D-Link EaglePro AI Wi-Fi 6 Router Review: You Get What You Pay for
It has been about two years sincedebuted as the newer and faster version of Wi-Fi, and at this point it’s pretty much entrenched as the de facto standard for home wireless networks. If you’ve upgraded your phone or computer in the past few months, there’s a good chance it will support Wi-Fi 6, and we’re starting to see adoption among devices like and , too much.
You’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 router running your home network for devices like this to reach their full potential, and the good news is that you have plenty of options, including entry-level models that will not cost you very much. many. One of the cheapest of all is D-Link’s EaglePro AI router, a dual-band AX1500 device that costs just $ 65.
- As affordable as 6 Wi-Fi routers become
- Simple application-based configuration
- Can grow in a mesh network with additional devices
Do not like
- Dated design
- Poor performance when connecting remotely
- No USB sockets
That’s about the price you’ll find for a branded Wi-Fi 6 router, but there’s more value than price alone – performance matters, too. While it was indeed able to maximize my home’s 300Mbps fiber internet speeds when I connected up close, the performance of the EaglePro AI dropped dramatically at a distance, with drastic slowdowns a few parts of the router. Worse yet, remotely connected devices would get stuck at slow speeds even after getting close to the router. This is not an uncommon issue in my testing, but with the EaglePro AI it was about as bad as I saw it.
Although they cost a bit more, other entry-level Wi-Fi 6 models like theand the editor’s choice winner will offer significantly better performance than the EaglePro AI, and neither will cost you more than $ 100. I say stick with these if you are looking for a good budget Wi-Fi 6 choice.
With angular white plastic construction and four particularly prominent antennas, the D-Link EaglePro AI looks less like a next-gen router and more like something you’d plug a cordless phone into in 2002. I’d stop before I go. Calling the thing ugly – it’s a router, after all – but you’ll have to shop around a bit more if you’re looking for something that looks futuristic at first glance.
The EaglePro AI is an AX1500 router, which means it supports Wi-Fi 6 (“AX”) and offers theoretical maximum speeds on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands which total approximately 1500 Mbps. (“1500”). Although the router sets up a single, unified network that automatically directs you between the two bands, you will only be connected to one of them at a time. This means that the actual advertised top speed is actually 1200 Mbps, which is as fast as the faster 5 GHz band.
You’ll find plenty of setup aids in the D-Link EaglePro AI app. Thus, commissioning your network will not take more than a few minutes. Once done, the app will offer the usual overview of devices connected to your network, along with options to adjust basic network settings and parental controls or toggle the guest network on and off. You will also receive weekly usage reports and information on network performance, this is where the “AI” part of branding comes in.
The router offers three gigabit Ethernet sockets in addition to the WAN port, so you’ll have room for wired connections if you need them. However, you won’t find any USB plugs, which means you won’t be able to connect an external storage drive to your network for shared file access.
Another point to note: If desired, the EaglePro AI router can serve as the centerpiece of a mesh setup with the purchase of additional EaglePro AI pluggable range extensions and mesh satellite nodes. Another feature worth mentioning: support for Alexa and Google Assistant, which can remind you of the Wi-Fi password, activate the guest network, or restart your router with a quick voice command.
The EaglePro AI router didn’t perform particularly well when I tested it at my home, a 1300 square foot home in Louisville, Ky., Where I have 300 Mbps inbound fiber internet speeds. After, the router ended up with an overall average download speed of just 136 Mbps, which is pretty bad. For comparison, other budget Wi-Fi 6 routers from , and Asus returned overall average speeds of 299, 264, and 223 Mbps in the same set of tests, respectively. There wasn’t a single room in my house where D-Link did a better job than any of them.
The main problem is that performance drops when devices connect remotely, more than two or three rooms. Wireless speeds will always be slower at a distance, but with EaglePro AI, those speeds remained slow even after moving the connected client device closer to the router.
This is a fairly common problem with routers, and one that I always look for by running two separate sets of speed tests: one where I log into the same room as the router and then move to the back of my house, and another where I log into the back of my house, then go back to the router. In the first round of tests, my overall average download speed was 227 Mbps. In the second set, where I was connecting from afar, that average dropped to 46 Mbps.
Again, this is downright bad. With my best budget Wi-Fi 6 pick, the TP-Link Archer AX21, the tightly connected green bar average was 298 Mbps, while the yellow bar average was a perfect 300 Mbps. This parity is what you want – a connection that works as expected, regardless of which room you are in when you log in. You don’t get that with EaglePro AI.
At $ 65, the D-Link EaglePro AI is one of the most affordable Wi-Fi 6 routers you can buy, but it performs very poorly with devices that connect from multiple rooms. It’s not a loophole you should tolerate at all costs, and you don’t have to – other budget Wi-Fi 6 choices like theand the are perfectly capable of maintaining constant speeds with devices that connect remotely, and both are available for $ 100 or less.
This makes the EaglePro AI a router that is easy to exclude if you buy a new one. Just aim a little higher and you’ll get considerably better home network performance for the price.