Being able to share an external storage attached to the wireless router is an advantage to support your multimedia wireless environment. This is particularly advantageous if your wireless router support built-in media server. Wireless routers with built-in media server allow you to stream multimedia files stored in the attached storage to the Blu-Ray player, XBOX console, and HDTV seamlessly.
Standard home wireless routers do not include a USB port, but mostly home wireless routers which fall into high performance router category are embedded with one or two USB 2.0 port. USB 2.0 port can deliver data rate transfer up to 480Mbps. If you have 5 or ten users or even more on your network either via wired or wireless connections access the files stored in the attached USB 2.0 storage intensively time to time, you will experience a slow performance in accessing or transferring the files to and from the storage. This is due to the maximum data rate transfer the USB 2.0 device can deliver is up to 480Mbps. What if the router is embedded by USB 3.0 port and the attached storage is also USB 3.0 compliant?
Intel specifies the speed of Superspeed USB 3.0 port as fast up to 10 times as the speed of traditional USB 2.0 port with the data rate transfer up to 5Gbps. In CES 2011 D Link showcased two wireless routers which are embedded by USB 3.0 port: the Dir-827 and the Dir-857 wireless dual band routers with data rate transfer up to 2Gbps. It’s not as fast the maximum speed transfer as USB 3.0 Intel specification (5Gbps), but it is still as fast 4 times as those traditional routers with USB 2.0 port.
Both Dir-827 and Dir-857 are true simultaneous dual band routers with USB 3.0 port but with different speed. The Dir-827 is engineered by wireless N600 technology with the speed up to 300Mbps similar to the Wndr3800 N600 router, while the Dir-857 is engineered by the wireless N750 technology with the speeds up to 450Mbps similar to the Linksys E4200 N750 router.
How do you compare Dir-827 with Linksys E4200 router? The main differences between Dir-827 and E4200 wireless routers are the speed, the USB port and the guest network. Firstly, the total bandwidth Dir-827 can deliver is up to 600Mbps (300Mbps each band) but Linksys E4200 is up to 750Mbps. Secondly, the Dir-827 includes one USB 3.0 port but Linksys E4200 includes traditional USB 2.0 port. Not just that, USB 3.0 port in Dir-827 is powered by Shareport technology to let you easily host an external storage (either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 based storage) or USB printer which can be accessed by users on the network. And the last but not the least, Linksys E4200 supports guest network to provide your guests internet access without compromising your private network, but D Link Dir-827 doesn’t support guest network.
Except the USB 3.0 port compliant, the D Link Dir-827 is similar to Netgear WNDR3800 premium edition which the USB port can be used to share the storage or the printer. Is the USB 3.0 port in both Dir-827 and Dir-857 important for your need? You will judge, but I prefer the wireless router which includes two USB ports for hosting both storage and printer concurrently to support my “work and play” environment.