Review: D-Link Taipan AC3200 modem router

Need a ton of performance for WiFi at home? No worries, because D-Link has something that might fit the bill, and it’s so big, you might even have problems placing it.

Features and performance

The latest of the company’s converged modem and router models, the D-Link Taipan or “DSL-4320L” as it’s called from the official model number is the new flagship beast, and boy is it something interesting.

For this model, D-Link is taking that new signature pyramid design we saw in a recent router, which we still think reminds us of the old Pizza Hut restaurants, if you’re young enough to remember when Pizza Hut had eat-in places in Australia.

Every time we saw that router somewhere — and there’s one somewhere in GadgetGuy’s review area — we said “oh look, it’s the Pizza Hut router”, because of the red angular roof that just made it stand out.

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For the Taipan, D-Link has taken that design and made it blue, so now we can’t recall our consumerist roots, but what we can do is forgo needing both a modem and a router separately, because what this model can do will make you want to switch regardless.

Let’s start with the basics of what it has, because when you look at it either on a website, printed or on the box, our out of that and into the real world, the first thing you’ll notice are the antennas.

Yup, there are six of these, and they’re thick, high-gain, and larger than your regular WiFi router antennas, designed to match the 802.11ac wireless found inside the Taipan, which relies on the AC3200 technology.

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If that seems like a bunch of numbers to you, let’s break it down to explain it a little better:

In the world of wireless networking, the letter and number combo is usually based on network speed, so when you had an N600 network, you had an “802.11n” network operating at a maximum of 600Mbps.

Last year, if you bought an AC1750 device, you had an “802.11ac” network operating at a combination of 1300Mbps (1.3Gbps) and 450Mbps, with the two networks running in a sort of combination whereby the slower devices could rely on the slower connection (which operates on 2.4GHz) while the devices that really needed super speeds, like say a TV, could use the 1300Mbps (on the 5GHz network).

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, read what the D-Link Taipan is again: AC3200.

To break that down, you first need to know this thing will put a staggering 3200Mbps of performance, though not all at once. Rather, this is broken down into two 1300Mbps bands operating on 5GHz each, and one 2.4GHz network pushing out 600Mbps.

As a point, D-Link isn’t alone in this technology relying on AC3200 wireless networking, but it is alone in one of the convergent features for this technology as in a world first, it even has the modem built directly in it.

For those of us in Australia, that means we get a few technologies to choose from directly inside the Taipan.

If you’re lucky enough to have the NBN, plug it in.

If you’re living in Canberra and have access to the faster-than-ADSL2-technology known as VDSL, plug it in.

And if — like us — you’re still stuck on ADSL2, plug it in.

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Basically, the Taipan supports everything a modern Aussie might want to rely on, except, of course, there’s no phone or VoIP support, though this modem router isn’t made for that.

Rather, it is made for speed, and for households and businesses with a need for that and way too many devices to account for.

To help with this, the Taipan relies on a 1GHz dual-core processor and a bunch of technologies to help make the device even stronger, such as smartbeam forming which helps to narrow the connection to each device and keep a product connected.

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Depending on the length or height of your home, as well as what it’s made from, this can mean your device stays connected for longer, and we found that while the 802.11ac network got weaker as we pushed through our old early 1900s home, the fact that it stayed connected was important, specifically because few modem routers we had used were able to accomplish this.

The previous modem router we were using was actually the D-Link Viper, the cylindrical model with no antennas. For what it’s worth, we preferred the look and style of that model, but it just doesn’t do what the Taipan can do, and we even had to bring a wireless router to improve the connection of the Viper as time went on.

In the Taipan, however, we’re back to being in convergence bliss as we only need to rely on one for the plethora of devices we’re connected.

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Generally, the Taipan lets you operate a network using either the standard combination of three networks, allowing you to run them with different names, different passwords, and generally feel like you’re the master of your domain, or it includes something we haven’t seen which is handier than you might expect.

This is D-Link’s “Smart Connect” feature, which tends to switch itself on without you asking to, though after testing it, we can actually see why.

What Smart Connect does is run the three networks, but brings them together under the one network name (SSID), with the modem router working out which device needs to connect to the varying network.

With Smart Connect switched on, your three networks are converged under one.

With Smart Connect switched on, your three networks are converged under one.

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