D-Link recently included two major networking software solutions in its service line along with a host of updates for their home automation product line. There are a number of things to discuss with respect to the core networking announcements. So, I will get the minor home automation stuff out of the way first.
D-Link has been offering a set of home automation products with unified cloud-based control using the mydlink Home app. At CES, they announced the integration of the IFTTT (If-this-then-that) service with the app, allowing more customization in the home automation experience. It is slated to appear in the free app later this quarter. IFTTT integration has been a staple of many home automation products (including the Belkin WeMo) for some time now. So, it is good to see D-Link putting the effort to integrate with IFTTT with their own cloud back-end.
The other home automation-related announcement was a new product – a Wi-Fi based alarm detector. Simply put, this device plugs into a wall outlet and connects via Wi-Fi to the Internet. A microphone in the device is set to trigger an alarm if the sound of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm is heard. This allows legacy smoke and CO detectors to become part of the smart home – definitely more cost effective than installing completely new smoke alarms (like what Nest suggests). D-Link indicated that, in the future, it might also be able to make the microphones in their IP cameras do the same job.
Moving on to the core networking announcements, we first have the EXO series of routers. This series has two members, the AC1750 DIR-869 and the AC1900 DIR-879. Both have a 3×3 configuration in the 5GHz band for 1300 Mbps of theoretical bandwidth. However, the DIR-879 does 600 Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and the DIR-869 does 450 Mbps in the same. The DIR-869 will retail for $130 and the DIR-879 will retail for $150 when they go on sale later this quarter.
In order to achieve this lower price, D-Link has opted to not integrate a USB port on either model. Both have a hardware toggle switch to move between router and extender modes. However, the devices do have high-performance power amplifiers (1000mW). The interesting aspect here is the core platform. While vendors such as Amped Wireless have gone in for the integrated Qualcomm Atheros 2×2 solution for their $130-price point router, D-Link has moved to Realtek for the same. The SoC used is the RTL8198C with a 620 MHz MIPS-based dual-core host processor and 5 GbE ports integrated. The WLAN chips are RTL8814AR for the 5GHz radio and RTL8194AR for the 2.4GHz radio.