D-Link Singapore is one of the most active home network companies reaching out to me whenever they launch new products, and I would take in products for a review if I find them relevant to my life. This time round, I received the COVR X1870 (AX1800) Mesh Router, EXO X5400 (AX5400) Router and AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 PCIe Wireless Adapter with Bluetooth 5.1. In this article, I will share my experience on the COVR X1870.
I am probably one of the few adventurous reviewers in Singapore that have been installing new routers regularly at home, putting them in the real world test but at the same time risking of angering my family members – when the Wi-Fi network did not perform well. After so many years of Wi-Fi experience, I know the hot spots and blind spots around my house which has over 20 wireless devices connected to my home network. New routers are put to the test on how well they can perform. Having said that, it would be quite hard to beat my existing network, because I currently install 4 mesh nodes around the house to get me the optimal coverage – it could be better, but it’s good enough. Most review units come with two or at most three units, which I feel not so adequate. But once a while, some products surprise me with their performance.
The COVR X1870 is D-Link’s first “Whole Home” mesh system that supports the new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard. The new AX standard comes with increased wireless security (WPA 3), reduced congestion, improved speed. There are underlying technologies that make them happen, e.g. MU-MIMO, OFDMA, BSS Coloring.
The COVR X1870 stands at 194mm tall, almost touching the top of my shelf where I house my routers and hubs. It comes with a power adapter with swappable 2-pin or 3-pin plugs, and one RJ45 cable.
The biggest feature advantage of COVR X1870 compared to all other mesh nodes is it comes with 4 LAN ports, the same number as a standard router. With this, there would be no excuse not to replace your current router due to insufficient ports. My current mesh router only has 2 ports, so I had to re-purpose an old router as a network switch. The X1870 negates the need for a separate switch thus saving electricity and space.
The installation process remains unchanged from existing D-Link network products: to automate the process, install the “D-Link Wi-Fi” smartphone app and connect the X1870 to either your service provider’s ONT.
The on-screen guide will guide you through the process. You need to connect to the X1870 SSID, and this is the part that often fails with the QR code provided. If that happens, just manually go to the Wi-Fi menu in your smartphone and manually select the SSID of the X1870 and the password to connect to it. This is to allow the app to send the config information to the X1870.
Once the LED light turns white, then the COVR X1870 is active and you can take out the second unit, turn on, automatically detect the master unit. If for any reason, you have a problem with the second unit and did a manual reset, just go to the smartphone app and manually add a new device. Once you scan the QR code of the second X1870, the app will know it’s the same family of device and allow you to set up as as second node.
You can explore the router features, manage the settings and connected clients either from the D-Link Wi-Fi smartphone app or from the web browser by entering the IP address. I prefer the web browser way as it is more responsive and supports more advanced functions. On the UI, you can also identify which devices are connected to which nodes.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) certainly delivers higher throughput than the previous-gen Wi-Fi standard, especially if you device supports Wi-Fi 6. I ran a speed test on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and I could get about 350 Mbps on FAST.COM. With my existing mesh system, I get at most 150 Mbps from the same testing spot. For existing devices, the speed is similar but at the upper range. It supports wired backhaul, though I did not test it as my home is not wired.
I am generally pleased with the X1870 performance at my home, and there are no congestion experienced or uneventful drop-outs, although with a 2-unit mesh setup, it is inadequate to cover the common blind spots, like the master bedroom toilet and my daughter’s room. My family did feedback on weak coverage at the usual areas. So purchasing additional units should achieve similar performance as my existing 4-node mesh system.
Another strange observation is that some of my older devices could not seem to connect to the X1870, despite its backward compatibility. The 2 devices that could not work at all are the ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300 (with Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265) and the Aztech Kyla Gen 1 Smart Plug. For the laptop, a driver update easily solves the issue, so if you face the same problems, try this method.
Other devices like the Aztech Kyla Gen 2 Smart Hub appear to have occasional disconnection where it would flash red, but a cold reboot always resolved the issue.
One thing to note is that the X1870 is not compatible with any of the existing D-Link mesh systems. This is not a big issue as long as you buy back the same model, but other brands like TP-Link Deco series can interwork with different models so you could blend, which offers more flexibility.
While the X1870 is rather towering, I believe this design is necessary to get better coverage. I would place them lying down on the sides to appear less conspicuous.
The D-Link COVR X1870 should be the top of anyone’s shopping list for a new mesh system to replace their existing traditional routers, because it comes with 4 LAN ports where most mesh systems could come with at most two. The new Wi-Fi 6 standard delivers higher bandwidth, reduced congestion, increased wireless security with WPA3, but only if you have devices that support this standard. If you have older devices, there is a small chance that they do not work with the new Wi-Fi 6, so I would suggest you continue to get the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) models.
- Supports latest Wi-Fi 6 standard with higher bandwidth
- Supports 4 LAN ports to connect more devices than other mesh products
- Might not be compatible with older devices