D-Link Eagle Pro M15 AI Mesh Network Kit REVIEW
Is the Wi-Fi in your home slow and unreliable, or do you have stubborn coverage dead zones? PAT PILCHER might just have the solution.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the odds are good that you’ve heard the term ‘mesh networking’ before. A mesh network consists of mini routers, known as Nodes. Most home mesh networks are made up of 2-4 nodes found in different locations in a home. Each node connects to other nodes wirelessly. You have better Wi-Fi coverage because mesh nodes are distributed throughout the house. With each node having its own processing, mesh networks are more reliable. D-Link is not new to the mesh networking game. I’ve reviewed earlier D-Link mesh gear in the past and have been using them at home for some time.
The latest mesh goodness from D-Link is their Eagle Pro AI mesh system that brings together some compelling features that may help cure what ails your home’s Wi-Fi. Top of the list is its AI-based mesh management capabilities. It’s intended to make for far more reliable and better Wi-Fi, so you’re not constantly resetting your router and hoping for the best.
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The other killer feature is Wi-Fi 6. This adds WPA/WPA2/WPA3, 4x MU-MIMO, OFDMA, Target Wake Time, and BSS Colouring. Tech acronym spaghetti aside, the big upside with Wi-Fi 6 is that it is faster and more reliable, especially in crowded Wi-Fi environments. Add to this the usual nifty bits such as parental controls, QoS, and guest accounts, and there’s lots to like.
D-Link makes a big deal about the Eagle Pro’s AI, and with good reason. For a start, the AI will automatically and constantly scan wireless channels to ensure your devices are connected to the best Wi-Fi channel possible. If there are network issues, the AI will also try to fix things.
The AI feature combined with Wi-Fi 6 and mesh made a huge difference to Wi-Fi reliability in my home. Best of all, the AI works its magic in the background. You’ll only notice it via the D-Link app’s weekly network report (which is also accessible from the router’s web admin page).
The Eagle Pro M15 kit might be named after a big bird, but in reality, the node units are small cube-shaped widgets finished in white plastic. The upside to this minimal and compact design is that the node units are easy to place and, unlike most antenna covered routers, don’t stick out like a proverbial set of dog balls.
The only beef I have with the Eagle Pro Nodes is that they only have two Ethernet ports (1x WAN and 1x LAN). Four ports would have been better, but there you go. I was sent a 3-pack sample to review, consisting of a “Master” node and two slave mesh nodes. The two slave units were placed around my home to kill off Wi-Fi dead spots.
Getting set up was a straightforward undertaking. Downloading and firing up the D-Link app (iOS/Android) saw the app guiding me through the entire setup process. Once the network SSID and a few other details were sorted, I placed both satellite units in the house, and they both found the primary node when they were powered up. Interestingly, the setup process in the app differs slightly from the printed quick start guide, which some might find confusing.
The Eagle Pro M15 has not missed a beat since I installed it around my house. It runs seamlessly and reliably. Most importantly, it’s also pretty quick. Much of this comes down to its dual-band AX1500 spec. This translates into up to 1200Mbps (on the 5GHz band) and 300Mbps (on 2.4GHz). I have a LOT of smart home and other wireless widgets on my network, and they are something that many routers I’ve used in the past have struggled with. So far, the Eagle Pro M15 setup has delivered stutter-free 4K video streaming and gaming. Alexa is responsive (even if she is sometimes as thick as a brick). The many smart lights, locks, security systems, robot vacuums and other gadgets are all working as they should.
Suppose you’re finding the Wi-Fi in your home slow and unreliable, or you have stubborn coverage dead zones. In that case, the Eagle Pro M15 AI Mesh System will be just what the Witchdoctor ordered. From being a doddle to set up through to delivering a stable and quick wireless network throughout your home, it is easy to recommend.