Being in a position to get hands-on with the latest and greatest from a range of manufacturers across so many areas of mobile and general tech is honestly a privilege. Sometimes I’ve noticed I take a bit for granted, and that feeling has prompted something different for this review.
It’s easy as a reviewer to sprout specs and theory, glossing over the experience of the device. So when D-Link approached us to review the Eagle Pro AI AX3200 Mesh system, noting the user-friendly design etc, it seemed appropriate to put the unit in the hands of an “average user” to test the claims.
A friend of mine, “Zero IT” Kat, has just finished building her new home and — convenient timing — asked me about NBN routers. So she’s got the three-node system at her place and zero assistance, from me at least, in setting it up.
The specs of the system
This is a mesh Wi-Fi system that is well adorned with all the specs users could want and need for their homes. First and perhaps most importantly, it’s compatible with all NBN connection types, as well as fixed wireless and satellite connection options.
For day to day operations, D-Link suggests that this is ideal for homes with three or more bedrooms and — if you’re going over longer distances — Ethernet for your remote nodes, of which this kit has three total with the router plus two remote nodes.
The connection delivery here is Wi-Fi 6, which — given 6e and 7 are now moving towards a more mainstream delivery — isn’t an absolute bleeding edge option, but given many homes haven’t progressed past Wi-Fi 5 yet, if your network is heavily populated, the advantages will be noticeable.
In the early stages, you won’t notice it, and as time progresses, you won’t notice it either, but the AI Mesh optimiser is a very clever technology. It optimises your connection continuously, scanning channels to ensure the best possible connection while ensuring that your Mesh remains connected for the best coverage to complement the connection.
Set up: First-time user perspective
Setup is pretty easy on any Wi-Fi system at this point in the evolution of home routing. You install an app, scan a QR and follow the on-screen instructions, which, in this instance, have some useful diagrams too. Kat reported to me that the process was pretty easy but needed a reset at one point because the remote nodes didn’t connect.
Once I worked out which of the three large white boxes was the router (turns out it can be any of them!) it was pretty simple. My ISP wasn’t in the drop-down section on the app – but there was an ‘other’ option which worked fine. There are no random lights on the router, which mean nothing to most people- just a cross on the top- Orange- not working, white- good to go! We have placed one node in my home office (because I am the most important) and the other in the lounge where the main television is.
A few teething issues
Being an AI driven setup, the system does a bit of learning over time and initially, I was on the receiving end of a few terse messages. Low signal, remote nodes disconnecting and inconsistent speeds were the initial cause of this, but after roughly a week, the reported issues self-resolved. Once the node’s connection stabilised and was positioned in its intended position in the home, the connection stabilised and bathed the premises in delightful Wi-Fi.
Kat wanted to add a comment around this:
By terse, I may have suggested taking a hammer to the router, but it turns out I was just impatient!
Daily use: How does it perform?
Following a couple of months with the system in place, I’ve spoken several times with Kat and her partner, who are seemingly very happy with the Eagle Pro AI AX3200 system. They’ve said that the Wi-Fi gives great, consistent coverage throughout the house and the speeds are always reliable. What really made me think that this is the right system for the average user is that it’s just worked and then been ignored…
Following discussion, it seems Kat is pretty happy with the system:
We use the internet every day for work, TV and games. It seems to work fine, and all of the speed tests have been pretty consistent; around 50Mbps D/L and 17Mbps U/L. The app keeps track of this for easy comparison. As mentioned, it has been a case of ‘set and forget’ which is perfect for me! If you want to have more control over things, this may not be for you, but if you are as clueless as me, and want something that just works, doesn’t drop out constantly, and if anything does cause issues, resets itself and lets you know, then this could well be a great option.
Should you buy it?
Because it wasn’t me personally doing the testing, that’s not a question I can answer. I did, however, reframe that question and ask “would you buy it?” to Kat after she’d had the Eagle Pro AI set up in her home for a bit over a month now.
Here’s what she had to say:
If it hadn’t been for my pal IT Phil, I would have had no idea this sort of thing even existed. My mind was thinking traditional router (in the garage because my builder decided that was the place for the NBN) and a Wi-Fi booster to get the signal into the house.
This system does all of that in one. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it’s not ugly, and according to my partner, it doesn’t matter if it ‘fits our aesthetic’ or not. Overall, its probably priced slightly higher than I would have expected to pay for my internet solutions, but the ease of setup and use and the fact that it is a single system outweigh the cost.
I would definitely consider buying!
In my eyes, the system specs are such that it will be a solid investment to either replace your router or supplement it with a secondary Wi-Fi network. Set up is simple enough that someone who isn’t technologically minded can easily complete it, including reasonable positioning of the nodes.
Once set up, the Wi-Fi signal strength was more than enough for the devices through their home, and the speeds were reliable. If you’re looking for a quality Wi-Fi system without spending thousands and aren’t keen to spend the money to wire your home, then this is a great value offering.
D-Link have not requested return of the review unit