with D-Link’s Taipan AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L). Looking a lot like a Cheops class warship from Stargate painted in blue enamel, the Taipan is certainly unique in its appearance. If the bright blue colour doesn’t get heads turning, the six antennas protruding out like spider legs certainly will.

But the Taipan isn’t just about good looks. It is based on Broadcom’s AC3200 chipset providing the capability to distribute wireless traffic over its 3 dedicated wireless radios using SmartConnect and Tri-Band technology. With the inclusion of an ADSL2+ modem, the Taipan is shaping up to be a great all-in-one wireless AC modem/router solution to review. Its reported feature set is well suited to online streaming, 4K HD video and lag free gaming scenarios.

Images courtesy of D-Link:

D-Link Taipan (DSL-4320L) Specifications:
Device InterfacesIEEE 802.11ac wireless LAN
IEEE 802.11n/g/b/a wireless LAN
ADSL / VDSL WAN port
4 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN ports (configurable as WAN)
2 x USB ports (one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0)
Reset button
WPS
LEDsPower
USB
WLAN 2.4GHz
WLAN 5GHz
DSL
Internet
Antenna6 x Detachable
Wireless Operating Frequency2.4 GHz band: 2400 - 2483.5 MHz
2 x 5 GHz band: 5150 - 5725 MHz
StandardsIEEE 802.11ac
IEEE 802.11n
IEEE 802.11g
IEEE 802.11b
IEEE 802.11a
IEEE 802.3
IEEE 802.3u
Wireless SecurityWPA & WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) PIN
Advanced FeaturesWeb setup wizard
Advanced QoS (Quality of Service) with band steering
Advanced AC SmartBeam
VPN passthrough/multi-session PPTP/L2TP/IPSec
VPN Server - L2TP over IPSec
Guest zone
DLNA media server support
Advanced Firewall FeaturesSPI (Stateful Packet Inspection)
NAT (Network Address Translation)
PowerInput: DC 12V/5A
Dimensions373mm (L) x 241mm (W) x 157mm (H)

Installation & Configuration of the D-Link Taipan

I nearly fell off my chair taking the Taipan out of the courier satchel. To say it comes in an impressively large retail box would be an understatement. Dwarfing every piece of hardware sitting on my desk, you couldn’t but help get a sensation of something impressive hiding inside and like a kid on Christmas morning I just wanted to rip open the packaging and get straight to it.

D-Link Taipan (DSL-4320L) device size - iPhone 6 pictured for scale

D-Link Taipan (DSL-4320L) device size – iPhone 6 pictured for scale

The test unit shipped with firmware version AU_1.00.12 so the first thing we did was to upgrade to the latest version – AU_1.00.14, a process that was as easy as with any other router we’ve reviewed.

D-Link Taipan Firmware Update

D-Link Taipan Firmware Update

The web management console has a sleek and modern interface.  It defaults to a simple mode with an option to display advanced options for the more experienced users. A small sample of the configurations screens are included below.

Internet Setup

Internet Setup

Configuring the network

Configuring the network

Both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands can be configured as a single wireless network

Both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands can be configured as a single wireless network

The Taipan also supports having a guest wireless network at home

The Taipan also supports having a guest wireless network at home

 

You can configure QoS through a simple drag and drop interface

You can configure QoS through a simple drag and drop interface

Configuring IP address reservation for a device

Configuring IP address reservation for a device

Additional Hardware Information

Using SSH to remote into the router we obtained some additional information:

# head -5 /proc/meminfo ; head -5 /proc/cpuinfo ; echo ; uname -a ; echo

MemTotal:         254848 kB

MemFree:          164320 kB

Buffers:            6868 kB

Cached:            21064 kB

SwapCached:            0 kB

Processor       : ARMv7 Processor rev 0 (v7l)

processor       : 0

BogoMIPS        : 1998.84

processor       : 1

Linux dlinkrouter 2.6.36.4brcmarm+ #1 SMP Mon Dec 14 17:54:52 CST 2015 armv7l GNU/Linux

We can see that the unit has 256kB of memory and is based on an ARMv7 processor.

ADSL2+ Performance

We are a little over 3km from the exchange with a line attenuation of 58-59dB so getting towards the outer limits of acceptable ADSL2+ here in Australia. I typically get line sync speeds of 4.5-5.2Mbps on other modems. This was fairly consistent with what was seen with the D-Link Taipan as well.

The Taipan synced at 4.6Mbps

The Taipan synced at 4.6Mbps

Wireless Performance

Our standard wireless tests were run to assess the performance of the router from 5 different locations:

  • Same room
  • Same floor next room separated by a void
  • Same floor opposite end of house
  • One floor above
  • Outside
Wireless signal strength from the D-Link Taipan

Wireless signal strength from the D-Link Taipan

Signal strength from the same room as the Taipan

Signal strength from the same room as the Taipan

Signal strength from the next room, same floor as the Taipan

Signal strength from the next room, same floor as the Taipan

Signal strength from the corner room, same floor as the Taipan

Signal strength from the corner room, same floor as the Taipan

Signal strength from the outside, same level as the Taipan

Signal strength from the outside, same level as the Taipan

Signal strength from the upstairs room

Signal strength from the upstairs room

Using an Intel NUC with an Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 PCIe half mini card connecting to the Taipan’s wireless network, file copy tests were also performed. Speeds were similar to other wireless AC based routers we’ve tested before.

Copying Linux ISOs over the wireless network

Copying Linux ISOs over the wireless network

Streaming 1080p GoPro footage whilst copying several files over the wireless network

Streaming 1080p GoPro footage whilst copying several files over the wireless network

Final Thoughts

There is no middle ground with the D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router. You will either love it or hate it. We firmly fell into the love it category.

The Taipan, like the D-Link Viper, does away with what a modem/router traditionally looked like. D-Link have pushed the boundaries of chassis design and merged it with state of the art electronics to provide a beast of a device worthy of its flagship status.

That said, D-Link have 2 important challenges in finding widespread love for this unit. Firstly, it’s big and desk space comes at a premium for the average home user. Similarly, due to its size, installation locations become a little more limited. Lastly, with a recommended retail price of AUD$579, it prices the average consumer out of the market.

However, this cosmic pyramid resembling something out of Stargate, does boast some outstanding features and you are getting an all-in-one device providing modem, router and wireless capabilities that would cater for most connectivity needs for years to come. If we gave out scores this would be up there with a solid 9/10.

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