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Tri-band mesh networking shootout: D-Link vs. Netgear vs. Synology vs. TP-Link

By Kenny Yeo - 7 May 2019

Performance Analysis & Conclusion

Performance Benchmarks

To test these mesh networking systems, we have two notebooks, one acting as a host machine and the other as a client device. The router, or in this case, node, acts as a gateway. Since mesh networking systems typically manage channel settings on their own, we will leave it that way. For systems where manual settings are possible, a channel bandwidth of 40MHz is selected where applicable, while 80MHz or more is used for the 5GHz AC band.

The client device is a 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is one of the few client devices in the market to come with a 3x3 Wi-Fi receiver, allowing it to achieve wireless speeds of up to 1,300Mbps.

Here is a graphical representation of our network test setup.

To evaluate, we will be measuring the time and calculating the speed achieved when transferring a 1GB zip file. We will do multiple tests with different setups and different distances to simulate use around a typical single story flat and in a multi-story home.

Here are the test distances we used and what they represent:

  • 2m - Right beside the router
  • 5m - In an adjacent room
  • 10m - In a room that is farther away
  • 15m - To simulate extreme distances (e.g. master bedroom toilet)
  • Second story - One floor above
  • Third story - Two floors above


Single node performance

In this test, we will be looking at the performance of a single mesh networking router in a single-story (using the different distance markers) and multi-story home.


Mesh performance at 15 meters

In this test, we placed a second node in between the first node and the 15-meter mark to create a mesh network to get signal to the problematic 15-meter mark.


Mesh performance on 2nd floor

In this test, we placed a second node on the second floor and created a mesh network to expand Wi-Fi coverage on the second floor.


Mesh performance on 3rd floor

With the second node still on the second floor, we moved up to the third floor to see if we could still get a signal and what the systems' performance would be like.


The winner is…

The D-Link Covr-2202.

It went down to the wire, but for us, the D-Link Covr-2202 did enough to edge out its rivals in this shootout. While its feature set pales in comparison to some of its competitors, the Covr-2202 delivers where it really matters. Its inoffensive and pleasant design means it should blend well in most homes, while its ease of use means even those clueless about Wi-Fi and networking should have no problems setting it up. But perhaps most importantly, it has impressive range and was the fastest router that we have tested by a good margin. That’s not all, it is also relatively affordable. So when you put everything together, the D-Link Covr-2202 is comfortably the best all-around mesh networking system in this shootout.

Final Ratings
The D-Link Covr-2202

Click here for breakdown of the score

The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus

Click here for breakdown of the score

The Netgear Orbi RBK20

Click here for breakdown of the score

The Synology MR2200ac

Click here for breakdown of the score


Scoring Breakdown
Model D-Link Covr-2202 Netgear Orbi RBK20 Synology MR2200ac TP-Link Deco M9 Plus
Design 8.5 8.5 7.5 9.0
Features 8.0 7.5 9.5 8.5
Performance 9.0 7.5 7.0 8.0
Value 8.5 7.5 7.0 8.5
Overall 9.0 8.0 7.5 8.5
Price (2 units) S$379 S$429 S$398 S$369
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