- Stable 5g downstream performance.
- Fast wifi with good range.
- Handy touch screen.
- Compact format.
- No extra functionality.
- No charger included.
D-Link delivers most of what you want in a mobile router – portability, good connectivity for things like surfing and streaming and easy management. The battery life is acceptable even if there is better, and you can get by with more moderate performance for charging.
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Tested product: D-Link DWR-2101
Award: SEK 4,529 at Proshop.
The DWR-2101 is a conveniently compact unit. 5g routers are generally larger than 4g routers, but this model is not overly large and can easily slip into a pocket or laptop bag. It has a simple design with rounded corners and a nice pattern in the plastic shell.
In the middle of the device is a large touch screen which is the router’s main interface. There you can easily see the network’s name and password, and make most of the basic settings you might need. The start screen provides a good overview of signal strength, connection and data consumption, and then it’s easy to scroll through to the other settings. However, it does not have particularly many such.
Broadband sharing and not much more
The router lacks extra features such as guest networking, parental control and other detailed access control. You can block and blacklist connected devices, but that’s about it. There is a web interface and a mobile app as well, but to find out we first had to download a manual from D-Link’s web where there were instructions for this. And the instructions are still more or less unnecessary, since they don’t contain many more functions.
You can do things like set passwords, manage the router’s firewall and similar settings a little more easily, but it’s not something that most people will have to worry about. The app and the web interface are exactly the same, the only difference is that the app is adapted for small touch screens.
Getting started is quick, though after some wrestling with a tight-fitting back panel that needs to be loosened to access the SIM card slot. Then just push the card in and turn on the device. After 30 seconds it has fetched apn details from the network and we are up and surfing. The router is preset with two ssid, one for 2.4 GHz and one for 5 GHz wifi, both with secure passwords. They do not appear to be able to be merged into one with automatic frequency assignment. But you can turn them on and off individually.
Surprisingly good wifi
DWR-2101 supports wifi 6 and you can get really good speed on the local network. We measure almost 800 megabits between a connected wifi 6 client and a computer connected to the router’s fixed network port. Total capacity is respectable, barely 1.8 GHz, of which 574 Mbit/s at 2.4 GHz. The range is also really good both on wifi 6 and wifi 5, around 20 meters with a clear line of sight to the router.
The Ethernet port is for LAN only, and you cannot connect it to a broadband socket for internet sharing. As far as we can see, there is no so-called failover function, so you can use fixed network or another wifi access point as internet connection. It is the mobile broadband that applies.
How good is it then at that? We are pleasantly surprised by consistent and high download speeds, where we occasionally land at over 700 megabits per second, and never below 400.
However, the upload speed is lower, here we get speeds of between 20 and 50 megabits per second.
One working day is enough
The DWR-2101 has a battery of 5,260 mAh, which gives us active surfing time of approximately 13 hours. It is shorter than the manufacturer’s promised 16 hours, but it can of course vary a little depending on how intense the data traffic is and how many clients are connected. But you will rarely have to worry about it not being able to cope with a full working day.
Unlike other competing routers we’ve tested, it doesn’t come with a charger in the box, but with any mobile charger it takes about three hours to top up the battery. Instead, D-Link has stopped with a stylish table stand for the router. It can be good if you have unlimited mobile broadband as your permanent home broadband and want to place it in a window for the best signal.
The router is in several ways deceptively similar to another new 5g router, the NR2101 from Zyxel. It appears to be the same chassis and hardware at the bottom from a third-party manufacturer, but how the manufacturers then manage this varies. And we think D-Link does a better job, also at a slightly lower price.
Product name: D-Link DWR-2101
Tested: April 2021
Model number: DWR-2101
Modem type: 4g (cat 20/13), 5g (sub 6)
Wifi type: Wi-Fi 6, 2.4 + 5 GHz
Wifi capability: 574 + 1,200 Mbit/s
Security: wpa, wpa2, wpa3, wps
Connections: Gigabit ethernet lan, usb 2 type c (charging and internet sharing)
Measured speed, 5 GHz wifi to ethernet: 792 Mbit/s
Measured speed, 5 GHz wifi to 5g: 551 Mbit/s down, 45 Mbit/s up
Range, wifi: About 19 meters on 5 GHz, about 30 meters on 2.4 GHz
Battery: 5,260 mAh, approx. 13 h surfing time
Admin interface: Touch screen, web, app
Size: 11.9 x 7.2 x 2.4 cm
Weight: 235 grams
Award: SEK 4,529 at Proshop.