D-Link Covr-C1203 mesh networking for smaller homes (review)
4.0Overall Score
Name: D-Link Covr-C1203
Price (RRP): $399.95
Manufacturer: D-Link

D-Link Covr-C1203 may be a solution to whole-of-home Wi-Fi by using three separate Wi-Fi routers that mesh together to provide Wi-Fi coverage up to 465m2 (approximately 20 x 20m2).

But there are so many caveats to the above statement that is it important to understand how mesh routers work.

Mesh 101

GadgetGuy wrote a tutorial on Mesh, and you must read it before deciding to go mesh. Think of Mesh Wi-Fi as lots of Lilliputians carrying the load versus the raw grunt of Hercules and his mates. Grunt is good especially if you have a lot of Wi-Fi devices.

Setup

It is easy. You can use the D-Link Wi-Fi app for iOS or Android or use a PC/Mac browser.

Covr-C1203

In both cases, you plug in the main A unit to power and an Ethernet cable to your Gateway. It’s not a modem/router, so you need an internet gateway.

Once done its SSID appears, and you log into that with the default password.

After that, a Wizard guides you through changing passwords etc.

Then you plug in the two satellites in places where you need to extend the range. The app/browser will tell you if it has a mesh signal – bad to good.

On that point its impossible to turn a bad or poor signal into a good one if the area where you need to extend the Wi-Fi is a Blackspot. Each device has a WAN/LAN port, so you can use Ethernet cables or Power Over Ethernet adaptors to get maximum backhaul.

We set the $399.95 Covr-C1203 AC1200 up in an area approximately 50m x 10m with the two satellite slaves about 10M from the master (total distance 30m). One was two rooms away with two gyprock walls and two built-in cupboards in between. It had a poor signal. The other traversed one wall but otherwise was in a large open area. It had a good signal.

Tests

Our reference router is a $699.95 D-Link Tri-Band DLR-895L AC5300. AC5300 tri-band which means speeds of 1000Mbps (2.4Ghz) + 2166Mbps (5Ghz) + 2166Mbps (5GHz). At distances over 30m from this router we get only a 2.4GHz signal.

My initial concern was Covr’s AC1200 speeds which is a maximum of 867Mbps (5Ghz and good for 30 metres) and 300Mbps (2.4GHz and good for up to 100m).

But the catch 22 is that 99% of connecting devices have a maximum connect speed of 867Mbps (5Ghz) anyway. Its only later devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note9 or S9 that can take advantage of channel aggregation to get over Gigabit speeds.