D-Link DAP-X1860 wif-fi 6 mesh range extender (byte-sized review)

D-Link’s DAP-X1860 wi-fi 6 mesh range extender is, literally, plug and play – and it couldn’t be more simple.

For the most part, D-link network devices are a breeze to install and add to a home network and the company’s DAP-X1860 is no different: You plug it into a free wall socket anywhere in your house, set it up using D-Link’s super simple smart phone app, connect to the network you want to extend, and, bam, you’re surfing the web in no time.

The plug & play extender shares the same network name as your router and being powered by a household power outlet means you can move it around your house easily until you find the spot that provides the best coverage.

The DAP-X1860 has two internal antennas and a 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet port on its left hand side, along with reset button & WPS button. A three level indicator LED lets you know how strong the wi-fi signal is: Three bars and it’s a full strength signal.

D-Link says the device will achieve speeds up to 600Mbps over a 2.4Ghz wi-fi network & up to 1200Mbps over a 5Ghz network. The router in my 225sqm single-storey house is my garage and plugged the DAP-X1860 into wall sockets in the main bedroom, the hallway and the kitchen/dining room (which is the farthest from the router) then used Ookla speed test to obtain upload and download speeds.

Main bedroom: 62Mbps download and 25Mbps upload

Hallway: 34.2Mbps download and 27.2Mbps upload

Kitchen/dining (two bars of wi-fi strength): 23.3Mbps download, 10.9Mbps upload

It’s clear that the hallway was the best location for the DAP-X1860 to get the best speeds, although the speeds are nowhere near the up to 600Mbps claimed by D-Link (but, of course, wi-fi speeds are determined by several factors).

D-Link’s DAP-X1860 will cost you $NZ249 ($AU229) and it’s a good option if you want to eliminate wi-fi deadspots in your house. One thing to take into account, though, it is a bulky unit and took up the bulk of a horizontal double wall plug so keep that in mind when you’re planning on where you need to plug devices.

D-Link DCS-8300LH v2 wi-fi camera review

Home surveillance cameras are a bit like insurance: They’re not really something you want to have to set up around your home but they offer peace of mind when something goes wrong – and you need to call the insurance company.

At the moment, our neighbourhood Facebook page (yes, I know, I know) seems to be a constant stream of posts about car break-ins, people wandering onto other peoples’ properties uninvited and general dodgy behaviour so some form of home security system seems warranted these days.

Last year, I looked at D-Link’s DCS-8302LH wi-fi security camera, a reasonably priced and capable home surveillance camera. Now, it’s time to look at the 8300LHV2, a more streamlined security camera to add more security to your home network. Thanks to D-Link in Australia for sending across a review unit.

Like the 8302LH camera, the 8300LH offers a full HD image (D-Link says it’s 1080p at 30 frames per second), a 2 megapixel CMOS sensor, night vision (up to 5m) and motion detection. The 8300LH offers a field of view of 120 degrees, which is less than the 8302LH, but has something called edge-based person detection as well as a built in microphone/speaker, which is ideal if you want to install it outside and want to capture audio. It is mains powered so you’ll need a power outlet.

The 8300LH has an RRP of $NZ149.99 and $AU129.95.

The nice thing about these D-Link cameras is that you can be up and running out of the box within minutes as the whole installation process uses a smartphone-based app. Handily, because I already had the 8302LH installed, the app automatically assigned my wi-fi network to the new camera and it was all systems go. You can also connect via ethernet cable, if you want.

D-Link’s Myd-link app lets you adjust camera settings like motion and person detection sensitivity, night vision modes and storage modes. Like it’s brother, the 8300LH can store captured footage to either a microSD card of D-Link’s cloud based offering which ranges in price from free to $US100 a year (which saves a month’s worth of recordings to the cloud at a time).

At the moment I park my car outside on the driveway, so I decided to set the new camera in a spare room that looks onto a road that has a lot of foot and vehicular traffic. I adjusted the sensitivity window of the camera to take in the driver’s side of the car and a portion of footpath.

I got multiple notifications to the app throughout the day (and night) of movement captured by the camera and I’d suggest that if you’re contemplating buying one, adjust the sensitivity until you’re happy with the level of notifications you get (or mute the notifications on your phone by turning on the privacy mode via the app).

To be fair, I wouldn’t normally want to place the camera in such a high traffic area as constant notifications do get annoying but the 8300LH alerted me to any goings on so it did its job admirably.

I also tested the camera in a living room that had a view of the front door and in the garage where I could get a view of a side gate. Thanks to the camera, I saw the food meal courier deliver our dinners for the week from the comfort of the cafe I was having a coffee at. Thanks, mate!

I like that I can capture a screenshot or record video from the live view if I’m alerted to movement using the app. You can also change the resolution from 1080p to 720p using the app as well, although it does look like it defaults to 720p.

The D-Link can be installed inside or outside but here’s a tip: Don’t have the camera too close to a window like I did for one test. The image quality is perfect during daylight hours but at night time, the night time IR sensor bounces back off the glass, blurring the image with a bright light which means much of the detail in the scene is hard to see. It’d suggest a high vantage point not too close to a window or glass.

I don’t have much to gripe about with the D-Link 83000LH but if there was something it would be that the supplied charge/power cable is quite short so you’ll need to position it close to a power outlet or use an extension cord it you want to set it up at a vantage point where a power outlet isn’t nearby.

Overall, I was impressed with D-Link’s 8300LH: Like it’s sibling, it’s an excellent, affordable option for home security that will give you that extra layer of peace of mind when you can’t be at home 24/7.

D-Link DCS-8302LH HD wi-fi camera review

For most people, their home is easily their most valuable asset so you want to keep an eye on it when you’re not there so the bad people don’t break in and steal your tech stuff and bikes. That would just make them cry.

An easy way to keep an eye on your house is by using a wi-fi security camera that lets you view footage beaming from the camera in real-time then record any dodgy persons or notifies you that there’s some motion around your house.

D-Link, more commonly know for its routers, also does wi-fi security cameras and kindly sent me along its DCS-8302LH camera to test out. It’s priced at $NZ250 and $AU200.

Set up was super easy using D-Link’s Mydlink ap and once up and running you can view a live feed or captured footage straight from the app. You can save footage to a microSD card (you’ll have to buy one as it doesn’t come with the camera), something called Onvif profile S recording or subscribe to Dlink’s cloud-based storage service.

There are several levels of the subscription service, ranging from free (which records and saves a day’s worth of footage to the cloud and allows up to three cameras) to yearly at $NZ99 a year (which saves a month’s worth at a time and lets you connect up to 10 cameras). Being of Scottish descent, I was happy with the free subscription as my motto is “If you can get something for free, why not?”

The DCS-8302LH has a 2 megapixel lens captures footage in full HD (1080p, 30FPS), has a two-way microphone and an IR sensor which lets you capture footage day and night, an ethernet port if you don’t want to connect it via wi-fi. The camera connects using the 802.11n/g wireless protocol over the 2.4Ghz band. The field of view is 135 degrees. Oh, there’s also a siren, if you’re wanting a siren to alert everyone.

You can also set the camera to capture using audio, motion or person detection and there is also a privacy mode. You can set the camera either indoors or outdoors (D-Link recommends if it’s outdoors it under house eves or shelter) but if you install it outside, you’ll need to ensure there is a fixed power source nearby as I don’t recommend an extension cord!

The D-Link DCS-8302LH in its natural habitat. Note the fluffy dog lurking nearby …

The only issue I had in setting up the camera was that the mounting bracket – which would let me secure the camera to a pole or wall – was already attached to the base of the camera and was incredibly hard to screw loose. Not that I planned to attach it to anything but I wanted to see how easy it was to do. I eventually had to use a bread & butter knife to twist it counter clockwise to loosen it as it seemed near impossible by hand. After that initial “assistance”, it was much easier to remove.

I tested the camera positioned in a variety of spots around my home, mostly to keep an eye on the dog while I’m away from home. It was generally positioned looking out a sliding door or similar. I also set it up looking out over the relatively busy road outside the front of our house that has plenty of cars, pedestrians and cyclists passing past every day. I received a few notifications over an afternoon alerting me to walkers wandering past on their daily constitutional. I was also able to take a snapshot of captured footage then save it to my phone, which is handy if someone breaks in and there’s a clear image of the offender.

I actually found that with the motion sensitivity set to its maximum the camera is incredibly sensitive to movement, meaning sometimes I’d several notifications a day sent to my phone which was actually just the wind blowing a tag on patio furniture that was in the camera’s field of view. One highlight of all the notifications, mind you, was that I witnessed captured footage of the dog trying (and failing spectacularly) to catch a flying insect that was buzzing around annoying him. It was amusing to say the least.

The camera also has a pretty good night mode: I set it up in the house one night, in the hallway, just to see how it looked and it captured me walking to the front door and the dog following behind and sent an alert to my phone. I contemplated leaving it running overnight but realised the dog would create multiple notifications!

Look, I was impressed with D-Link’s DCS-8302LH wifi camera and while it might not be the most featured security camera around (it doesn’t have automatic tilt function, for example) for me, it seemed a reasonably priced security camera that will give you much needed little piece of mind for you, your property and your loved ones.

D-Link AX5400 (DIR-5460) Wi-fi 6 router review

Getting constantly reliable wireless speeds seems to be a life-long mission for many – me included – so when D-Link offered to send me one of its latest wi-fi 6 routers to test out, I jumped at the chance.

Looking like an alien spider that has been flipped onto its back, D-Link says its Exo AX5400 (DIR-5460) mesh wi-fi 6 router brings next-generation wireless to your home, supporting six simultaneous streams and unleashing “lightening fast wi-fi goodness” over larger areas than before.

If you’re read previous router reviews of mine, you’ll know how my house is set up. The services box – where the fibre connection enters the house from the street – is in the garage of my, roughly, 226sq m single-storey, four bedroom house. Inside, there are a handful of wall-installed ethernet ports [one of them in a kitchen cupboard!] There is also an internal door between the router and the rest of the house.

The only device that has a permanent wired connection is my PC: Everything else – smart TV, laptops, iPads – uses wi-fi. Currently, there are four people living at home, including two young adults in their 20s, so the demand on my wi-fi is considerable with media streaming and university work.

D-Link’s DIR-X5460 supports the latest 802.11ax wireless protocol [as well as other available protocols, of course], which D-Link says improves wireless performance and allows multiples devices to connect at once without compromising on performance.

The last D-Link wi-fi 6 router I tested was the bare bones DIR-X1560 but the DIR-X5460 is fully featured, with three LAN ports (10/100/1000Mbps gigabit), an internet port, a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port. It also has six antennae [four non-detachable, two-detachable], compared to its smaller sibling’s four.

The DIR-X5460 offers concurrent dual-band wireless (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)  for connections up to 5.4Gbps, six simultaneous data streams and BSS colouring which increases range and reduces interference in “noisy” wi-fi environments, apparently. It’ll set you back around $NZ540.

Bottom line for me when it comes to wi-fi is I want stable, reliable wireless that doesn’t tank during heavy downloads or buffer during extended streaming sessions of The Wire or Peaky Blinders.

Like previous D-Link routers, set-up was super simple using the mobile phone app but you can use a web browser-based set up, too. All I had to do was enter my ISP’s username and password details, the router rebooted and I was up and running. There was a firmware update during the testing period.

Long story short, the DIR-X5460 impressed me, offering reliable wi-fi out a single drop out over the past month, but what about the speeds?

The simplest way to find out how good a router is, is to test it – so that’s what I did, multiple times, using a variety of testing tools: Ookla Speedtest and and website Speedof.me.

I tested the speeds from a variety of locations around the house: Beside the router, in the main bedroom, in the lounge and in the kitchen/dining/family room [these last three are the furtherest from the router]. I tested multiple times in each of the locations then did additional speed tests on September 13 at random times during the day.

The results

Ookla:

  • Kitchen: 28.6Mbps download, 27.8Mbps upload (as low as 12.9Mbps)
  • Lounge: 33.4Mpbs, 30.8Mbps
  • Bedroom: 36.9Mbps, 37.7Mbps
  • Next to router: 38.3Mbps, 55.7Mbps
  • Additional testing (13/9, single connection, various times during the day): 31.5Mbps, 11.4Mbps (lounge); 26.3Mbps, 19.5Mbps (kitchen); 39.1Mbps, 22.7Mbps (main bedroom); 40Mbps, 34.6Mbps (beside router)

Speedof.me

  • Kitchen: 37.43Mbps download (max 52.18Mbps), 20.17Mbps upload
  • Lounge: 39.55Mbps (47.57Mbps), 34.63Mpbs
  • Bedroom: 41.01Mbps (max 53.5Mbps), 41.95Mbps
  • Next to router: 41.75Mbps (max 60.45Mbps), 51.66Mbps)
  • Additional testing (13/9, single connection, various times during the day): 33.6Mbps, 11.74Mbps (lounge); 23.03Mbps, 7.15Mbps (kitchen); 36.87Mbps, 16.24Mbps (main bedroom); 40.14Mbps, 41.6Mbps (beside router)

For me, the DIR-X5460 delivered consistently fast wi-fi speeds right across my house without any drop outs and provided problem-free Netflix, YouTube and Neon streaming – and that’s a massive plus in my book. Obviously the wi-fi signal got weaker the further it got from the router and no doubt there are faster routers out there, but speeds were faster and more consistent with the DIR-5460 than many of the other routers I’ve used previously.

In fact, it must have been alright as I had no complaints from the two young adults currently in the house at all about wi-fi quality, given my daughter had moaned about the wi-fi strength before setting up the new router.

Being wi-fi 6 means the DIR-X5460 is future-proofed, too, meaning as the protocol becomes more commonplace, firmware updates to the router will mean it will prove useful for years to come. Two thumbs up, from me.