A huge majority of the population needs internet connection these days. Not just on a fixed time of the day, but right on your fingertips that touches our smartphones. But what if you live at an area that does not have any optical fiber internet connection? Then we opt for the next best thing – 4G LTE. To propagate the 4G LTE connection to multiple devices at once, we have the D-Link DWR-953 4G router modem for the task.
It’s not a conventional device that we will go and pick it off the shelves but it is an interesting device for what it can do.
Thanks a lot to D-Link Malaysia for sending us a unit of the D-Link DWR-953 together with a SIM card. Sorry that we drained all of the available data off the SIM card though! 🙏
Take a look at our live stream here where we list out our first impressions and how easy it is to set up the D-Link DWR-953.
The D-Link DWR-953 comes in a rather simple packaging. Just a few feature highlights here – particularly on the the ability to have a total of 1200Mb/s through WiFi and able to connect up to 32 different devices. It can also be a repeater to improve coverage. Interesting.
At the back, we can see that there are a total of 4 LAN ports and it is able to do 150Mb/s download and 50Mb/s upload for 4G LTE. Pretty decent, actually. Comes with dual-band WiFi as well – which is important. Learn more about the benefits of 5GHz WiFi here.
Opening up the box reveals the D-Link DWR-953 itself alongside with a power jack, an Ethernet cable, some documentations, and two antennas. Yes, that means you have to screw in the antennas yourself – which is good since that eliminates shipment damage.
The D-Link DWR-953 itself
The overall design of the D-Link DWR-953 is actually pretty simple for a router. It has a super glossy reflective front panel with a row of status indicator LEDs at the bottom. It shows you status of the power, internet activity, individual WiFi band status, 4G, 3G/2G, and also the LAN.
And yes, there are indicators for the signal strength as well. That is interesting.
At the back here we see lots of holes for ventilation and also the 4x Ethernet ports alongside with a WAN port. There are some unused space which is a shame since D-Link could include a couple of USB-A ports there and a few features through software to further enhance the experience.
At the right side we find the mini SIM card slot and also an on/off toggle switch.
At the left side is where the the WPS button is found alongside with a WLAN toggle switch, alongside with a factory reset port.
At the bottom is where we can find the sticker with the information of how to log in to the router’s menus and set things up alongside with the WiFi SSID and password. Or you can just use WPS since the button is placed so conveniently.
Looking at the D-Link DWR-953’s software
At first glance, I thought I was thrown back to the designs of yesteryear because of how the menu looks. It just gave the vibes of how websites look a decade ago.
Honestly, if you are using 4G LTE only, you do not even need to come to this menu. I plugged in a Hotlink SIM card at first and it connected automagically without any issues. Then when I found out the internet quota was depleted, I swapped out for my personal U Mobile SIM card – and it automagically connected as well.
The only thing you need to change – if you wish to do it – is the WiFi SSID and password. It’s really simple to do as well.
The options available on the software side of things is pretty good. A few things that stood out with the D-Link DWR-953 is the option to use the D-Link DWR-953 itself as a failover in case the main internet connection died, or working in tandem in load sharing mode. Not sure why I want to share loads between an optical fiber internet connection and 4G LTE, though.
You can even disable 2.4GHz or 5GHz independently. Once again, not sure why you want to disable 2.4GHz WiFi though.
In the systems tab, there is a menu for SMS service where you can read and write SMS, USSD where you can use your telco’s automated services, and also to ping a certain website to test if the internet is working.
After spending some time with the D-Link DWR-953, we realized that one biggest feature is missing – and that is the ability to monitor how much bandwidth was used over a course of time. On Android smartphones, we can see the cumulative amount of bandwidth used within a certain period of time.
Another thing is the lack of any sort of system to notify or warn me that my bandwidth usage is halfway through its monthly quota or is already completely depleted. When we depleted the Hotlink SIM card at first, we were baffled by its inability to load any websites – but we merely guessed that the internet quota was drained.
Testing the D-Link DWR-953
Obviously, the overall 4G speed of the D-Link DWR-953 is dependent on the SIM card that you are using. U Mobile around my area yields a fairly okay 4G LTE signal and here is our speed test result.
The WiFi range of the D-Link DWR-953 is fairly alright as well – but given that it is indeed connecting to the internet via 4G LTE, we suggest you to use an app on your smartphone called OpenSignal to locate the nearest cell tower and place your D-Link DWR-953 to a window.
Wrapping up the D-Link DWR-953 review
Honestly speaking though, the D-Link DWR-953 is indeed a unique product. It can function as a failover for your main modem router or as to share load.
I do realize that such a product – though its use case is obscure – is demanded in places with no optical fiber connection available just now. Maybe your new house is at a new neighborhood that does not have internet yet. Or maybe TM tells you that the ports are full and TIME is not available yet. In that case, your only choice is to use 4G LTE internet and that is where the D-Link DWR-953 stands out.
Sure, it is not cheap. At RM449, it is indeed a steep price to pay compared to those little handhled 4G modems that your DiGi, Maxis, Celcom, and U Mobile gives you for free upon signing up for their 4G LTE plan. Those, this D-Link DWR-953 is indeed much more powerful and offers a lot more function. Too bad it does not have a battery, though.