The new D-Link DIR X1860 Wi-Fi 6 802.11AX wireless router has been sitting silently in my 'tech cupboard' for a few weeks now, seamlessly serving all of the home-schooling requirements of my two boys, the incessant Zoom calls of my 'WFH' wife, and all of my internet-based work requirements, which as a full-time social media manager, means online full-time. Does the angular, slightly sinister looking X1860 deliver the proverbial goods?
I was invited to review the D-Link a few weeks ago now, and having a slightly tech-riddled background, I happily agreed, the Wi-Fi 6 being a big drawcard for me, with multiple wireless devices in our house, I was keen to see how it performed.
The X1860 has a rated combined dual-band wi-fi speed of 1800 Mbps with its WiFi 6 connectivity with dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), and while I did perform some nerdy-numbers test, I thought it might be more relevant to you if I gave it to you in terms that we're kind of all familiar with these days! Keep in mind that the connection and download speeds will obviously all depend on your home internet connection quality, (The router supports FTTP / FTTC/ HFC / Satellite / Fixed Wireless) so it's semi-relevant that I tell you I'm on a TPG 100Mbps NBN plan (Which Speedtest tells me is currently running somewhere around 50Mbps... but ok) that aside, and with some fairly average Wi-Fi router placement on my part, the X1860 would happily serve 4K video to my MacBook Pro in most parts of my house with everything else I mentioned all going on at the same time, my house is a regular weatherboard wooden double story place with a little bit of steel framing and a couple of big brick chimneys. The signal was very consistent but would slow at the very opposite corner of the house.
I mentioned my average Wi-Fi router placement which is in the top corner of my house when I do have a couple of other locations I could place it to give me the best coverage, but taking into account that most people are usually limited to a corner of their house based on the telephone/cable points in that house, I figured that was as 'real world' as I could be, rather than giving the Wi-Fi router an easy job and putting it in the middle of everyone!
When it came to the setup and regular use of the X1860, I'd say it was pretty straight forward, though I had to jump through some small hoops to have the unit authenticate to TPG's NBN. I needed to make sure that IPTV and a couple of other options were enabled, but after getting that sorted, and setting up my wireless network with a very basic, easy to follow step-through set of instructions, I was quickly up and running.
These next couple of paragraphs are a little bit more 'techy' so skip down if you want the bottom line, but they're certainly important to some! The X1860 supports MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output) MU-MIMO technology helps support multiple devices at the same time, kind of like having a 6 car garage with 12 doors! Multiple people, multiple ways in and out, bottom line is the Wi-Fi router can serve more than one user at a time effectively. With Wi-Fi 6 technology, the DIR-X1860 leverages the multi-user version of OFDMA (The two technologies are similar but do their thing at different ends of the process, basically, one is better at voice and video calls and 4K tellybox stuff, and the other keeps your Google Voice and Alexa connecting beautifully, which is why they're both important in combination) and MU-MIMO for better efficiency of upstream AND downstream transmissions, unlike previous Wi-Fi 5 technology where MU-MIMO could only operate simultaneously in downstream transmissions. This combination greatly increases capacity, coverage and performance in ultra-high-density environments.
The things that matter to most of us when it comes to a Wi-Fi router are connectivity, security. The ability to control what our kids are accessing (if that's relevant of course) we want to be able to take our new router out of the box, plug it in and with minimal effort be on the internet searching for cat memes and watching the latest episode of Schitt's Creek, right? Well, that's the opinion of most of my friends! Secondary (so often even not a consideration, sadly!) is internet security and, I guess, hand in hand with that is the ability to make sure our kids are safe online. So the way I approached this review, as I kind of eluded to at the start, was to use the device and tell you what I thought of it in real-world terms.
- Does the X1860 cause you much stress to setup and configure? No, it really doesn't and a couple of minutes of online research, I was streaming the latest episode of 'How Ridiculous' for my 10yo (You really should check it out if you haven't, kinda fun)
- Does the X1860 provide you with enough regular security features to deal with the evils of a modern internet? The router supports the latest 128-bit industry-standard Wi-Fi encryption and supports QuickVPN (keep in mind, if you use password05 as your password, well... that's on you..)
- Will the X1860 keep my kids safe online? Now, this is a tricky one... The short answer is I actually preferred the TPLink Wi-Fi router that came with my NBN connection when it comes to setting up security for my kids, blocking certain websites, etc. Maybe I was doing it wrong and I'm really happy to be corrected, but while I could allocate 'online time' when a certain device could connect to the internet, and I could add websites to a block list, I found it very clunky and not granular enough for my children's needs.
Hey, two out of three ain't bad! The router has had no unexpected down-time, though keep in mind if it's the middle of the day and your wife is on an important zoom call with her boss, don't add a website rule and click OK as the router will reboot and kick everyone off of the internet!
DRN would like to thank D-Link for their on-going support.