For instance, with Smart Connect switched on, your device is connected to the clearest and fastest network at the time, pushing either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz network when devices need it.
Basically, think of Smart Connect as an always on network admin, rerouting devices to the right network so you don’t have to decide what goes where.
Testing it, we were quite surprised to see that devices where 802.11ac were running natively could get between 500 and 900Mbps quite easily, but even upstairs where our regular computer often struggled for high speeds found a good 40 to 600Mbps when used in conjunction with one of D-Link’s 802.11ac spherical antennas, beating the AC chipset found inside the computer we normally rely on.
And you can trust a GadgetGuy to bring a home network to its knees, and with the amount of devices we’ve been testing it with, we can tell you the D-Link Taipan can really hold its own.
It does occasionally appear to time out, temporarily disappearing and then coming back, the glitches lasting barely a second or two and only fleeting at best, but overall, the speeds on this appear to be much stronger and more reliable than any other modem router we’ve seen prior.
Two USB ports and four Gigabit ports on the back help finalise this, allowing our network drive, small server, and Sonos system to talk to the rest of the setup in super quick speeds.
Where the Taipan gets things wrong is the look, or rather the form-factor of the look, because, aesthetics aside, the D-Link Taipan is about the largest modem you’ll ever set eyes on.
Seriously, this is one huge modem router, and while we knew we had to clear some space for it in our networking cabinet at home, we didn’t realise quite how much that actually meant.
Indeed, this was the first time a modem router couldn’t fit inside the cabinet, so we had to resort to sticking it on the very top, and even then it was still too big.
Now, the home phone (because we still have one of those) is in an interesting balancing act with the triangular angles at the front of the Taipan.
And that leads you to the problem with the Taipan’s design.
Simply put, its awkward, and so awkward that it almost feels like it was designed to be tucked away so that no one could ever see it, only that it’s so big, it even makes that difficult.
We thought modern devices were about getting smaller, but D-Link’s latest Viper series modem router is almost twice the size of the original. Now how did that happen?
If you don’t mind this big hulking blue pyramid of a thing to be seen by the world, no worries, but even if you do, good luck placing it somewhere in your home where it won’t stand out, because it won’t take up the spot of your old modem router, that’s for sure.
The interface and settings control are the other complaints we have with the Taipan, and much like how the design almost feels like a step back from the sleek and compact models we’ve seen from D-Link prior, aspects of these sit in much the same boat.
It’s not all bad, and that partly stems from D-Link’s updating of the interface, which is now sleek, simple, and more graphical than the flat browser-based operating system environment ever has been for D-Link.
But one could argue that it’s too simple, and it is now harder to find where you need to be if you’re an experienced user.
There’s a wizard, sure, and that makes getting the router set up and good to go a breeze, with the environment more or less a “fill me in and away you go” thing, which is great.
Unfortunately, the moment you have to go and do something a little stronger than change a password, you find it takes a few extra mouse clicks, and a little bit more waiting, as advanced options get buried in “advanced settings” beneath everything, and the often complicated interfaces of modem routers get whittled down to something so simple, you start to see D-Link is targeting the common person with this interface setup.
Where this goes wrong is the lack of design and flow, and we found ourselves struggling to find the right menu we were after, often needing to consult the manual for where things were. We’ve never had to do that for a modem router before, and in 8 years, are surprised that a modern modem router made us dig out a manual online to look for things we still had trouble finding.
That’s the problem with the Taipan, because as much as D-Link has done to bring the complicated high-end modem router down to regular less techie folk, you can’t help but feel that the techie folk who would normally happily spend the near-$600 this thing costs are being left out.
Wireless networking can be a bit of a hassle at home and work, and unless you have a network engineer (or even a GadgetGuy staffer) nearby, it can be a little problematic getting the best experience for the cornucopia of products we all have. Usually, the quickest solution is to throw in an extra router to work alongside, but that may not be the best option.
Frankly, we prefer converged devices for space reasons, as do many Australians, and that explains why Australia and New Zealand are the first places for D-Link to send this beast of a device. It’s not just space, but also combined technology that does it, with upgrades across an entire unit designed to deliver the best of the best experience.
And if that’s what you want, the snake-named series of devices has always been worth looking into, and not just because they’re flagship products.
Ultimately, if you have a ton of devices at home and not enough throughput to get them all online, D-Link’s Taipan is definitely worth checking out, just make sure you have the funds and the space, as both are pretty hefty for a modem router.
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