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D-Link DAP-2610

Wireless AC1300 Wave 2 Dual-Band PoE Access Point
At a glance
ProductD-Link Wireless AC1300 Wave 2 Dual-Band PoE Access Point (DAP-2610)   [Website]
SummaryQualcomm-based 2x2 AC1300 class "Wave 2" access point with PoE and support
Pros• Many management options including built-in AP cluster controller
• Lots of client bandwidth management options
Cons• Web admin can be confusing
• No roam assist features
• Poor 5 GHz performance in open air testing

Typical Price: $142  Buy From Amazon

D-Link's DAP-2610 is a very neutral, smallish oval, with a 12VDC jack and one PoE RJ-45 jack in a recessed bay on its back side. There's a small steel loop bracket at its side; I'm not sure what it's for—possibly for mounting on a junction box.

The DAP-2610 is static addressed from the factory at Unlike Zyxel's NWA1123-AC, it just plain works at that static address—you can connect to it from either of its factory SSIDs, or from a LAN it's plugged into, with no odd hitches or glitches. The UI is usable, if a little more primitive-looking than I'd prefer; it used default browser folder icons, and the simplest possible controls. In short, it looks like it was hacked together by engineers, with no input from web developers or UI focus group.

D-Link DAP-2610 web admin

D-Link DAP-2610 web admin

My biggest complaint was that there's no indication you need to go elsewhere to apply your changes after making them, but you do. Apply changes is hidden under a top "Configuration" menu, and when you click it, reboots your AP immediately. If you forget that step, your changes will be gone after rebooting the AP—even changes to the admin password. (On the plus side, this AP reboots remarkably quickly.) Primitive UI or no, it was easy enough to set up all three of my test SSIDs (one 2.4 GHz, one 5 GHz, and one dual-band).

The firmware upgrade section consisted of the familiar old-school "I'll apply it if you have it" method; you must go looking for a download on your own, then download a ZIP file and extract a BIN from it, then browse to it from the DAP-2610's UI. There is no hint to let you know whether your firmware is current or outdated.

I had a lot of difficulty getting the DAP-2610's multi-client testing started on the 5 GHz band. Both STAs A and B were extremely balky about passing their SSH keypair authentication that's part of the net-hydra multi-STA synchronization controller. SSH keypair authentication is a very chatty protocol that just plain doesn't like slow, unstable networks.

Poking around at the setup, I discovered ping times frequently shooting into the 200ms range at these stations, despite a reported link quality in the 80s (of 100). iperf3 runs tended to fail with completely hung TCP threads, with 40+ seconds of 0 Mbps throughput, after more typical ten second periods producting 7-24 Mbps throughput. I eventually managed to get a successful authentication from both STAs A and B, allowing me to get through 5 GHz testing.

The 2.4 GHz application latency curves for the DAP-2610 are pretty reminiscent of the NWA1123-AC's; they're widely separated, with much higher slopes than we'd like to see. The wide separation of STA A from STAs B and C, and theirs from the very short-range STA D, strongly imply range issues with the AP.

DAP-2610 2.4 GHz

D-Link DAP-2610's 2.4 GHz application latency curves

The DAP-2610 performed significantly worse on 5 GHz than it did on 2.4 GHz, which was not a surprise after the SSH keypair authentication problems I had on this band. Again we see wide separation of the extreme range STA A from the moderate-range STAs B and C, which are themselves widely separated from the very short-range STA D. This is not an access point that performs well at any significant—or even not-so-significant—range.

DAP-2610 5 GHz

D-Link DAP-2610's 5 GHz application latency curves

The DAP-2610 posted the worst overall 5 GHz throughput numbers of any access point in the round-up. Although its overall 2.4 GHz throughput was much better—ranking 3rd of 8, just behind the Edimax CAP1200—its poor 2.4 GHz performance at the long-range STA D, at 6th of 8, is more informative. This is not an access point you want to get very far away from.

DAP-2610 throughput

D-Link DAP-2610's 2.4 GHz single-client throughput

Because the DAP-2610's 5 GHz connectivity was so flaky, I powered down the first AP, set up a second, and began the test procedures again with it. I immediately saw the same issues with difficulty authenticating using keypairs in SSH, so I did not complete the full test run on the second DAP-2610 AP; instead, I powered the first AP back on and began testing roaming.

I did not realize at the time that D-Link had a Central WiFiManager software controller available, so I did not test it. With both APs set up using identical settings, I began my standard walkthrough path.

The DAP-2610 does not support 802.11k,v or r. But roaming behavior while connected to the DAP-2610s was excellent, with prompt roaming to AP2/5GHz as I walked behind AP2, and roaming to AP2/2.4 GHz as I reached the bottom of the stairwell. The DAP-2610s didn't seem happy with the connection when I got to the far corner downstairs, and I got several unprompted roaming events between AP1/2.4 GHz and AP2/2.4 GHz while standing in the corner. Signal in the corner while connected to AP2/2.4 GHz was -63 dBM, quality 43/70; iperf3 gave a reliable 50 Mbps down / 20 Mbps up. Moving back upstairs, the station roamed back to AP1/5GHz as it was placed back on the test stand near AP1.

Further poking around at my earlier issues with SSH keypair authentication showed that as long as the two devices communicating were connected to different bands—or different APs!—they could get through the handshake fine. The only problems occurred when both client and server were connected to the same 5 GHz radio on the same access point.

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