Interested in trying out mesh networking but can’t find one with that new 802.11ax technology inside? D-Link has one on the way to Australia.
Our need for WiFi is getting stronger at home, and while the pandemic might be one of the more obvious reasons thanks to more devices at home, it’s just one of the reasons. The fact of the matter is we have more wireless devices in our lives now, and if each member of your family has at least one phone, laptop, and maybe a gaming device, plus the other assortment of devices such as smart speakers, displays, security cameras, doorbells, and so on, this can all add up to a lot of wireless devices.
You may not realise it, but more wireless devices can really affect routers that haven’t been designed to take that sort of load. It’s why the routers that come with internet connections are more like starter routers, and if you intend to have more than a handful of devices at home, you might need to expand to something else.
In recent years, tips for improving WiFi at home have centred around changing out the router for a different type, essentially harnessing new technologies to make your wireless network better. It might be a hassle at first, but it’s one that can result in better WiFi across the board.
Over the past year or so, there have been two technologies most tips have suggested: mesh networking and 802.11ax WiFi 6.
Mesh networking is one approach that gets a lot of attention because of what it aims to do, with little networking points spread around your home that create a Venn diagram of WiFi activity, essentially strengthening your entire home by having several points talk to each other. WiFi 6, on the other hand, is a different technology, and improves the WiFi range and speed thanks to more power.
The two concepts have been separate, though we’re now seeing them come together, and that’s good news for consumers potentially looking for a more future-proof approach to WiFi, at least for the next few years.
D-Link might well be one of the first we’ve seen with that, and is launching its next mesh networking devices, complete with WiFi 6 inside, the Covr AX. Officially called the Covr AX1800 and arriving in an option of one, two, or three units in a box, it’s a range that continues the company’s previous “Covr” mesh networking gadgets, but basically bolsters the technology even more, supporting 802.11ax across the mesh network, which is also backwards compatible with older WiFi technologies.
Each Covr AX unit is a bit of a small rectangular tower, and not like the small points Google’s mesh networking approach in Google WiFi uses, with the Covr AX reportedly able to handle a home sized up to 740 square metres, speeds up to 1.8Gbps, and includes technologies to help reduce latency, too.
For folks who may already have D-Link Covr devices in their home, the company told Pickr that the new AX models could technically be compatible, and that it recommends “using additional single COVR-X1870 units to extend Covr AX and get the best performance”.
It also appears that it should be compatible with the mesh networking standard “EasyMesh”, meaning it should work with other EasyMesh devices, of which D-Link and Telstra both make products for. We’re checking with D-Link to find out just what the requirements of this would entail.
We’re also told that it won’t support the upcoming WiFi 6E standard, which hasn’t yet launched in Australia, but that when it did, there would be a different model.
For now, the D-Link WiFi 6 Covr models could be found in Australia with a single unit for $249.95, the two-pack for $399.95, and the three-pack for $549.95.