Hands-on review: D-Link COVR AX AX1800 Dual Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
Wi-Fi 6 is the next big thing in wireless networking for the home. Having ditched the previous convoluted designations that were a mixture of numbers and letters, we the consumer can easily understand that the bigger the number the better the thing is. Who would know that 802.11ax is better than 802.11ac? We do, now that the Wi-Fi Alliance has renamed 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6.
Most new devices will be compatible with Wi-Fi 6 (as well as, for the moment, 802.11ac). To get the most out of this new technology, you need a Wi-Fi 6 network. Most ISPs like to hand out ancient (but robust) Wi-Fi 802.11ac modems. By hooking up the AX1800 kit to your existing modem and allowing it to take over Wi-Fi networking duties, you have effectively upgraded your Wi-Fi without replacing your modem.
The COVR-X1873 AX1800 Dual Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System consists of three COVR-X1870 units that operate at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The system is scalable, so more units increase the coverage area. Being a mesh system, the Covr units can be positioned around your property extending the Wi-Fi coverage to a theoretical maximum of 740 sqm. The actual range will be very much dependent on the position of the units and the line of sight between the units.
The very first thing that I noticed about the AX1800 routers/repeaters is that they have a matt white finish. As lovely as glossy repeaters are, one touch and they are covered in fingerprints, and one wipe of a duster and they are covered in scratches. They may not look as “premium”, but they are much more practical, especially if you’ve got kids.
As with all these sorts of devices, where they are located very much depends on where you have a free power socket. Whilst the brochure may show them perched inconspicuously on a shelf, you are going to have a trail of cables from the devices to your sockets.
I found the Covr units to be a little too light. Although they have two little rubber feet, the cable is ridged enough to easily move the unit if disturbed. And the last thing you want is one of these falling off the shelf.
Setting up the COVR-X1870 units should be simply a case of installing the D-Link Wi-Fi app and following the instructions. Unfortunately, I have several other D-Link devices in the house and something went a bit wrong.
I had to set up each Covr unit separately via PC rather than the app. As I said, this is likely due to there being multiple D-Link devices/networks in the house. Thankfully, the Covr units use D-Link’s clean web interface, common across all their networking product. I was able to set up the Covr mesh as an extension of my ISP router’s Wi-Fi network.
The end result was worth the effort though. It gave me a network with the five existing COVR-1100 units plus the three new COVR-X1870 units all with one SSID and one password covering the entire house and garden.
Testing again, resetting the units, and this time plugging one of them directly into the modem and using the device’s router mode, things got a lot easier. The additional two COVR-X1870 units were paired with the first via a press of the WPS button on each.
The COVR-X1873 units are very versatile devices. Each has a unique MAC address and can function independently as a Wi-Fi router with four RJ-45 Ethernet sockets and one RJ-45 socket for connecting to a modem. Each device, by default, has the same SSID and password, but a unique mydlink number. Each device also has a unique URL for the web settings, but with a uniform default username and password. Most users will not need any of this, as the app will probably serve your set-up as intended. If you are going to do anything fancy, though, these sorts of details are important.
The use of just one Covr unit extended the range of my Wi-=Fi by some 40m, through two buildings, allowing me to work whilst sitting in the hammock at the bottom of the garden. My Internet download speed did drop from 100MB/s to 35MB/s, but it was still very usable.
The COVR-X1873 system took a bit of messing about to get set up when adding to my existing network, a mixture of legacy and Wi-Fi 6 devices. However, setting the system up in router mode, connected directly to the modem proved as easy as D-Link kit usually is.
The D-Link COVR AX AX1800 Dual Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System extends your Wi-Fi coverage over a large enough area to encompass all but the most palatial of abodes. The Wi-Fi 6 technology gives your network an instant upgrade that enables users to get the most out of their new wireless devices.