When my parents moved over to Starlink for their internet I thought I may be okay with that internet but it turned out to not be stable enough for gaming. That’s fine, I always wanted to have a secondary connection here in case one went down. So I reordered Teksavvy internet (had internet through them before Starlink) but this time in a gigabit connection.
Going gigabit meant I had to buy a new modem and a new wireless router since the old one did not support gigabit networking through a hardware connection.
Now, minus the issues I had with the open box modem I purchased (and now replaced), finding a decent gigabit router is actually really hard to do. Wi-Fi has really left ethernet in the dust but I still prefer a hardwired connection for reliability and consistency in the signal.
I landed on the Wavlink AC3200 which is called the Quantum DAX in software and in other locations around the world where it is sold. It looks a lot like a small darker-coloured Playstation 5 console with a built-in status screen on top.
The Wavlink AC3200 has one WAN port that of course is designed for receiving your internet connection from you internet modem. There are three gigabit ethernet ports as well. Also on the back is a USB 3 port to hook up a USB drive to easily create a network drive.
Setting up the AC3200 was pretty easy. Once all the cables were hooked up and the router was powered on it immediately saw the internet connection and was already ready to go. Of course I signed in to the router to configure it with a hidden SSID (later un-hidden because Microsoft makes it impossible to connect their Xbox Series X to a hidden network – WTF Microsoft?) and set up encryption. Everything I have will use the Wi-Fi including my game consoles and laptops. Otherwise my main computers are hooked up via gigabit ethernet.
On the top of the DAX is a black and white information LCD that displays multiple screens of information. There are six screens here that can be scrolled through via capacitive touch buttons under the screen. Screen one displays your router hardware information including name, hardware revision, MAC address and firmware version. Screen two displays which ethernet ports are occupied and which ones are not. The third screen displays a current internet speed test (I don’t know what service it is using to test this) and a couple icons that show how many devices are connected via 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The fourth screen displays a current weather report for your location. This is an interesting feature though pretty much useless as the display is not always on and is really not in a good position to be useful. The fifth screen displays your Wi-Fi information including SSIDs and if you so choose, the passwords. I have the passwords hidden of course. The sixth screen displays a full list of connected devices by name and how much up and down bandwidth they are using.
Of course all these things are available in the very easy to use web interface for the DAX. While I like the interface from TP-Link the DAX takes it further by making it less cryptic and more user friendly. Don’t get me wrong, you still need some expertise in setup if you were to really delve in to more of the settings but the basic settings of setting up SSIDs and encryption are relatively simple.
Let us talk about Wi-fi coverage. The router I used previously was a TP-Link Archer C8. This is a very good value wireless router and works very well. With that router we easily have coverage over our whole house which is two stories and 1800 square feet. But when you venture outside it drops off pretty quick (house is sided with old school wood siding so no bricks adding to any issues). In fact just twenty feet away from the house the signal is down to one bar on my phone (which has five bars). With the Wavlink AC3200 the signal in the same location is four bars. That is an impressive improvement. And with so many other Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity and two very close to the DAX in the same house it’s eight omni-directional antennae work impressively well.
Now I don’t necessarily need to have Wi-fi blasting that far away from the house but, almost every time I leave for work, I forget to download my podcasts, so quickly being able to do that in the driveway before I leave is a nice bonus.
I have only tested internet speed performance on this and not internal networking performance. I don’t do a lot of internal network work so that was not that important to me. Over ethernet I can get up to 980 megabits per second which is almost the maximum of my gigabit internet connection. I take this as a win since getting to my main computers connected via gigabit ethernet it has to run through a 50ft cable to a TP-Link gigabit switch the another six foot cable to each computer. I do not have a Wi-fi device in the house that can pull down a gigabit Wi-fi speed but I am able to get a consistent 450 megabits down with the best laptop I have. That’s good enough for me.
I have read a couple unsubstantiated claims on the interwebs that the Wavlink AC3200 was caught starting a bot network on board. I honestly haven’t seen this and I monitor my bandwidth with my internet service provider (even though it’s unlimited). I would also expect if this was really an issue there would be more reports around the internet about it. On top of that I would expect my internet performance to drop substantially if a bot net was active. I don’t think there is an issue here with this but I wanted to mention it in case some one else said I was ignoring the issue.
I got to say, the Wavlink AC3200 is a very good value as it is typically on sale for decent prices now as it is an older 802.11ac device (Wi-fi 5). I am very impressed with it’s performance and would happily recommend it to anyone in the market for a decent wireless and a great gigabit ethernet router.