The D-Link DWA-160 Xtreme N dual band USB adapter is junk even when attached to a recommended D-Link wireless router.
D-Link are a Canadian company who sell goods made in China. In Sydney, Australia, not the Sydney in Canada, D-Link products are cheaper than Netgear and more expensive than TP-Link and other Chinese made products. Most of the D-Link products I test appear to be ahead of the rest for new features but then the new features fail to work. You might as well buy TP-Link to save money or buy Netgear for reliability.
The D-Link DWA-160 advertises speeds up to 300 Mbps (300 megabits per second or about 30 megabytes per second) but achieved only 1 Mbps in a simple test.
The USB device has a think weak brittle cap for the USB plug but nowhere to store the cap. The cap will be lost. You need a nice little carry box for the CD, USB device, and extension cable.
Oh and one more gripe before we discuss the shameful performance. Everyone knows a red light means an error and a blinking red light means you no longer have time to exit the building before the device blows up. The DWA-160 has an incredibly annoying big red light that blinks when the connection is working. The first thing you would do, if you were stuck with the DWA-160 and could not trade a kidney for something better, is to cover the red light with thick black tape, making the hardware visual communication useless.
Useless or annoying to road rage levels? Which would you choose? I threw the DWA-160 in the rubbish bin except for the cardboard box which could be placed in the paper recycling bin.
Room to room
When a router and two computers are near each other in the same room, you can connect by cable to get 1000 Mbps. Connecting to the next room is inconvenient because you trip over the cable going through the doorway. Wireless is better. I tested from one room to another through a wall containing no metal because metal can absorb radio waves. I tested in a building with no competing networks and no microwave ovens or anything else that might interfere. The router produces connection speeds from 34 Mbps up to 54 Mbps to Toshiba and other brands of computer.
The D-Link DWA-160 would not connect when plugged straight into the computer. The device said the signal strength is weak.
I attached the USB device using the extension cable and mounting blob supplied with the DWA-160. The best the device achieved when moved around was a signal strength of
good and a pathetic 1 Mbps.
The test result at close range was so bad that I did not bother with further tests. Every other wireless device achieved 30 to 50 times better performance. Why should I bother with junk.
Wireless has a bunch of connection standards with 802.11n being the latest for high speed connections. 802.11n is still a long way behind a standard Gigabit wired connection. 802.11n is only useful when you want to walk outside or move from one room to another. The 802.11n standard was in draft form for many years. D-Link were one of the first companies to advertise 802.11n devices with
draft always buried in the fine print.
I pay good money for D-Link products and they blow up or fail in some other way. The 802.11n draft products behave badly.
A lot of companies have had problems with 802.11n draft products connecting but a brand X adapter usually connects to a brand X router and only fails when trying to connect to another brand. D-Link is failing to connect to D-Link. A cheap brand bight fall back to a slower speed, say 50 percent of the advertised speed, but this D-Link device falls back to 0.3 percent of the advertised speed.
Windows does not make it easier
The Windows wireless network connection may display a connection failure long after a connection is made. You can have the icon showing a connection failure while watching the Windows wireless diagnostic box reporting data flowing through the network.
D-Link do not make it easier
When the D-Link software is installing a tiny driver, the same D-Link installation process is flooding your computer with 16 Gigabyte application that appears to do nothing useful. You do not get the option to install the driver without the junk. When the junk is installed, you still end up in Windows status and diagnostic screens.
The D-Link DWA-160 tells you to install the driver before installing the hardware. One of their related products forgets to tell you that important point. Of course you could point out that if they were not so stupid, it would not matter which way round you installed the hardware and software.
You insert the CD then step through the defaults then enter the SSID the the pass phrase then continue. The DWA-160 software gives you a few choices after that SSID step. Some do not work unless you have your router set up to be not secure.
Every other wireless device tested in this office can find a router based on the SSID even when the router is not broadcasting an id. Not the DWA-160. You have to set the router to broadcast an identification signal. You tell the router to be visible then, on the D-Link router but not on other brands of router, you reboot the router, then the DWA-160 connects. If you then secure the router by making the id invisible, the DWA-160 will not reconnect.
The packaging is recyclable paper except for some plastic bags. The plastic bags are not labelled for recycling, placing the D-Link product behind several competitors. The big plastic blob on the cable should be recyclable but is not labelled for recycling. The ultimate insult to the environment is to manufacture something so bad that people throw it without using it.
Do not bother with D-Link for
Xtreme performance with anything where the fine print says 802.11n draft. My DWA-160 went in the bin.