REVIEW: New D-Link Router Brings Mesh Wi-Fi 6 To The Masses
While for some consumers the concept of Mesh Wi-Fi 6 is still a curious mystery, D-Link’s new EXO Smart AX1500 (DIR-X1560) router proves price and complexity are no longer a barrier to entry.
From the outside, the AX1500 (A$249.95) resembles a router of old – complete with its drab black body and spider legs – but hides next-generation intelligence valuable to today’s modern smart home.
Whether consumers are ready or not, Mesh Wi-Fi 6 is the future, and D-Link’s latest router brings necessary next-generation connectivity to the masses in an affordable, unassuming package.
In simplistic terms, Wi-Fi 6 harnesses tech intelligence to increase connectivity range versus its predecessor, complete with better capacity (around four times its predecessor) to cater for multiple, synonymously-running devices. In today’s era of smart lights, smart switches, smart vacuums and more, it’s clear why there’s a requirement for new Wi-Fi tech.
The D-Link EXO Smart AX1500 supports simultaneous dual-band wireless connectivity for up to 1500Mbps.
To experience the full effect of a Wi-Fi 6 router, a similar spec’d device is required – which is exactly where the new generation of smartphones, laptops and PCs are heading, many launching later this year – but backwards compatibility is also available via the AX1500.
Set-up was extremely easy, similar to other D-Link routers, and the kind of installation I would comfortably recommend to my less tech-savvy friends. I prefer the D-Link app, which takes just a few minutes. For those who are more tech-proficient, an ‘advanced’ section offers extra features, thereby offering a happy medium of customisation (e.g. guest zone set-up).
In addition to its ease of set-up and usage, I would recommend the router for families, with parental controls offering a schedule for accessing the network for their kids. Unfortunately, it does not block URLs, but for some users this is the desired level of simplicity (e.g. no internet access after bedtime).
Again providing an extra element of smart home connectivity, the router supports Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice commands. It’s easy to set-up using the mobile app.
Concerning ports, a notable con is the lack of USB sockets, especially for a home study environment.
That being said it is a strong value proposition (especially at this price) with one WAN port and four Ethernet LAN ports. Also beneficial is a physical WPS button on the router’s rear which forgoes the need to input network IDs when connecting compatible devices.
In a nutshell, D-Link’s EXO Smart AX1500 router is a simple, no-fuss way for a household to upgrade to Mesh Wi-FI 6. It’s easy to install, and is plug-and-play ready for NBN.
So does it work, and did it make a difference? In summary: yes. Connectivity is comparatively more robust, and the lack of drop-outs is less frequent. I can only attribute this to the only change made, which is the router.
Implementing a system like this would likely offer someone more confidence to increase the number of smart home devices, without fear their connectivity as a whole would weaken. Such is the power and peace of mind provided with Multiple-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) – a renowned quality of Wi-Fi 6.
The technology pledges increased capacity and supports quicker bandwidth, by reducing network queues and congestion via channel splitting.For more confident users, a nice feature is ‘Quick VPN’ which allows a maximum of ten extra users (e.g. friends and family) to access your network via VPN.
All in all, the D-Link EXO Smart AX1500 router offers a simple Wi-Fi 6 solution that is easy-to-use and would likely offer a comfortable level of complexity without ‘scaring’ less tech-savvy families. Whilst it’s not the most inexpensive Wi-Fi 6 router on today’s market, it does bring with it D-Link’s brand cloud that many people already trust. Bonus points are for a three-year warranty.
D-Link’s EXO Smart AX1500 router is a compelling value proposition in an affordable package, and provides the average family access to Mesh Wi-Fi 6 tech with little faff and peace of mind.