The D-link Covr C2202 is a AC2200 Mbps tri-band Wi-Fi mesh system with builtin McAfee Secure Home Platform protection which blocks access to malicious sites, enables parental controls etc.
The C2202 supports 11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO which should in theory provide greater quality coverage and support more simultaneous devices undertaking data-intensive tasks like 4K-streaming, work from home and file-sharing simultaneously compared to previous generation dual-band mesh systems.
Secure Home Platform is powered by McAfee Global Threat Intelligence (GTI), an ever-expanding cybersecurity service that identifies and blocks emerging threats. McAfee GTI uses artificial intelligence for always-on service, and its cloud-integrated database contains more than 25 years of threat data.
Usually reviews of WiFi mesh systems are done in person. The review unit was delivered by D-link to a family home on the other side of Sydney to where I live because that’s the place I usually test mesh Wi-Fi systems.
Since the Coronavirus lockdown was announced a few days after the review unit got delivered I’ve been unable to visit that home. So the testing has been done remotely with a senior citizen member of the family setting up the mesh system and doing various tests with my help over video link.
Inside the box you’ll find 2 Wi-Fi mesh nodes, setup paperwork and a 2 power adaptors.
Note that one mesh node is clearly labelled “COVR point A”. That’s the one that needs to plug into the NBN router.
Testing and Performance
The existing setup in the household was a D-link COVR C1203 budget mesh Wi-Fi system with 3 Wi-Fi mesh nodes setup two years ago.
It was unplugged and replaced with the D-link COVR C2202 which uses only 2 Wi-Fi mesh nodes.
As you can see in the coverage test below new C2202 (left) vs old C1203 (right), having the dedicated tri-band 5Ghz link between the mesh nodes and a more powerful system really helps expand the coverage area, even though this new C2202 system has only 2 Wi-Fi nodes instead of 3 nodes like the older C1203 system.
In terms of signal strength in different parts of the house the C2202 performed well in the back sun room, living room, front seating area, in the garage. The only weak area was outside standing on the driveway at the front of the house. That’s fair enough because there were multiple walls between there and the nearest mesh node inside.
Once the D-link Dfend (McAfee Secure Home Platform protection) is setup that enables parental controls and more security options.
As a test of the parental controls one of the phones in the house was allocated to a Child profile and restricted to Wi-Fi access between specific hours as well as having it’s Wi-Fi “paused” on demand during dinner time. Both these functions worked exactly as they should.
Should you buy the D-link COVR C2202 Mesh Wi-Fi system?
I mentioned before that the testing for this review was done by an elderly member of my family, following my instructions via video link. This actually turned out for the best because that’s the type of customer who might buy this system.
Most people don’t know what tri-band or AC2200 mean and have no interest in changing router settings, all they want is their NBN internet access to be available reliably across their home.
The COVR C2202 does this well. There’s clearly more strong Wi-Fi coverage over most of the home compared to the C1203 system. In terms of real life usage besides having more of the house covered by a strong signal, users in that household told me that while resuming watching or skipping around a video stream with the old C1203 system there was always a delay caused by buffering.
In comparison with the new C2202 they told me playback of video streams is almost instant when resuming a stream that had been partially watched before or seeking back/forth within a stream to start playback at another point.
The only weak point of the C2202 is that D-link only enables the McAfee Secure Home Platform protection functionality if the user installs and sets up the separate D-Link Dfend app.
The tester informed me that without my help they would’ve given up on figuring out how to enable the built-in McAfee protection as there were far too many steps and it shouldn’t be a separate app. The security functionality should be part of the D-link Wi-Fi app.
The good Wi-Fi performance combined with the newly added McAfee Secure Home Platform protection makes the C2202 a recommended buy.
You can buy the D-link COVR C2202 from several online retailers. Officeworks currently has it on sale for $339.
Dlink has allowed Ausdroid to retain this C2202 mesh Wi-Fi system to conduct longer term testing to see how it performs vs it's predecessor C1203 system