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D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI mesh system review

The D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI mesh system makes connectivity easy (as long as you don’t use the app wizard).

D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI mesh system - hero card
D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI
4 out of 5 stars
4
Connectivity
WiFi 6, 4x Ethernet (per device)
Max WiFi speed
3Gbps
Configurations
2-pack or 3-pack
Nathan Lawrence
Mar 21, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read

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Quick verdict: D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI
The D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI is a WiFi mesh system designed to not look like the typical router eyesore. It’s easy to set up with straightforward smart features that encourage tinkering, plus it has performance where it counts, including if you only use a single device in router mode. I just wish the app was more helpful during setup, things were simpler if you don’t mesh straight away, and the Ethernet ports felt sturdier.
pro
Pros
pro Anti-router design logic
pro Solid performance, solo or meshed
pro Easy-to-use smart features
con
Cons
con App configuration quirks
con Ethernet ports feel flimsy
con Challenges if you don’t mesh immediately

Forget about WiFi extenders; WiFi mesh systems are all the rage these days. And it makes sense. Instead of dealing with multiple WiFi service set identifier (SSID) network names, the current mesh thrust is to have an easily expandable network with a single WiFi name and password. That’s a space the D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI is gunning for and, for the most part, it does the job admirably.

D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI mesh system - in a box

How much does the D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI cost in Australia?

A competitively priced mesh system with either two or three devices (from $399.95 RRP).

These days, you can go all out and spend thousands on a high-end WiFi mesh system. Thankfully, the D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI is a lot kinder on your network equipment budget. Prices start at $399.95 RRP for a two-pack variant or it’s $549.95 RRP for the three-pack M30 configuration. In terms of two-pack mesh systems, that’s about what you’d pay for the Netgear Orbi AX1800 or the Asus ZenWiFi XD4S.

D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI initial setup and configuration

A cinch to set up and configure, even without the companion app.

The first challenge I faced when cracking open the D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI was two identical-looking devices. In the past, this was solved by scouring small-font text on a device sticker or trial and error to find out which one is the router. Mercifully, D-Link’s already thought of that and any of the identical devices can be configured as a router or mesh extender.

Step-by-step installation is a cinch with the Aquila Pro AI app for a single router configuration. I highly advise configuring the extender/s at the same time otherwise you may hit hurdles if you do it days after the fact (I lost hours troubleshooting). Even without the app, the straightforward web portal shows automated firmware updates and a helpful wizard for initial configuration. For the mesh network, I found it easier to follow the instructions in the quick-start guide—holding the WPS button on the router for a few seconds, then again on the extender—than the multiple app steps.

Info Box
What is D-Link?

D-Link is a hardware manufacturer that’s been around for more than 30 years. In terms of consumer technology, D-Link made a name for itself selling home network equipment, including routers, WiFi extenders and mesh WiFi systems. D-Link also sells cameras and smart home gear.

D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI speeds and performance

A speedy operator in single or dual configuration.

I’ve been using the D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI in single-device router configuration for weeks, and it’s yet to skip a beat. The M30 is a seamless networking companion whether I’m working, streaming, downloading, online gaming or transferring files on my local network. Here’s how the D-Link M30 performance looks in my apartment with just the router in operation.

Location
Latency
Download speed
Upload speed
WiFi distance
Signal interference
Ethernet lounge6ms93.35Mbps38.11Mbps0m (15m Cat 8 cable)No interference
WiFi lounge10ms (4ms slower)92.6Mbps (~1% slower)36.2Mbps (~5% slower)5mTV
WiFi study11ms (5ms slower)36.6Mbps (~61% slower)12.8Mbps (~66% slower)11mTV, 3 walls, mirrored closet
WiFi bathroom9ms (3ms slower)61.5Mbps (~34% slower)29.4Mbps (~23% slower)10mTV, 1 wall
WiFi bedroom11ms (5ms slower)72.9Mbps (~22% slower)30.6Mbps (~20% slower)11mTV, 1 wall
WiFi kitchen9ms (3ms slower)54.4Mbps (~42% slower)32.3Mbps (~15% slower)5mTV, 2 walls
WiFi laundry8ms (2ms slower)90.3Mbps (~3% slower)36.1Mbps (~5% slower)4.5mTV, 2 walls
WiFi TV11ms (5ms slower)92.9Mbps (~0.5% slower)36.7Mbps (~4% slower)0.5mTV stand (metal)

The top Ethernet line shows the expected speeds under best-case conditions at the time with my Aussie Broadband NBN 100/40 internet connection. There’s not much of a speed hit on WiFi in the lounge, and the M30 impressively tackled the typically signal-dampening walls between router and laundry.

My study is a typical connectivity blackspot for WiFi, but the download speeds were still double that of my long-serving Netgear Nighthawk XR700 router (admittedly, a WiFi 5 device). But you can see the impact that the thick apartment walls have on shaving dozens of megabits-per-second off the download speed. That’s what I was hoping the WiFi mesh extender would help with, and it didn’t disappoint.

Location
Latency
Download speed
Upload speed
WiFi distance
Signal interference
Ethernet lounge6ms93.26Mbps37.76Mbps0m (15m Cat 8 cable)No interference
WiFi lounge8ms (2ms slower)92.1Mbps (~1% slower)35.7Mbps (~5% slower)0mTV
WiFi study12ms (6ms slower)84.6Mbps (~9% slower)35.9Mbps (~5% slower)6mTV, 3 walls, mirrored closet
WiFi bathroom9ms (3ms slower)91.1Mbps (~2% slower)36.2Mbps (~4% slower)5mTV, 1 wall
WiFi bedroom8ms (2ms slower)92.5Mbps (~1% slower)36.5Mbps (~3% slower)6mTV, 1 wall
WiFi kitchen10ms (4ms slower)88.7Mbps (~5% slower)36.2Mbps (~4% slower)5m1 wall
WiFi laundry11ms (5ms slower)89.7Mbps (~4% slower)35.8Mbps (~5% slower)6m2 walls
WiFi TV9ms (3ms slower)92.4Mbps (~1% slower)36.3Mbps (~4% slower)0.5mTV stand (metal)

There’s not a double-digit percentage slowdown in sight. Like a WiFi extender, a WiFi mesh system extender is only as strong as the part of the router’s wireless network you place it. I position my routers on the far side of my apartment, but I test extenders in a central spot (basically the other side of the lounge). The speed results are very impressive, with the M30 two-device mesh network tackling latency, download and upload speeds around my apartment with minimal degradation.

D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI tweaks and versatility

An expandable WiFi mesh system that’s easy to tweak.
with wires

As is the trend these days, you’ve got two choices when it comes to making tweaks with the D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI: app or web portal. I appreciate that the companion app offers minimal but helpful notifications, like when there’s an internet outage or when a firmware update is available.

At a glance, the app shows you how many devices are connected to your home network and how many extenders you have online. You can toggle main WiFi or guest WiFi on or off, share credentials or easily dig into other intuitive features like parental control, voice control and device priority.

The web portal has a basic design that’s similarly intuitive. I highly recommend spending some time in the features section, particularly the QoS Engine page, to further personalise your home network. Basically, the M30’s web portal isn’t as intimidating as the pages and pages of settings of a gaming router, so you should feel more comfortable tinkering.

Is the D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI WiFi mesh system worth buying?

A reasonable investment in simplicity and performance.
front

The D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI is a solid WiFi mesh system. As long as you set up your router and extenders at the same time, you shouldn’t encounter any configuration hurdles. This user-friendliness approach extends to straightforward tinkering, too. The M30 may not have any standout features that blew me away—and it’d be preferable if there was at least one USB port on the devices—but it does everything you’d want from a networking device well and looks good while doing it. Consider this a solid option if you’re in the market for a reliable NBN router or WiFi mesh system.

How we review mesh WiFi systems

How we review mesh WiFi systems is a lot like how we review routers. There are some additional steps, though. For starters, we like a mesh WiFi system that’s compact and reasonably priced, relative to its peers.

It’s good to see buying options—two-packs, three-packs and affordable satellite expansion—but it’s not essential. One of the first things we check is how easy it is to determine the mesh WiFi router from its satellites. There’s a trend for these devices to look identical, so some form of identification goes a long way to simplifying setup, especially for future-proofed convenience.

Speaking of setup, we favour brands that offer incredibly straightforward step-by-step configuration. After all, a mesh system is supposed to be set and forget. Then comes the testing. We start by testing the speeds of the mesh WiFi router, then expand it with whatever satellites are included. Great coverage is expected, but it’s less great if it comes at a big hit to latency and/or overall speed.

D-Link M30 Aquila Pro AI frequently asked questions

Any D-Link router or WiFi mesh system with an AX3000 rating is a good choice for modern homes. That AX3000 rating means the D-Link product is a WiFi 6 networking device with up to 3Gbps wireless speed potential, fast enough for any internet plan in Australia.
Yes, D-Link is a good brand for networking equipment, including NBN-ready routers and WiFi mesh systems. D-Link routers typically sport slimline designs, speedy performance and are easy to use.
D-Link router usernames and passwords are typically listed beneath the networking device on a sticker. Note that there may be separate default passwords for the WiFi network (SSID) and device web portal.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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