For some time now, the times when the WiFi in the house is not available in all areas have been a thing of the past, or there are simple solutions to prevent this. Where once there was a WLAN antenna or a small repeater in every room that worked more or less reliably, today there are two or a maximum of three mesh Wi-Fi systems distributed throughout the house that, depending on the design and construction of the house, completely supply 400 to 600 square meters with reliable WiFi.
The first devices with mesh technology were still relatively technical, with flashing LEDs on the front, and preferred to be installed behind the bookshelf rather than visible next to the TV or game console.
A design highlight unveiled at the recent 2018 CES in Las Vegas is the Covr AC1200 Dual Band Whole Home Mesh WiFi system from D-Link, a leader in networking technology and WiFi solutions.
Compared to many other manufacturers who have tended to go for a square shape, D-Link’s Covr system offers a stylish solution in a triangular shape with slightly colored accents.
At first glance, the WiFi stations, could be accepted like a new design object or the new smart speaker, but in the small device with just 10 x 11 centimeters and a height of 5 centimeters hides sophisticated technology and the solution to many problems in homes and businesses.
D-Link delivers the Covr system in two versions, with dual-band technology, as we subject the device in the review and a recommendation for up to 465 square meters, and a larger system with tri-band technology and coverage up to 550 square meters.
The first impression
Right out of the box, you can see the stylish units are pre-configured at the factory, making it easy for even the inexperienced to install in their own homes.
Included in the package is a quick-start guide that is easy to understand, making it very easy to connect to the existing WiFi system. Unlike many other providers, D-Link does not require a PC or laptop; the Covr mesh WiFi solution from D-Link can be configured via a smartphone (Android or iOS). A reference to the corresponding apps is available or can be downloaded directly here in the respective app store (Android store / Apple store).
Alternatively, the installation is also possible via the browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and is also very easy. All you have to do is enter the station’s data (SSID and password) under the device in the browser.
What is immediately noticeable when using D-Link’s Covr solution compared to other providers is that you can configure many things manually, but you don’t have to. Thus, it is easily possible for tech-savvy users to change and adjust many network settings, give focus to different devices (such as streaming platforms), and provide low capacity to other devices.
Creating a guest network with the Covr AC1200 Dual Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system is very easy. Especially those who often have guests and friends in the house or also rent out the apartment will be happy about the simple creation of a guest access.
Likewise, it’s easy to limit WiFi times not only for your own network, but also for the guest network. Especially if the D-Link WLAN set is to be used in public areas, such as cafés, it is often helpful if the WiFi can also be switched off at the end of opening hours, without having to lock your own devices as well.
D-Link makes this possible via a very well-designed app (alternatively also browser application), where each device or also the type of accesses can be combined and linked with times without any problems.
This is the kind of installation and handling one wishes for more often in the technology segment, and here D-Link has a clear plus point over many competitors with the app, as well as with the detailed and clearly formulated instructions.
Technology in detail
While conventional WiFi routers and repeaters in houses only scan the frequencies once and then make them available to the various clients, a mesh system continuously checks and optimizes the connection. A “network” is laid over the entire house or apartment with a constant and optimized strength.
By connecting the various stations in the mesh system, the Covr AC1200 Dual Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system automatically adds and passes the various end devices to the strongest station each time. In contrast, a smartphone would have to manually log in and out of a new node every time it walked through the house. You can often see this yourself in the reception strength of the devices, for example, when you go from the attic to the basement and the bar display changes regularly.
D-Link calls this technology smart roaming, and even in our reviews on an area of about 300 square meters over three floors, there were no differences in the reception bars. This is especially noticeable when you watch a show in streaming on the laptop in 4K quality and then walk through the rooms with the laptop.
With regular WiFi systems, you quickly notice that the broadcast is paused and further information is loaded first. It is just as familiar when you are watching a movie and your partner/partner is watching a video call or your daughter is again watching the latest clips on YouTube or Instagram. The connection quality and the connection volume change in each of these minutes and you can often see it then in poorer picture quality.
What stands out very positively in D-Link’s case are the LAN ports on the back of the devices, which on the one hand allow a connection with the modem, but on the other hand also allow devices with a LAN port to be integrated into the network.
Especially those who often use a game console, a NAS system or network storage, a smart TV with LAN connection will love this additional feature, since the response times of the devices increase and the ping values decrease significantly. Thus, many a game can be played much more successfully on the Playstation or XBox.
Also present on the back is the WPS button, which allows easy integration (such as printers, etc.) into the WiFi system at the push of a button. (Tip: If you use the devices in public areas, you can deactivate the WPS button in the admin menu and the APP for security reasons).
Covr review environment – our house
We used D-Link’s Covr mesh WiFi solution in a house with just over 300 square meters of living space and three distributed living levels and subjected it to a review over several weeks.
The labeling of the “main station” with “A” is already very positive, which is also mentioned accordingly in the quick start guide. Just connect the included LAN cable to the modem and connect the device to the power supply with the USB-C power adapter.
As soon as the device is connected to the power, the COVR lettering on the device flashes red and the device starts. After about 60-80 seconds, the signal changed and the connection with the smartphone was established. After entering the necessary data, which is explained very well in the app, as well as in the enclosed brochure, the device is restarted once again and then signals with the white “COVR” lettering that it is ready for use.
The second Covr device from the set have used in the opposite area of the apartment and connected to the mains. It is very pleasant to notice that the additional device connects to the base station within a very short time and also then signals full functionality with the white lettering. It is the perfect solution for beginners and non-tech-savvy people to successfully set up a WiFi network on their own.
It is immediately noticeable that you have very good reception over the entire area between the Covr stations and the bars of the laptop or smartphone always show the full reception strength.
As a Covr user, you don’t even notice which station you are currently connected to, the connection is simply always there.
Even when broadcasting HD sporting events via SkyGo, it was possible to switch rooms without any problems, without a loss of connection or buffering of the pictures. Even when multiple people are simultaneously consuming streaming applications, WiFi telephony, and also extensive social media applications, D-Link’s Covr provides a reliable connection even over long periods of time and high loads on the wifi connections.
If you have an even larger living space, a historic building with many large and thick walls, there is also the option to expand the set with additional access points and thus finally be able to build a constant WiFi network in these rooms.
CONCLUSION – Covr AC1200 Dual Band
The Covr AC1200 Dual Band Whole Home Mesh WiFi system convinced in our review especially with the simple application and installation, the constant transmission of data to different devices and end users through MU-MIMO WiFi (Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple Output) technology. This enables simultaneous transmission of data to different end devices, unlike conventional WiFi solutions.
With a price of less than 170 EUR (see price box on the top left), D-Link offers a mesh WiFi solution at a very fair price with the Covr. In addition, it’s a very nicely designed device that you don’t have to hide behind a bookcase, but can put in the TV area or even next to your computers.
D-Link links with the AC1200 dual-band whole home Wi-Fi system COVR-C1202 a solution that is perfect for both beginners and professionals. Professionals will appreciate the multiple configuration options from VPN, to time limits and priorities for individual devices.
We were convinced by the Covr Mesh WiFi system in the review and it is currently integrated into our network.
The AC1200 dual-band whole home Wi-Fi system COVR-C1202 is an inexpensive and good alternative to well-known high-priced products, such as the Netgear Orbi system. With this system, individual satellites already cost significantly more than D-Link’s entire AC1200 dual-band offering.