Not every home needs a high-end router with numerous I/O ports, copious management settings, and the latest and greatest wireless tech.
Sometimes, an affordable router like the D-Link DIR-867 will get the job done.
Priced at $89.99, the DIR-867 is a dual-band router and one of the few budget-priced models we've seen that supports MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) simultaneous data streaming.
It performed relatively well in our throughput speed tests and was a snap to install, but if you spend $20 more, you can get the robust parental controls, anti-malware protection, and USB connectivity of the Editors' Choice Asus RT-AC66U B1.
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Practical Design and Features
The wedge-shaped matte black cabinet of the DIR-867 measures 1.5 by 9.0 by 8.0 inches (HWD) and has four adjustable antennas that are not removable.
That means they can't be replaced with more powerful after-market antennas.
On the top of the router are LED indicators for power, internet, and both radio bands, and the rear panel holds four gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, reset, WPS, and Wi-Fi buttons, and a power jack and switch.
As with the D-Link DIR-859 ($142.96 at Amazon) you won't find any USB ports on this router.
The DIR-867 is a 3x3 dual-band router powered by a dual-core 880MHz CPU, 128MB of flash memory, and 128MB of RAM.
It is capable of speeds of up to 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band.
It supports 802.11ac Wave 2 technology including MU-MIMO data streaming and direct-to-client signal transmissions, or beamforming.
It also supports D-Link's Smart Connect option, which lets the router choose the best radio band based on current network activity.
The router can be managed using a web-based console or the D-Link Wi-Fi mobile app for iOS and Android.
The web console is the same one used to manage other D-Link routers including the DIR-859 and the DIR-878 ($107.00 at Amazon) .
The Home screen contains a network map and internet stats such as IP and MAC addresses, connection type, default gateway, and connection uptime.
Along the top of the screen are Home, Settings, Features, and Management tabs.
The Settings tab gives you access to a Setup Wizard and internet settings such as Connection Type (DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP), VLAN, and IPv4/IPv6 settings.
Wireless settings include Smart Connect, SSID and Password, Security Mode (WPA/WPA2), Wi-Fi Channel, Channel Width, Transmission Power, and Guest Zone (guest networking), while Network Settings let you configure the LAN IP Address and Subnet Mask settings and tweak DHCP and WAN Port Speed settings.
Use the Features tab to access the drag and drop QoS (Quality of Service) settings, where you can assign maximum bandwidth to clients that need it most (think video streaming or gaming), enable Firewall settings, and configure Port Forwarding and Quick VPN settings.
The DIR-867 doesn't offer the age-appropriate parental controls that come with the Asus RT-AC66U B1 ($95.96 at Amazon) , but it does offer website filtering and network access scheduling.
Also missing is the built-in malware protection that you get with the RT-AC66U B1.
Management settings allow you to view system logs, change passwords, update firmware, monitor network traffic, and create access schedules.
Good Performance for the Price
You can install the DIR-867 using the mobile app or the user-friendly web interface.
I used the latter, but both options are quick and easy.
I connected the router to my modem and to my desktop PC, powered it up, and typed http://dlinkrouter.local./ in my web browser.
This launched the Setup Wizard, which automatically detected my internet settings and gave me the option to change SSIDs and passwords for each band.
I then created an administrator password and was ready to go.
See How We Test Wireless Routers
The DIR-867 performed reasonably well on our throughput speed tests.
Its score of 90Mbps on the 2.4GHz close-proximity (same room) test was 24Mbps faster than the DIR-859 and 3Mbps faster than the TP-Link Archer A7 ($59.99 at Best Buy) , but lagged the Asus RT-AC66U B1 by 7Mbps.
At 30 feet, the DIR-867 (51Mbps) outperformed both the Archer A7 and the DIR-859, while the RT-AC66U B1 led the pack with a score of 65Mbps.
On the 5GHz close-proximity test, the DIR-867 garnered an impressive 550Mbps, beating the DIR-859 and the Archer A7, and coming within 1Mbps of the RT-AC66U B1.
The DIR-867's score of 164Mbps on the 30-foot 5GHz test outperformed the Archer A7 and the DIR-859, but once again could not top the RT-AC66U B1.
To test MU-MIMO performance, we use three identical Acer Aspire R13 laptops equipped with Qualcomm's QCA61x4A MU-MIMO circuitry.
Since the DIR-867 is the first budget-priced router we've come across that offers MU-MIMO technology, we've compared its MU-MIMO performance with a handful of more expensive routers.
On the close-proximity test, the DIR-867's score of 171Mbps was good, but not strong enough to beat the Phicomm K3C, the D-Link DIR-878, or the Linksys EA7500 ($189.99 at Amazon) .
On the 30-foot MU-MIMO test, the DIR-867's score of 79Mbps was just a tad slower than the DIR-878 and the EA7500, but was 31Mbps slower than the Phicomm K3C.
MU-MIMO on a Budget
The D-Link DIR-867 is a solid choice for users that require MU-MIMO streaming but have limited funds.
It's certainly not the fastest router out there, but it holds its own against most other similarly priced models, and it's easy to install and manage.
That said, spending $20 more for our Editors' Choice for affordable routers, the Asus RT-AC66U B1, gets you more robust features and faster throughput performance.