GadgetGuy spoke to Graeme Reardon, Managing Director D-Link Australia. I wanted to get D-Link’s take on the future of home networking.
Is Mesh the future of home networking?
GG: Everyone is talking about ‘Mesh’ networking as if it is the messiah come to rescue us from poor home Wi-Fi. Is it the future of home networking?
GR: Mesh is fine in its place. D-Link has the new Covr-C1203 Seamless Wi-Fi System that is essentially three AC1200 devices – the router and two repeaters. It should cover up to 465m2, possibly more, but a lot of that depends on router and repeater replacement.
Mesh uses ‘back-channels’ to communicate between the router and satellites. The Covr-C1203 is a dual-band system, and it uses the beamforming and MU-MIMO capability of the antennas to distribute Wi-Fi using the same SSID (network name) throughout the house.
Just like Google Wi-Fi, our Covr-C1203 solution is half-duplex – think ‘time shared’. It is sharing the AC1200 bandwidth (2.4GHz 300Mb/s and 5Ghz 867Mb/s). But the internet is only from 12-100Mb/s (depending on ADSL or NBN plans), so it’s not usually an issue.
GG: Will you be bringing in the tri-band AC2200 Covr-C2202?
GR: Yes. We announced this globally at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, and are getting closer to launching it. It is tri-band meaning it can dedicate a 5GHz channel as the back channel. That is full duplex, so it means you are not time sharing the bandwidth. It should handle a home up to 550m2.
The base station is an AC2200 tri-band (2.4GHz 450Mb/s and 2 x 5Ghz 867Mb/s) unit, and we pair this to another AC2200 extender, so using higher AC speeds will mean that the range is even better and faster, despite having only two units compared to the three in the Covr-C1203 solution.
So, mesh is not the messiah?
GG: You said Mesh is fine in its place. What do you mean?
GR: Mesh is great to blanket a home in [lower speed] Wi-Fi. Currently, out-of-the-box Mesh solutions don’t give the top-end speed that a high-end router or modem router solution offers. Our AC5300 Tri-Band Cobra Modem Router has the raw speed, especially when you have multiple devices.
Where we see the biggest Wi-Fi issues, outside of general coverage issues at the extremities of the home, are where people have a lot of devices in certain areas, normally around the lounge or TV Room, which is often towards the ‘back’ of the property (i.e. away from their Internet connection).
This is where people often have a large Smart TV, their gaming consoles, their AV Receiver, they use tablets and mobiles a lot there too, and we call this area within the home the “PowerZone”. This is the zone where you need the best and fastest Wi-Fi within your home. The rest of the home just needs good Wi-Fi coverage, as you don’t necessarily have lots of devices all vying for the fastest speeds.
Please explain PowerZone
So we developed our PowerZone solution, which takes the best of both worlds, coverage and speed, and allows flexible solutions designed for every customer’s need.
For example, you might want a high-end Modem Router designed for the NBN (such as our Cobra again) to give you the best speeds in your PowerZone. But you might still have some Wi-Fi black spots at the edge of your home.