The idea of a WiFi range extender is almost extinct, yet people keep asking “how can I extend my WiFi into the back room” or wherever it may be. What we need to start talking about is “creating” a whole better network.
Mesh WiFi networks are not new to market, but they are still very new to consumers, with Netgear’s Orbi, Linksys’ Velop and Google WiFi all out there doing their thing. Enter the new player to Australia – D-Link’s COVR.
Covr as a device reminds me most of Google WiFi – firstly because of the size, secondly because it’s a three device box set.
At $424 it doesn’t break the bank and competes closely with Google on price. So – what does it do, and how well does it do it?
Three small nodes are placed throughout your home. One next to your existing modem. One a touch further away, the other further again – an even spread is what you are looking for.
The idea here is to keep your existing modem – there’s unlikely to be a problem with the internet coming into the home, its more often than not the wifi connectivity within the home. Add on a COVR or similar system and you create a single, wide network across the whole home.
Setup for COVR could be easier. Mine didn’t sync first go, took a touch of troubleshooting, but not the end of the world. Once connected, the white light shines with the COVR logo and we’re streaming.
There’s two ethernet ports on the back of each, so you can plug in your Smart TV or gaming console for a great connection, and they take up so little space they fit almost anywhere.
Speeds I tested were top notch, giving me 90-95% of my actual modem speed at the furthest reaches of my home.
Inside the DLink WiFi app there’s a range of controls, including wifi scheduling for blocking the network at times – though this isn’t as extensive or useful as doing it device by device on a system like Circle with Disney.
For the average home, this is a great device that ticks all the boxes, though there is one big yet invisible difference between COVR and most notably Orbi – that being the dual band nature of things. While you only ever see one network, the COVR is using both WiFi bands to connect your devices and to stream back to the modem. Orbi has a dedicated backhaul network – this ensures less lag.
You’ll not likely notice this, but if you’re into your gaming and such – that’s worth testing or researching further.
Overall though, great product and once running it’s set and forget. Good price too, though I’d expect to see it at $399 on special at various times through the coming months.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.