D-Link is one of the leading networking companies when it comes to assigning networking solutions for home or businesses. It has a wide catalogue of routers for home/office to make your connectivity smoother across devices. However, the other end of the spectrum, which D-Link is known for is its Access Points as well. While both offer connectivity solutions of your existing ISP; the latter gives you more control and significant range/radius improvements on how you can manage your network connectivity across home or businesses.
Early this year, we reviewed D-Link’s DAP 3666, which is an outdoor access point with a PoE switch, primarily designed for smaller businesses and places like shared workspaces, pool-side areas or parks and even schools, as well.
Now we have another access point from the lot; in for review — the DAP 2680 (Wireless AC1750 Wave 2 Dual-Band PoE Access Point). This is another indoor access point from D-Link with smaller or medium businesses kept in mind; to ensure they have safe and controllable wireless networking solutions alongside high-performance connectivity. It has multiple operation modes and D-Link’s free Nuclias free management software to manage the respective network. This helps in configuring, adding multiple SSIDs, and further enables controlling or monitoring the wireless network.
DAP 2680 – Design
The latest access point has a fairly minimal design succeeding the DAP 2610. The DAP 2680 looks plain in white in a plastic housing on the front with an LED indicator, which identifies network stability by showcasing either green or red lights. On the back, there’s a LAN port that also acts as the PoE switch, depending on how you’re connecting it (more on that in a bit). There’s power input with an adapter provided in the box, and there’s a reset switch at the bottom. That’s about it, as said earlier, the design on the DAP 2680 is minimalistic. The DAP 2680 can be mounted on a wall or a ceiling and D-Link is providing necessary mount kits to help you mount the access point easily.
DAP 2680 – Configuration
Setting up the DAP 2680 is straightforward, although the access point here is for small to medium businesses or workspaces: unfortunately due to the pandemic we were confined to work from scenario, hence we had restricted the use of the access point at home measuring around 5020 square foot. Since we already have a D-link router setup we used an ethernet cable to connect to the DAP 2680 through its LAN port and power adapter provided in the box. The alternative would be using an ethernet cable to the LAN port of the access point, and the other end to the port of an 802.3at POE switch. If you’re not keen in using the switch, another alternative would be purchasing a DPE-301GI POE injector separately.
The setting up of DAP 2680 further includes accessing dap2680.local site through your browser; wherein you would be logging in with provided credentials and then you are taken to a setup wizard. The ‘basic settings’ page on the wizard allows you to configure the wireless network settings on the DAP 2680. Just like the DAP 3666, which we tested earlier; 2680 also has four different wireless modes.
The first and foremost is the traditional access point set up with which you can configure the device with either 2.4GHz or 5GHz wireless band, depending on your needs. Then we have WDS with AP mode, which lets the device have the access point functionality along with the ability to connect multiple wireless networks. There’s only WDS mode to connect to more than one wireless networks, and wireless client mode: which lets the device act as a wireless network adapter for an ethernet enabled device. For authentication, the DAP 2680 supports industry-standard Open System, WPA-Persona, WPA-Enterprise, to name a few.
The other prominent feature of the DAP 2680 would be its multi SSIDs support. The section can be found on the Setup wizard on the browser or through D-Link’s Nuclias Connect app as well. Apart from the multiple SSIDs support, there’s a priority mode included, which lets you prioritise the shared network SSIDs accordingly. This would be beneficial in workspaces where you would want to limit the ‘Guest’ access to your network. Similarly, there’s bandwidth optimization as well that allows users to manage bandwidth for each device that’s connected to the network or amongst clients, for that matter.
The other highlight feature on the DAP 2680 would be its Captive Portal feature, which is a built-in web authentication server that lets clients redirect to a web authentication when connected to the access point. The authentication options here include username, passcode, remote RADIUS, LDAP, POP3, and more. Alternative to the portal, the access point also has MAC Bypass, and it can further act as a DHCP server; to define the range of the IP address.
DAP 2680 – Performance
The crucial part of setting up an access point would be for its performance. With embedded omnidirectional antennas on the inside; the DAP 2680 delivers just right. It supports 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless to deliver faster speeds up to 1.75GB per second. This includes up to 450MB per second on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300MB per second on 5.0GHz. There’s also Beamforming with MU-MIMO, wherein it focuses on delivering high bandwidths to multiple devices at a time, which is super beneficial if you’re running a smaller business with multiple clients, and need to stay connected to high speeds always.
In our use case, as suggested earlier, since we are confined to home the access point delivered promised speeds and we even tested out higher speed plans on a trial basis with our network provider during this review. We usually opt for the 5GHz band since it’s more consistent in speeds but the range and connectivity across multiple devices had been an issue with a standard router, but that’s not the case with DAP 2680 since it delivered promised speeds, which is a plus.
Further, if your work involves lots of files sharing particularly audio, video and voice applications; the DAP 2680 has got you covered with its QoS (Quality of Service) and Wi-Fi Multimedia. The QoS works to prioritise the traffic tailored to you when transferring the aforementioned media files. There are settings available through web GUI to set these priorities, too, which is convenient. Furthermore, the DAP 2680 has band steering that lets you shift from one frequency to another without a drop in the connectivity.
The Nuclias Connect is a free network management software from D-Link to control or restrict access on your DAP 2680. It lets you monitor traffic, or prepare reports on analytics. The tool also shows how many devices are on your network and can showcase band-specific data too. It further has the ability to create multiple SSIDs, and not just through a web setup wizard. The web and app interface is minimal and intuitive, supports iOS, Android, which is a plus too. Though we haven’t got a chance to test it, the company says the management tool has the flexibility to expand a smaller network to a larger one by connecting and managing up to 1000 AP(Access Point)s. For more enhanced security, the software allows users to build firewalls as well.
Priced at Rs 11,249 on Amazon India; the D-Link Nuclias Connect DAP 2680 can be considered as a reliable device to get solid speeds across multiple devices; which would be the case for any growing small scale or medium businesses out there. Not just businesses, if you’re fed up with your Wi-Fi, and looking for a change; that lets you monitor (especially if kids are around), restrict, or control the network speeds across devices at your home, then this DAP 2680 can be a viable option too.
Plus, the Nuclias Connect: the software management tool is extremely comfortable and an essential add-on for your home/business networking solution. The DAP 2680 has given us remarkable wireless coverage where a traditional router couldn’t like corners in different rooms, for instance. The highlights of the DAP 2680 includes convenient configuration, multiple SSIDs support, QoS support for media files transfer, and the list goes on depending on your needs.