D-Link DWA-192 AC1900 wireless USB adapter review: Maximize your router's potential
Performance & Conclusion
We will adopt our usual test setup which consist of a desktop PC, a router, and a laptop to simulate a wireless home network. The desktop system takes on the role of a host machine, while the router acts as a gateway. We will use a variety of clients to evaluate the performance of the D-Link DWA-192 wireless adapter.
To begin, we will use our trusty Netgear A6200 USB adapter to act as a baseline reference. We have been using this USB adapter for a long time in our router tests. This particular wireless USB adapter supports two spatial streams for a maximum data transfer rate of 867Mbps. In other words, the D-Link DWA-192 wireless USB adapter should provide us with faster speeds.
And to serve as another point of comparison, we will also be pitting the D-Link DWA-192 against a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. This Apple notebook is one of the few notebooks in the market to come with a 3x3 wireless adapter capable of supporting a data transfer rate of 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band.
To evaluate the wireless adapters, we will be measuring the time it takes to download a 1GB file from various ranges on the 5GHz band. And to ensure a fair comparison, the Linksys WRT1900AC, winner of our AC1900 router shootout, will be the router used for these tests. Here are the distances tested and what they represent:
- 2m - Right beside the router.
- 5m - In the adjacent room.
- 13m - In the room opposite.
- 17m - To simulate extreme distances.
Looking at the performance graph, we have mixed feelings about the D-Link DWA-192. At close ranges, the MacBook Pro was the unbeatable, racking up speeds of 380Mbps and 444Mbps at 2 and 5 meters respectively. In comparison, the D-Link DWA-192 wireless USB adapter managed 186Mbps and 363Mbps respectively at similar ranges. It's a big gap in performance. In fact, at 2 meters, it was no faster than even our trusty Netgear A6200 wireless USB adapter. Fortunately, it redeemed itself somewhat at the 5 meters range, where it was over 50% quicker than the Netgear A6200.
At 13 meters, the D-Link DWA-192's results were no better than the Netgear A6200, as both wireless USB adapters recorded 220+ Mbps. Surprisingly, the MacBook Pro saw its performance drop drastically, managing just 126Mbps at this range. At our farthest test range of 17 meters, the MacBook Pro was so slow that it's result was no longer meaningful. In case you are wondering, it took over 10 minutes to transfer the 1GB test file. At this point, you're better off using a USB flash drive. At this range, the D-Link DWA-192 managed 156Mbps, which is decent, but almost 9% slower than the Netgear A6200.
Looking at the results above, you might be wondering, “Does the D-Link DWA-192 wireless USB adapter really allow me to maximize the performance potential of my AC1900 router?” The answer is yes, but it does have some caveats.
Based on the results above, the D-Link DWA-192 wireless USB adapter does have the potential to provide extra performance over your more typical AC1200 wireless USB adapters. However, the test results suggest that it works best a medium range. At 5 meters, it was significantly quicker than the Netgear A6200, to the tune of around 54%. And while the D-Link DWA-192’s close range performance is no match for the MacBook Pro, its performance at the farther 13 and 17 meters was still somewhat decent.
What this really means is that there appears to be a sweet spot at which the D-Link DWA-192 operates best. Find it, and this miniature Death Star lookalike shouldn't disappoint you.
With a recommended retail price of S$109, the D-Link DWA-192 wireless USB adapter is actually quite reasonably priced for what it is, considering that ASUS’ slower AC1200 USB-AC56 wireless USB adapter is even pricier. Obviously, there are far cheaper AC1200 alternatives around, but the D-Link DWA-192 remains to be the only wireless USB adapter capable of reaching AC1900 speeds at this moment. So if you want better wireless performance, best be prepared to pony up the dough.