At CES 2019, D-Link presented a new series of Exo mesh-enabled smart Wi-Fi routers that come preinstalled with a McAfee security suite. D-Link also introduced its first 5G router.
EXO Mesh Wi-Fi Routers
A mesh Wi-Fi router spreads the network across one or more access points to cover a wider area. This is helpful for users who either have a large property or struggle with Wi-Fi-blocking obstacles, such as concrete walls or ceilings. In contrast to non-mesh Wi-Fi extenders, which create multiple separate networks, a mesh Wi-Fi network is a unified network, meaning you can seamlessly move between different access points.
The five Exo routers in the new series support 10 or more access points. The number isn’t limited, but D-Link told us that it hadn’t tested more. At D-Link’s test house, this setup covered around five thousand square feet, but your results will vary depending on your environment.
The lower-end Exo AC1300 is a dual-band router, while the high-end AC3200 features tri-band Wi-Fi.
For ease of use, the Exo routers use a WPS switch for Wi-Fi Protected Setup. The problem with this convenient solution is that anyone with access to the button could gain access to your network. So make sure to secure your router to prevent unsolicited access.
McAfee Security Suite
All Exo routers give you a free five-year subscription to McAfee’s cloud-based, machine learning-enabled security suite.
The software comes pre-installed on all routers in this series. It protects every connected device from external threats, using McAfee’s global threat intelligence, which can learn and adapt to emerging threats.
Users can manage their network security, including parental control settings or blacklisting of websites, via McAfee’s app.
The expected release date for these new Exo routers is Q2 2019 and the prices will range between $170 and $190. Access points are sold separately and will cost up to $100.
5G NR Router
D-Link also showcased a 5G router. 5G mobile internet is all the rage at CES this year. Besides faster mobile internet, the promise is that 5G could replace traditional wired broadband internet.
With the 5G NR, you won’t need a traditional ISP. D-Link expects that mobile internet service providers will outfit routers with in-built SIM cards and sell them directly to consumers. At this point, the company is not planning to release an unlocked version of the 5G NR, though they said it would depend on user demand. D-Link also couldn’t comment on prices for 5G “home” internet plans.
A potential advantage of a 5G home internet router is that you can take it with you wherever you go and connect to 5G, provided your ISP provides a 5G network. In other words, you might not have to change your ISP when you move.
The expected release for the 5G NR is Q3 or Q4 2019. Should it get it as fast as you can? Not unless 5G is available where you live.