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Wireless Reviews

Capacity

Our Wi-Fi System capacity test uses three 2x2 AC clients, one connected to each node of three node systems. Traffic is then run to all three clients simultaneously and throughput measured for each traffic pair. A 2.4 GHz client is connected to the root node and 5 GHz to the others. For extender systems like Orbi and Covr, the 2.4 GHz STA is connected to the router and both 5 GHz STAs are connected to the extender/satellite.

The Capacity bar chart shows total throughput for the three test clients in each direction. Covr lands pretty much in the middle

Wi-Fi System Capacity

Wi-Fi System Capacity

For the next plots, remember A is the 2.4 GHz client and B and C are 5 GHz. Remember also, both 5 GHz STAs are connected to the same node for Orbi mini and Covr. The downlink plot trading the lead between Case B and C and Deco basically dead on Case C.

Wi-Fi System Capacity by Test Case - downlink

Wi-Fi System Capacity by Test Case - downlink

Uplink has Orbi mini doing better than Covr for both Case B and C.

Wi-Fi System Capacity by Test Case - uplink

Wi-Fi System Capacity by Test Case - uplink

We can also see throughput changes over the course of the tests. All three cases show a good amount of throughput variation for all clients throughout the 30 minute test. But all three also hung in for the entire test, which not all products do.

Wi-Fi System Capacity vs. time - Downlink

Wi-Fi System Capacity vs. time - Downlink

Because we can, courtesy of the octoScope Pal's statistics reporting, let's see what happens to link rate during the test. Receive rate hops around a wee bit, but nowhere hear as much as transmit rate does, which appears to be the culprit for high throughput variation. Why this is the case would require digging down into packet capture.

Link rate vs. time - Downlink

Link rate vs. time - Downlink

Uplink shows much lower throughput variation. Checking the link rate plot (not shown) for this test shows boring straight lines.

Wi-Fi System Capacity vs. time - Uplink

Wi-Fi System Capacity vs. time - Uplink

Closing Thoughts

I was more impressed with Covr than I thought I would be. Although it seems like a slapped together bundle of 4x4 AC2600 router and 2x2 AC1300 extender, Covr is better than that. It sets up as easily as any other Wi-Fi System and you don't have to mess with any router/satellite pairing. It just works. You also don't have to worry about D-Link discontinuing any cloud service (there isn't any) or making you register with them to get Covr running.

Performance was also pretty good, due to decent backhaul bandwidth, even without dedicated backhaul radios. Although it's not in the same league as original Orbi or Linksys Velop, Covr's also not as expensive as either, too.

Although it ranks 6 out of 9 Wi-Fi Systems tested so far, it's only one step below Orbi mini w/wall-plugged satellite (RBK30) and priced only around $20 more. If you've tried Orbi and found it didn't work out for you, you might want to give Covr a try.

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