D-Link Malaysia launches their all new Wi-Fi 6 certified mesh solution in the Malaysian market recently. Coded as D-Link COVR-X1870, this model were aimed towards budget users who wish to fully utilize the feature bundled for your daily requirement. Unlike other entry-level WiFi 6 mesh solution in the market, the COVR-1870 comes in a pack up to four-pack is offered (as referred in the official product page). According to D-Link further, the single-pack of COVR-1870 was said from 3000 sq ft/275 sq m up to 10000 sq ft/925 sq m for four-pack. According to D-Link Malaysia, the unit will be available in the Malaysian market starting from mid-January, 2021.
Powering the COVR-X1850 up, is a quad-core Broadcom BCM6755 clocked at 1.5GHz. Assisted by 256MiB of RAM, the COVR-X1870 provides next-generation wireless throughput up to 1.8 Gbps in total, combining both 574Mbps for 2.4GHz and 1.2Gbps for 5Ghz, both under ax mode. The COVR-X1870 comes in a dimension of 109 x 100 x 194 mm and weighting at 380g per unit. A single unit of COVR-X1870 only features one single LED indicator to indicate the current mesh unit operating status.
As the title of the review article suggests, the COVR-X1870 were labelled as an entry-level mesh solution killer. The COVR-X1870 is the first mesh solution to provide a standard 5 x Gigabit RJ45 port, similar to the RJ45 ports available in a standalone router. This is certainly a good option for users who living in a big house and don’t really wish to hack the wall to plant the RJ45 port in each level. Using USB feature on a router is proven not recommended by cyber-security experts due to security reason. Fortunately, D-Link COVR-X1870 doesn’t come with a dedicated USB port.
The COVR-X1870 features a dual 2.4Ghz and a dual 5GHz internal antennas. In addition, the mesh solution utilizes WPA3 wireless encryption as standard by sacrificing fast-roaming support. However, you shouldn’t be worrying much since only a single network name ‘SSID’ required to roam throughout your home.
COVR-X1870 features D-Link’s standard web admin user interface. All the features were well mapped to be accessed. As per the current time this review is being written, the firmware runs on Revision: A1 FW: 1.01. From the admin page, you can go through the buttons given and get to know the type of DNS service you’re currently using and your current public IP address. Another additional feature here is the pause internet access to clients to temporarily halt the internet access when you’re doing maintenance.
Pairing another mesh is pretty easy. Most manufacturer recommends placing the mesh node beside the main node for better pairing. I’ve purposely tried to place another mesh inside the office while the main node located two rooms away, approx. 8 meters. To my surprise, the pairing between the main node and mesh node takes in between 5 to 10 seconds to be paired, successfully. In addition, you can actually see the signal strength of the available mesh nodes and the devices connected to the closest node, say the main or mesh nodes.
I usually use IPv6 for my daily browsing activity and disable the feature when I get connected to a VPN service. I’ve tested with a few DNS service provider such as from Cloudflare, Google DNS, NextDNS and OpenDNS. Almost all of them working like expected. One of the passing grade required to get a good impression from me when reviewing a networking routing device.
Another additional feature that every routing device should have is port-forwarding. Although port-forwarding not really recommended due to security reason (‘it depends on how well routing firewall is coded by the manufacturer‘), some users intend to bypass the firewall to obtain a greater speed improvement especially while gaming and torrenting. Torrenting through the COVR-X1870 is possible thanks to its 1.5GHz quad-core processor. I find out that the COVR-X1870 never freezes while heavy torrenting, say 25++ torrenting.
The COVR-X1870 has similar parental control feature as D-Link’s standalone router. Options ranging from internet access time to website filter is available. You can personally program the access time for a specific device and preventing a certain device to access to a site under a profile. Based on my testing, the internet access time and website filter is working. However do not that https website cannot be filtered.
If you happen to subscribe between 100 to 500 Mbps internet package, the COVR-X1870 features QoS configuration by default. From the QoS page, you can either key in your internet subscription package speed and arrange the device to place them from lowest to highest priority. Unfortunately, you can’t tune a dedicated bandwidth for each device.
The COVR-X1870 features the latest WPA3 encryption protocol. However, it is not recommended to use WPA3 at the moment since most client device utilizes the WPA2 encryption. However, with a few client devices such as PCE-AX58BT and Archer TX3000E, you can use WPA3 encryption protocol. When the COVR-X1870 paired with mesh, you can’t actually disable the smart connect feature, but you’re allowed to change the wireless encryption protocol and transmission power. If you disable the mesh feature, you can further customize the wireless settings for each bands.
Wireless throughput performance actually depends on your surrounding environment. Figure 12 on above shows the wireless throughput test from the main node of the COVR-X1870. I able to hit roughly above 700Mbps under ax mode and 550Mbps over ac mode. When I paired with the mesh under smart-connect activation, I able to hit 680Mbps under wireless client adapter set to 802.11ax mode.
COVR-X1870 offers a centralized network management for your home. This means, you can see the status of your network performance from time-to-time. Moreover, you also can configure the settings to fit your requirement through the application. What staggers me about D-Link Router application is, the feature offered is similar as the feature offered for a standalone router. Speaking about maximizing the feature implementation for an entry level mesh solution like COVR-X1870.
In a nutshell, the COVR-X1870 offers a decent number of features to operate home network at low cost of ownership. The biggest rival of COVR-X1870 is ASUS’s XD4 Mini and TP-Link’s X20. But what makes the COVR-X1870 stands out of the crowd is the number of I/O ports offered and this suitable for university students who live outside of the campus to maximize the LAN performance in a rented house, say an LAN party. Another additional advantage of COVR-X1870 is the package offering, from a single pack to four-pack. Such moves will allow you to save cost from investing in an unwanted mesh node to strengthen your home wireless coverage. Overall, I can recommend COVR-X1870 for regular home users and university students.