Using a Note 9 we found (5GHz channel only)

All in Mbps Cover AC1200 D-Link AC5300
Ground Zero 867Mbps to device 867Mbps
Galaxy Note 9 could aggregate to 1.2Gpbs
20m (good signal to the master router) 867 to the device but around 100Mbps back-haul 700Mbps and 450Mbps back-haul
20m poor signal connection to master router) 700 to the device – ditto 580Mbps and 400Mbps back-haul
30m line of sight 600 – ditto 360-480Mbps and 300Mbps back-haul
30m (through another wall) 500 – ditto 100-200Mbps (probably 2.4GHz by then)

 

This tells us that Cover satellites, regardless of signal strength to the base unit (back-haul) transmit at 867Mbp. This can be misleading – you think you have 867Mbps.

The AC5300, as expected will drop off accordingly the further you get from the unit, but back-haul speeds stay high.

Once you start loading each satellite (with a maximum shared of AC1200 half-duplex to share so let’s say 200Mbps to share each over three units), they run out bandwidth. Having one or two devices is fine – more than that becomes congested.

In layman’s terms, your device is sharing the same Wi-Fi bandwidth the node is using to forward your data to and from its master. That means you get only half the bandwidth you would be getting on a non-mesh network, or on a tri-band mesh network with dedicated backhaul.

The AC5300 may have dropped off regarding connection speeds to the devices, but it has over four times the bandwidth to share. Being tri-band, you could safely stream 4K, games, internet and more to multiple devices.

GadgetGuy’s take. Mesh Wi-Fi works in some circumstances

First, and this is the worst thing I can say, the Covr-1203 kit does not quite live up to the makers AC1200 speed or coverage claims. As a rule of thumb, the maximum data transmission speed will be around 200Mbps out of a node even if the link says it is 867Mbps.

That is because it is a dual-band (meaning it is half-duplex – it shares the upload and download speeds). A tri-band mesh solution is better if speed is an issue.

But considering 4K streaming is 25Mbps that is not bad. And consider that NBN on a good day and at the highest speed tier is 100/40Mbps (most have 25Mbps – no 4K for you) Cover will keep up with internet speeds.

Second, the coverage issue. If you placed these on a large, unobstructed square area 20 x 20m where each router was equidistant from each other and obtained a good signal they would cover the area nicely. D-Link is not lying – in theory the coverage per device is a 10 metres circle. By the way, we have the same issues with dual-band NETGEAR Orbi or Google Wi-fi etc.

Third AC1200 (in total) is insufficient if you more than a few devices. TV, streaming devices and games consoles are the biggest hog.

In the right place, it would be great. If you can keep satellites at no more than 10 metres line of sight from the main unit if you can reduce the number of walls and floors between then you have a lightweight network that extends the 5GHz distance out to 50m away – further than a single grunty AC5300 router could.

If like me you have thirty devices attached to the main router (TV, computers, NAS, tablet, smartphones, security camera’s, smart speakers, smart home devices, Blue-ray, Roku, Foxtel, printer … then Covr is not for you.

In that case, you would use a tri-band AC5300 Cobra that is whole of home enabled and AC1200 D-Link range extenders for a far better, far faster and far more expensive setup that allowed bandwidth hogs everywhere. Even better would be to use the D-Link PowerLine 2000 adaptors to deliver Gigabit over Powerlines to each range extender.