In the modern world of Wi-Fi there are generally three main ways to kit out your home or SMB.
You can use a router, a mesh system or a supercharged ‘mega’ mesh that sees two primary nodes communicate with each other using a dedicated backhaul channel. The latter technology is particularly good for producing a fast, reliable, wired-like connection to a PC at the other end of your premises to your router. However, they’re expensive with the likes of Asus’ ZenWiFi AX costing $899 and Netgear’s Orbi costing $1,299.
Another option is to use powerline adapter. While this can give you a reliable, low-latency connection, throughput varies wildly for every premises and top speeds are rarely high.
But if you want to reliably connect a desktop PC to your router without running an immense Ethernet cable through your house or using powerline adapters, D-Link offers a potential solution, a PCIe Wi-Fi 6 card that also offers Bluetooth 5.1. Is it any good?
Installation is relatively simple, if you’ve installed a card before – you put it in the x1 PCIe slot and screw it in. If you want to enable Bluetooth, then you’ll need to plug the trailing cable into a USB header on your motherboard. If you’ve a low-profile PC, D-Link includes a low-profile I/O plate. We booted our computer and it immediately connected to our Wi-Fi network, it didn’t even ask for a password as Windows already knew it.
But what of performance?
We tested in a three-storey Sydney townhouse where the router was on the ground floor next to a Synology 1019+ NAS. In the past we’ve downloaded large video files to a Dell XPS 15 OLED laptop to test the power of the Wi-Fi hardware. Typical scores for Wi-Fi 6 products are between 80 to 200 Mbps. The best mega mesh systems can see rates to 350 to 450 Mbps.
With D-Link’s PCIe Wi-Fi 6 card our PC managed an impressive 316 Mbps. Furthermore, repeated Speedtest tests matched the 8ms ping we get with wired connections.
The best part is the price… at $109 it won’t break the bank. If you want to connect a desktop PC to a router, NAS or internet connection at the other end of a premises, this makes a great choice.