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Review: D-Link DWP‑812KT Router with External Antenna

Review: D-Link DWP‑812KT Router with External Antenna - D-Link DWP-812KT achieved the highest transfer results of all devices that I have had the opportunity to use there over many years

Mobile phone signal coverage in our country is so good that when traveling around Poland, I usually no longer experience any problems with coverage (unfortunately, this does not apply to traveling by train yet). When we want coverage at home in the suburbs, in the countryside, or on a forest plot, we care not only about “general” coverage but, above all, about fast mobile Internet. D-Link DWP‑812KT was created for such locations  an external antenna with a modem and a separate router. This solves the problem of places where the range is too weak for classic solutions and home devices. To test in appropriate circumstances, I took the D-Link DWP-812KT to Podlasie, where the road is unpaved and not cleared of snow in winter, and the farm buildings are made of clay. Using the Internet without a router is almost impossible there. As it turned out, D-Link DWP-812KT achieved the highest transfer results of all devices that I have had the opportunity to use there over many years. Let’s get into the details.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Main advantages and disadvantages of D-Link DWP‑812KT

Advantages of D-Link DWP‑812KT :

  • Placing the GSM modem in the external antenna housing
  • Antenna power supply via PoE
  • Only one Ethernet cable goes to the antenna with lossless digital signal transmission
  • Easy to change the cable leading to the antenna and its length in the case of the Ethernet standard
  • Possibility to place the antenna up to 100 meters from the router
  • 4 LED indicators on the external antenna itself make it easy to check that everything is working
  • The set is complete – includes an external antenna, mast holder, internal router, 2 power supplies, 3 Ethernet cables and gigabit PoE
  • Using an external antenna in places with poor coverage significantly improves performance
  • The external antenna is resistant to weather conditions
  • During the tests, I had no problems with the stability of the network connection, even during a storm
  • The router supports USB memory
  • You can replace your home router with any other router if necessary

Disadvantages of D-Link DWP‑812KT :

  • The modem is Cat. 6,300/50 Mbps (with poor coverage, it is of little importance)
  • The router does not support WiFi ax
  • The modem requires the largest 2FF SIM card, which is not very popular today
  • The router does not have as many functions for the demanding home user as standard indoor routers that are offered today, e.g., no QoS
  • A directional antenna requires care and a minimum of discernment during installation

Design

The D-Link DWP‑812KT kit is delivered in a large box with 5 smaller boxes inside. They include an external antenna, a metal, adjustable mast mounting bracket, a 10-meter Ethernet cable, a power supply with a PoE cube, and an internal AC1200 home Wi-Fi router with a second power supply. Two short Ethernet cables connect the PoE cube and the router to the PC.

The most important element of the set is the external antenna. It’s not just an antenna but a set with a modem and a place for a SIM card. Placing the modem in the antenna housing is crucial because it allows you to avoid using an antenna cable, which is susceptible to loss of signal power when transmitting an analog signal. The modem is built into one housing with an antenna that processes the signal and then sends the digital signal via an Ethernet cable, just like we connect the Internet via a cable in a home or business LAN. Such a signal can be attached directly to a computer with an Ethernet port, bypassing the home router, and the Internet will also work. This completely avoids signal loss between the external device and the home network. The specification of the Ethernet cable states that it retains all its parameters without any drop in transfer over a length of up to 100 meters. Therefore, you can safely place the antenna with the modem up to 100 meters from the location of your home router.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

This gives great flexibility and freedom to place the antenna where the signal is best. This is this set’s most important feature, distinguishing it from other solutions with a classic external antenna connected directly to the home device with an antenna cable.

The antenna housing itself has dimensions of 266x266x50mm and weighs 3.2 kg. It is sealed according to the IP67 standard and adapted to operate at temperatures from -30 to +60 degrees Celsius. During my two-week test, there were three intense storms, with strong winds and heavy rain, which did not interfere with using the Internet in any way. The Ethernet cable entry has a thick rubber seal with a notch that lets you put it on the cable without cutting off the plug. The seal tightens on the cable when the fastening is tightened. Next to it, there is a screwed SIM card slot with a seal. I consider it inconvenient that the supported SIM card must be large (like in phones a few years ago). I haven’t seen a SIM card of this size for many years, and it is necessary to use adapters.

On the back of the antenna housing are three LEDs separately informing about the power supply, Ethernet cable connection, and the correct operation of the SIM card, as well as four lines indicating the signal strength. This makes it easier to diagnose potential performance problems.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

The antenna and modem are powered directly from the Ethernet cable, so a separate power cable is unnecessary. For this purpose, the set includes a gigabit PoE cube – Power over Ethernet. We connect the wires from the antenna to this cube and the cube to a dedicated power supply. The second, a short Ethernet cable, goes from the PoE cube to the router, and the third, the Ethernet cable, goes from the router to the PC – everything is included in the factory set.

The antenna mount lets you set the up-down angle and is attached to the mast using two U-shaped clamps. The antenna is directional and has markings indicating its horizontal and vertical position. Point it directly at the base station of interest to obtain the best effect. The antenna gain for specific frequencies is as follows:

  • ~7 dBi (690 – 900 mHz)
  • ~10 dBi (1710 – 2170 mHz)
  • ~15 dBi (2300-2690 mHz

The set also includes a classic D-Link DIR-825 home router, which allows you to run a home network by connecting up to 4 devices using a gigabit Ethernet cable and WiFi AC. This classic home router offers a WiFi button, WPS, a power button, and one USB port.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Transfers and additional opportunities – grade 5

The D-Link DWP ‑812KT set was created especially for places where a classic router and home modem do not work because the cellular signal range is so weak that transfers do not allow comfortable work or video streaming.

The antenna with a built-in modem supports LTE Cat. 6 with maximum transfers of 300 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload. The home router supports WiFi AC with a maximum speed of 867 Mbps and gigabit Ethernet connections. The entire set costs PLN 1,199, so there will certainly be voices that the router could support the latest 6th generation WiFi, i.e., AX, and the modem should be 5G or at least Cat. 7 like many home routers for PLN 400. However, it must be remembered that the D-Link DWP -812KT is intended for circumstances where an ordinary device only “extracts” a maximum of a few megabits per second because the signal is too weak. Then these newer and faster technologies will not provide any benefits, and what the reviewed D-Link DWP ‑812KT offers will never be fully used in difficult conditions anyway. I will try to illustrate this with specific examples from my tests.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Sitting with the phone in my hand by the window, the speed test reached 3 Mbps download and 1.71 Mbps upload. This is barely enough to use instant messaging and with some patience to load web pages. Watching YouTube is virtually impossible anymore.

The classic Huawei B535 home router, suspended with the best coverage throughout the house (the place chosen after years of experiments, trials, and errors), already achieves about 37 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. This significantly improves, allows you to enjoy multimedia, and provides relative comfort. However, all it takes is worse weather, i.e., higher humidity, and it becomes noticeably worse.

D-Link DWP ‑812KT speed test  :

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

At the same time, on the same day, the tested D-Link DWP -812KT  with an antenna on the mast in front of the house achieved a maximum of 120 Mbps download and 28 Mbps upload – this gives 320% faster download and as much as 560% faster upload, respectively, right at the beginning. At no point during the two weeks of testing did the download speed drop below 80 Mbps or the upload speed below 20 Mbps. If I had not tested the router for reviews but had mounted it permanently, e.g., on a mast attached to a chimney, the results would have certainly been improved. Even placing the antenna in front of the house significantly improved work comfort. At the same time, the internal router with 4 antennas improved the WiFi range inside the home compared to the Huawei B535 router with internal antennas.

Here I return to the Cat.6 modem and the WiFi router – none of these parameters was even close to their maximum performance, and I think that the tested D-Link DWP ‑812KT will be used even in more difficult conditions than in mine, where the ordinary router doesn’t work. Then the benefit of an external antenna will be even more noticeable. The internal router, as it receives a ready signal from the Ethernet cable directly from the external antenna, if someone needs to build a super fast local network, can be replaced with any other model with WiFi ax, e.g., D-Link DIR-X5460, reviewed recently. However, in places with weak signals, this will not benefit the speed of the Internet. It will only speed up the transfer of files on the local network, e.g., between two computers in the same house.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Configuration and software

You can use a browser to access the router software. In this model, D-Link does not promote a mobile management application. Regardless of the model, only the browser interface gives access to all options. As in other models, the interface is in English.

The router from the D-Link DWP -812KT set offers the ability to connect a USB memory stick and supports Samba, FTP, DLNA servers, and a Torrent client. It is also possible to browse files in the connected memory using the file browser built into the router.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

There is an option to easily manage transfer restrictions for individual devices, but it is not an advanced QoS model; only values are entered manually for given LAN and WAN ports.

There is also the option of filtering IP and MAC addresses, protection against DoS, and the ability to run the built-in advertising filter, i.e., AdBlock. The router can save logs directly to a connected USB memory stick. There is a built-in ping and traceroute function. You can also activate access via Telnet and SSH.

In a separate tab, you can view the status of the external antenna and its built-in modem.

So we have access to many advanced remote management options, but functions for demanding home users, e.g., gamers, were not a priority here.

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Router D-Link DWP‑812KT z anteną zewnętrzną – recenzja

Our final rating

D-Link DWP ‑812KT is not a standard device for everyone, and there is no reason to use it in the city or wherever the network coverage is good. You can then choose cheaper and simpler devices. The situation is entirely different when dealing with a place where the coverage is so poor that it is impossible to use the Internet directly on the phone or simply inconvenient. Then, placing the external D-Link DWP -812KT antenna on a roof, tree, or other mast may mean the difference between no Internet and comfortable network use. In my case, the difference was +320% download speed and 560% upload speed, and these were the best results I achieved in this location. If I lived there permanently and, as now, the Internet was crucial to my work, installing D-Link DWP -812KT would be on the list of strict priorities because the difference in the comfort of file transfer was very significant. For everyone for whom Internet access is a necessity and who has homes in areas with poor mobile network coverage,  D-Link DWP ‑812KT will be an excellent idea.

We love: placing the modem in the antenna housing and connecting the antenna with an ethernet cable to the internal router

What we don’t like: The included router looks unimpressive

Who is D-Link DWP‑812KT for :

  • For people with poor GSM coverage where they live
  • For those who want to set up the internet on their plot
  • For those for whom the ability to place the antenna far from the router is important

Who is not D-Link DWP‑812KT for :

  • Not for city dwellers
  • Not for those for whom the latest 5G and WiFi AX standards are crucial