Should I ditch my ISP-provided router or not? It’s a question that I’m hoping to answer by road testing the new D-Link Eagle Pro AI – AX1500 4G (G415) Smart Router.
Out of the box you’re given everything you need to get up and running. If you’re not familiar with how to set up there’s a handy Quick Install Guide that will eventually lead you to the Router Settings page where a Wizard steps your through to align with your ISP settings and Wi-Fi access all with less than a handful of clicks – Painless.
- 4G LTE CAT4 Connectivity at up to 150Mbps
- Wi-Fi 6 (802.11AX) Support up to 1500Mbps
- LTE Bands: 1 / 3 / 7 / 8 / 20 / 28 / 38 / 40 / 41 (2100/ 1800/ 2600/ 900/ 800/ 700 / 2300 / 2500 MHz)
- UMTS / HSDPA / HSUPA Bands: 1 / 8 (2100/ 900 MHz)
- GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE: 3 / 8 (1800/ 900 MHz)
- One dedicated Ethernet WAN port with automatic failover
- 3x Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports provide optional wired connectivity
- Built-in standard-size SIM Card Slot
Gleaning over the specs and it seems just like your typical device however a deeper dive into the features reveals that the G415 from D Links Eagle Pro range is just one product in a series of Smart Home network devices that is designed to exclusively use the next-generation WiFi 6 standard. The brain is not from any single device, but a combination of them working in synergy and leveraging a range of technologies to make it a truly integrated system of smart networking.
- Voice Control: Easy integration with Google Assistant or Alexa
- AI Assistant: Reporting and Insights on Wi-Fi to keep you informed about usage
- AI Mesh Optimiser through AI Beamforming technology to optimise your connection and provide you with reliable coverage throughout your home
- AI Parental Controls: Flexibility and control of your kids’ online activities using
- AI Traffic Optimiser: Prioritisation of your network traffic to ensure attention and performance is given to where it’s needed most.
- OFDMA: Manages data across device to ensure bandwidth is balanced across all device
- Trusted Wireless Security: Supporting the latest WPA3 WiFi security with 128-bit encryption to keep your network protected
- DLink EAGLE PRO AI App: Ensuring you stay notified and informed about changes to your network and provide you access right from your phone.
All is good in theory but how does it hold up to household where Free to Air TV consumption has been replaced with Netflix and concurrently, PC gaming and streaming. I tested this out in my home during periods of the day where users might be typically active:
- Mornings for the WFH folks,
- Evenings for those streaming/gaming sessions,
- Twilight hours for those night owls
- Working international hours/more productive when the world is asleep or
- Those that are carrying over their streaming /gaming sessions from the evening
For context this is how our house hold of 5 typically consume data:
- Myself and my partner work from home using our Internet mostly for Zoom calls and VPN connection to our employers network.
- Myself, my partner, my brother all play online games, mostly MOBA’s and FPS and the occasional MMORPG while my parents are streaming youtube or Netflix.
- Myself will typically carry on my gaming sessions or stream Netflix or catch up with work while everyone else sleeps, occasionally there will be another concurrent user streaming but not always.
During these periods I took 3 speed test readings both using my Telstra Modem and the DLink G415 Smart Router and compared the average across each period of the day.
Note: For all Speed Testing I was connected directly to the Router via CAT5 however thereafter, myself and all other users were connected via Wifi connection to test real-world application/usage.
On paper it does appear that the DLink came out on top within +/- 5 Mbps in most cases with typically faster speeds however how did this translate in real life? The question I asked myself and everyone at home was “Did you notice or feel a difference?” and the responses were all unanimous with “I didn’t notice anything”
It appears on paper there are performance gains but they appeared to either be marginal or not significant on a NBN Hybrid Fibre Coaxial connection where our speeds are capped at 120 Down and 20 Up anyway. This tells me that the limiting factor for me is not my CPE but the NBN Technology/IPS Speed Package that I am on. It’s not to say that this will be the case for others who are on different NBN Technologies.
A consideration also needs to be made in relation to the cost of your current ISP issued router, some questions to consider are:
- Is my router free from my ISP?
- How old is my current router from my ISP?
- Will my ISP charge me to upgrade my equipment? If so, how much?
Some ISP will charge a about $9-$12 per month for 24 months costing you from $200-$300 when you weigh that up with the cost of the DLInk G415 which costs $299.95, it might be worth it if you were planning on upgrading anyway.
If you recently signed up as a new customer to a new plan that includes a free router and only want to stream without videos buffering and play games without lag, I think most modern routers will achieve that and you don’t need to go out of your way to replace your ISP-issued router. Although, it needs to be said that while transfer speeds are important and often the only factor that matters for most users, there are users out there who want more control, customisation and features. For those users, the DLink G415 Smart Router and sibling products in the line up provide ecosystem that gives you exactly that.