For many consumers, the concept of mesh wi-fi is often met with ignorance, that is until they move into a household which demands more than the capabilities of a simple network extender or otherwise.
Installation of this next-gen dual-band technology is sometimes still perceived as intimidating, however, this concern has sufficiently been put to rest with D-Link’s COVR-1102 AC1200 Seamless Mesh Wi-Fi system ($299.95/two-node pack).
Comprising two sleek, compact white cubes (~9cm), the COVR-1102 AC1200 is a discrete and aesthetically pleasing system, featuring an one Internet and Ethernet point each, per box.
Despite its compact size, the system pledges robust coverage and speed, plus interoperability with competing products on the EasyMesh standard – a notable positive for those seeking a longer-term solution.
Installation is easy and takes no longer than half an hour for both mesh points. Everything is done via an app, which accompanies extremely user friendly instructions, guided by a singular LED light which displays either white (stable) or orange (error) on the cube/s during set-up.
The node’s LED light and app guides consumers to move the box until it’s in sufficient proximity to the other for sustainable coverage. It’s trial and error, but simple. I would feel comfortable for my mother, brother, father and friend to have no qualms installing this, regardless of their tech prowess. The first box node does have to be connected to an NBN modem via an Ethernet cable, plus mains cable – restricting the amount of flexibility with placement, but benefitted by the node’s compact size.
The app is extremely user-friendly and offers a suite of other functions including remote resetting, information on the amount of devices connected, troubleshooting and more.
Concerning performance, reviewing a mesh wi-fi system is always custom to a variety of personal usage and environmental factors – all exacerbated by notable stress on telecom providers during coronavirus WFH restrictions.
Personally, I live in a Sydney North Shore three storey compact townhouse with a robust NBN broadband plan. Put simply, the two-pack did not offer sufficient reliable coverage, with internet connection significantly lagging when accessed on the third floor. Thankfully, consumers can purchase an additional single box to complement the D-Link COVR-1102 AC1200 system, which notably improved performance by having a box on each floor. Despite this, the LED light is still flashing on the upper floor, indicating a weaker connection versus a solid white light.
D-Link claims that the two-pack cube kit can cover up to 325 sqm, however, with our testing and multiple configuration points (e.g. following D-Link’s app guidance) this was not reachable. For homes like ours, I strongly recommend purchasing an extra box to convert the system into three points, which makes a notable, notable difference on overall performance to warrant the extra cost (A$179.95/single node).
That being said, the two-pack did offer competitive performance versus other mesh wi-fi systems on today’s market, both in terms of speed and reliable connection – I would just note that it may be better for smaller homes, or those with fewer levels than ours.
I would have also preferred that the system, or app, offered further information around signal strength mapping, to better customise placement of the nodes.
An additional Ethernet port would have also been most beneficial, and is probably personally my biggest con for this system.Whilst EasyMesh is an excellent addition for consumers seeking to future-proof their system, the reality is that compatible options are still rather slim in today’s market.
The system receives additional points for supporting Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice controls, however, unlike some other systems the nodes are not speakers too.
Other interesting app features include the ability to automate rebooting the router on a schedule (e.g. daily and weekly), and whilst we did not automate this, rebooting was needed a few times during our testing when performance jittered.
Parents can also use the app to limit Wi-FI functionality to certain times of day.
I appreciate that the system incorporates Smart Steering technology to automatically direct connected devices to the best wireless band dependent network on traffic – pledging to reduce drop outs and lags.
Overall, the D-Link COVR-1102 AC1200 Mesh Wi-Fi System is super simple to set-up, simple to use, and makes life super simple, too. It’s an accessibly priced mesh wi-fi solution that will ramp up the network capabilities of most homes with limited fuss, and its user friendly app will likely appease parents. Whilst it’s not aimed at the top-end of the market, it does strongly deliver on simplicity and no-fuss functionality.
The D-Link COVR-1102 AC1200 Mesh Wi-Fi System (2 node pack) is available to purchase from JB HI-Fi for $299.95.
- High speed AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi
- Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh for more flexibility
- 2 COVR points cover up to 3,500 sq. ft (325 sqm)
- Works with the Google Assistant, Alexa
- Add units to expand mesh Wi-Fi network
- Parental Controls