D-Link is one of the more popular home networking brands in the market, so they are relentless in delivering a wide range of products for all budget needs. The latest whole home mesh Wi-Fi system from them is COVR-1100 series, and the 2-pack COVR-1100 retails at S$159, with coverage up to 325 sq m or 3500 sq ft. It runs on AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi and 11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO capable of supporting multiple devices streaming simultaneously.
Unboxing and Design
First, let’s take a look at the unboxing video I made when I received the product.
The COVR-1100 feels light and hollow, the plastic material is not very dense, which should aid in heat dissipation. I prefer this cube design which is more harmonious and symmetrical compared to the triangular though smaller COVR-C1200 series. There aren’t many mesh nodes in this shape and form. Most of them are either low-profile or towering, and we all know that taller units tend to transmit signals better. The COVR-1100 comes as a nice balance.
There is the power button, DC power port, and two RJ45 ports for LAN and WAN respectively. For consumers who need more LAN ports, I guess they would have to purchase a separate inexpensive multi-port switch or just re-purpose their old router (which I did).
COVR-1100 is one of the first EasyMesh-certified mesh products to launch in the market. EasyMesh is a new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED standard which ensures the products conform to standards and potentially inter-operate with different brands. As such, COVR-1100 is not compatible with previous COVR models to form a mashed-up mesh network.
To set up the nodes, download the D-Link Wi-Fi app and follow the on-screen instructions. You can refer to my previous COVR-2202 review for detailed screenshots and feature descriptions. Like previous models, parental controls are limited to setting access times without option to control specific content or sites.
The COVR-1100 now supports bridge mode which means the nodes work like a range extender. It also supports Ethernet wired backhaul meaning instead of repeating data among the nodes wirelessly, it uses Ethernet cables which is more stable and certainly higher bandwidth.
What I like on the new COVR-1100 is the tiny LED on top of the node which is a lot less glaring than previous models. If you still think the light is distracting, you can disable it from the app. It would be nice if there is an option to set the operation timer so that I can enable it during waking hours.
Coverage and Experience
I had known that a 2-unit mesh system would not be sufficient to cover my entire apartment, but I did not expect the COVR-1100 to hold up that well compared to many other previous mesh router systems I reviewed. The COVR-1100 was able to deliver respectable and sustained bandwidth at all corners of the house, even to the farthest corner – my master bedroom toilet. Of course, there are degradation of speed, but at least it still connects and delivers sufficient bandwidth for casual surfing. Next to the primary node, a speed test garners around 200 Mbps, and at the second node, the speed is about 120Mbps, while at the farthest region, I could still squeeze 20Mbps.
The more important indicator is the overall experience during the review period, which I feel is seamless. There are occasional slowness, after all, I am only using 2 nodes compared to my usual 3. Yet I had no major disruptive issues, which says a lot about the COVR-1100. At the end of the day, the antenna design is key to ensuring the Wi-Fi signals are optimised and delivers the needed wireless data to the connected devices, and I feel that COVR-1100 has done well compared to the previous COVR models. I would definitely get more nodes if given a choice, and at the moment, only the 2-unit bundle is available.
The D-Link COVR-1100 offers no major revamp of features from previous COVR products. Its app is functional and does not offer any extra capabilities, like anti-virus, advanced parental controls, listing of devices connected to nodes. But at S$159, this is an entry-level flavour for home-owners faced with coverage challenges and just need the basic and stable connectivity without bells and whistles.
- Cube-shaped design blends better at home
- Stable performance with just 2 units (COVR-1100)
- Lacks advanced settings like anti-virus, advanced mesh network topology info, basic parental controls
- Fixed Ethernet port assigned instead of hybrid LAN/WAN config