Long gone are the days when you could get by with a cheap Wi-Fi router in your home. Mobile devices, TVs, wearables and even appliances are all now dependent on a solid wireless internet connection, so D-Link is finally embracing the whole home Wi-Fi idea with its new Covr Wi-Fi System.
However, you might notice something different about D-Link's first mesh networking product. It's following in the footsteps of other whole home Wi-Fi solutions like Netgear's Orbi, Eero, Google Wifi and now even Linksys' Velop that use discreetly-designed nodes placed around a home to ensure thorough Wi-Fi coverage. But D-Link believes that a hefty base station is still a key part of killing Wi-Fi dead spots, so its new Covr Wi-Fi system features a powerful, antenna-covered base station that works alongside smaller extenders.
One of the many advantages to switching to a whole home Wi-Fi system is that the hardware can be smaller and less powerful because multiple routers are working together to blanket a space in reliable Wi-Fi, instead of having a single router trying to blast a strong Wi-Fi signal to every last corner of a house. D-Link is taking a hybrid approach here, embracing the traditional design of wireless routers, but adding a simple extender to help eliminate dead spots without having to juggle multiple wireless networks, or reduced network speeds.
The Covr Wi-Fi System features MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output) technology which is all but standard these days given how many devices in a home are accessing its wireless network at the same time. The system intelligently balances the network traffic between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to help reduce bottlenecks and slowdowns, and because the router and extender are sold as a set, they come pre-paired and configured to work together right out of the box.
At $US300 ($415), D-Link's Covr Wi-Fi system also hits the US market later this year with a slightly cheaper price tag than other whole home Wi-Fi solutions (Australian pricing and availability has not yet been confirmed). But it remains to be seen if a hefty base station paired with a single extender can genuinely kill all the Wi-Fi dead spots in your home, or if being able to add as many nodes as you need is simply the better way to go.
We're on the ground at CES 2017 in Las Vegas! Follow all of our coverage of the latest and greatest in tech here.