Even though I love tech in general, it is kind of difficult to get excited about routers, but today we have something from D Link that I think is really game changing.
The D Link R15 is an AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 router with Eagle Pro A.I. which we will talk about, but at its price point of just 46 US Dollars or around 3500 Rs. in India, I really can’t believe that we have a Wi-Fi 6 router that performs well, because it’s closest rival is of course the TP Link Archer AX10, but this actually costs 1000 Rs. less than that while also offering some extremely important features that that was lacking.
Inside the box, you’ll get a manual, the power adapter for the router, an ethernet cable, and the router itself.
The D Link R15 looks pretty decent for a router, it comes in this white color which makes it look a little different. The top and bottom also have very good ventilation, and this can also be wall mounted.
On the front we have 4 LEDs in white color which look really nice, and the Wi-Fi LEDs keep blinking like this to indicate activity, but you can turn them off in settings.
At the back you have 3 Gigabit LAN Ports, a Gigabit WAN port, and a WPS and a Reset button. It is missing one LAN port and a power button from the standard layout, but that will be completely fine for most people.
Setup & Interface
The setup of this router is quite simple with D Link’s Wizard, and the overall interface is not the most visually pleasing, but it gets the job done, and it is a significant improvement over its previous version.
You can access all the features here, we have parental controls that can be scheduled, there is a Quality of Service feature that’s easier to use than before, the router offers a firewall, and you can configure port forwarding, and can also configure VPN.
You can also use the EAGLE Pro AI app to control these functions with your phone from any location as we have cloud integration here, and the router also offers voice control integration with Google Home and Alexa.
This is a Wi-Fi 6 router with 2 x 2 MU-MIMO, so you get all the advantages of that over Wi-Fi 5 routers like OFDMA, client scheduling, and lower latencies for gaming, you of course also get higher speeds with the WiFi AX standard, and I think this is the lowest priced WiFi 6 router that I have seen from a reputed brand.
But just because it’s affordable, doesn’t mean that it is lacking in performance, because we are getting really great speeds on it.
With my ROG Phone 3, I was able to get around 750 mbps on the 5 GHz network with my phone almost touching the router,
then in the next room with one brick wall in between I got 660 mbps, which is actually really great,
and finally in my company office which has multiple brick walls in between, I got 360 mbps, which is significantly higher than AX10.
The performance on 2.4 GHz network was slightly lower than what I am used to seeing with other routers in this budget, as I got 86 mbps with my phone close to the router, I got 77 mbps in the next room, with a result of 68 mbps in the company office. You’ll probably only use the 2.4 GHz band for less demanding devices, so this would probably not be an issue.
The range of the router is what you would expect from something in this price range, and it is good enough for a single flat or home of around 2000 to 2500 square feet.
Eagle Pro A.I.
The R15 offers Artificial Intelligence with its Eagle Pro AI Engine, which D Link says keeps your devices on optimal channels and makes use of intelligent beamforming that this router supports.
You can toggle the AI optimizer on or off in settings. I tried checking if it made a difference, and I did seem to get slightly lower speeds with the optimizer turned off in my tests. I am not really sure how much the AI is helping here, but you can just keep it turned on and forget it, it could help more when you have a lot of devices connected.
Extender Mode with Mesh
Now if you’ve watched any of my TP Link router reviews, you would know how much I hate the fact that none of them offer a range extender mode, including their much more expensive models.
But the D Link R15 actually offers a range extender, and a bridging mode, and you can also use multiple of these routers (text: maximum of 4 routers can be used), or use D Link’s range extenders to create a mesh network.
I tried using this as a range extender with my AX73, and I was able to get really good speeds, and this is such an essential feature that keeps your old routers from turning into E-waste.
So in conclusion, I have to say that this is the best budget router for now, because at its price of 3500 Rs., it is completely making the TP Link AX10 obsolete, because in addition to being at a much lower price, it is also offering slightly better performance overall, AND it is also offering a range extender mode with mesh capability, unlike TP Links routers which only work with their range extenders, and cannot be used individually as extenders.
The only downsides with this router are that its interface isn’t as easy to use, and that it is offering slightly lower speeds on the 2.4 GHz band, but these are not major issues.
This also lowers the entry point in price for a good Wi-Fi 6 router, and this is in fact so good that it is also providing a better value for money than the TP Link Archer C6, which was my recommendation for the best budget router, because even though this costs 1000 Rs. more than the C6, it is offering Wi-Fi 6, and an extender mode.
Even though you can spend a lot more on routers, from the speeds that most people have, I think that it should be all the router that you may need.
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