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D-Link M60 Review: D-Link’s Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router to Date Could Use Some Improvement

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The D-Link M60 Aquila Pro AI AX6000 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router is the first D-Link router I've reviewed in a long time. It's completely different from the previous DIR-X5460, with a more exciting design and better firmware.

Still, despite the (nonsensical) "Pro AI" notion in the name, the M60 remains a basic home router. After all, it features the dated Wi-Fi 6 standard—we've gotten Wi-Fi 7 almost a year after Wi-Fi 6E before that. Additionally, its web user interface and mobile app could use some improvements.

Here's the bottom line: For the current street price, some $50 less than the suggested retail cost, the D-Link M60, while definitely not earth-shattering, is a safe buy for those with Gigabit bandwidth needs. The fact that multiple units can form a mesh system doesn't hurt. Consider it today!

D-Link M60 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh Router
The D-Link M60 Aquila Pro AI AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh router has an attractive design.

D-Link M60: Avant-garde design meets traditional firmware

Contrary to having bird-related "Aquila" in the name—likely to differentiate itself from the previous "Eagle" product line, such as the Eagle Pro AI R32—the D-Link M60 looks more like a seashell or the front profile of a stingray. With zero resemblance to a typical router, the thing has enough to be a conversation starter.

I like the new design. It looks good, is practical, and is easy to clean. It's also wall-mount-ready. However, some might find it bulky. Though thin, the router has a large footprint when placed on a flat surface, as you can imagine from its shape.

The new router has a single color-changing LED light on the front (which can be turned off via a switch) and an array of ports on the back, including a 2.5Gbps WAN-only port and four Gigabit LANs. There's no USB port. So, it's pretty standard on the wired networking front.

On the inside, the M60 doesn't have anything new, either. It features top-tier 4x4 specs of Wi-Fi 6 and has a total Wi-Fi bandwidth of over 5900Mbps out of the two 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Like most vendors, D-Link rounds this up to call it an AX6000 router.

The table below shows the Wi-Fi 6 router's full hardware specs and its real-world power consumption.

D-Link M60 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh Router topD-Link M60 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh Router underside
The top and underside of the D-Link M60 mesh router. Note how it's wall-mount-ready.

D-Link M60: Hardware specifications

NameD-Link M60 Aquila Pro AI AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
ModelM60
Wi-Fi GradeDual-band AX6000
1st Band
(channel width)
2.4GHz
4x4 AX: up to 1148 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2nd Band
(channel width)
5GHz
4x4 AX: up to 4804 Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
Hardware RoleRouter Mode
Extender Mode
Bridge (AP) Mode (as a single router or a mesh system)
UNII-4 SupportNo
Network StandardsIEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax, IPv4, IPv6
Mesh-readyYes
(D-Link Wi-Fi Mesh)
Full Web UIYes
Mobile AppD-Link AQUILA PRO AI
(required for mesh setup)
VLANNo
VPNYes (L2TP over IPSec)
QoSYes
Parental ControlYes
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps WAN
Gigabit Port4 x 1 Gbps LAN
Dual-WANNo
Link-AggregationNo
USB PortNone
ButtonsPower Switch, Reset, WPS, LED
DC Power AdapterAC Input: 100~240 V (50~60 Hz) 
DC Output: 12 V with max 2 A current
Dimensions8.93 x 6.45 x 3.13 in
(226.7 x 163.8 x 79.6 mm)
Weight1.29. lbs (584 g)
Power Intake110V -240V
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours)
≈ 195 Wh
(tested as the router role)
Release DateMarch 2024
Firmware Version
(at review)
1.01.03
US Retail Cost
(at launch)
$149.99 (Single Router
D-Link M60's hardware specifications
D-Link M60 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh Router front sideD-Link M60 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh Router port side
The front and back sides of the D-Link M60 mesh router. Note its sole 2.5Gbps port (Internet).

Single Multi-Gig port with no chance of multi-Gigabit connection

As shown in the table, the M60 is rather uninteresting on the port front. As a router, its only 2.5Gbps port can only work as the WAN port, and there's no option for Dual-WAN or link Aggregation. The point is there's no way to get a multi-Gigabit connection out of it.

The fastest speed you can ever get out of this router is in the realm of Gig+, and only when you use the M60 can you host a super-fast broadband connection. But if you have such fast Internet, chances are you'd not consider this router.

What is Gig+

Gig+, or Gig Plus, conveys a speed grade faster than 1Gbps but slower than 2Gbps. So, it's 1.5Gbps, give or take, and it's not speedy enough to qualify as Multi-Gig Ethernet or multi-Gigabit. Intel coined the term to call its Wi-Fi 6E client chips—the AX210 and AX211—to describe their real-world speeds.

Gig+ generally applies to the sustained speeds of Wi-Fi 6 or 6E—via a 2x2 at 160MHz connection, which has the 2402Mbps theoretical ceiling speed—or Internet speed. It's generally not used to describe wired network connections.

So, as far as bandwdith is concerned, the M60 reminds me of the first round of routers with a single Multi-Gigabit port introduced a few years ago. It's stuck at Gigabit or lower. Things would be much different if the router had a second Multi-Gig port. Now, it can host a genuine 2.5Gbps connection or even has multi-Gigabit backhauling when you daisy-chain a few units together via network cables.

Speaking of being stuck in the past, the M60 didn't have much new firmware, either.

D-Link M60 Web UI Feature ListD-Link M60 Web UI Wireless Settings

A typical web interface and feature set with a fake “AI” marketing cloak

The D-Link M60 has "AI" written all over its web user interface and marketing materials. Rest assured, though, it has zero artificial intelligence.

In fact, the interface itself could use a bit more attention to detail. For example, in one of the screenshots here, you'll note a line at the bottom of the interface that reads "Copyright @ 2022 D-Link Corporation"—somebody forgot to update that in the latest firmware.

But that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I like the traditional web user interface. You can use it to set up and manage the M60 the way you do any standard router.

Specifically, to set up:

  • Hook the router to the Internet source—such as a cable modem or fiberoptic ONT—and turn it on.
  • Connects a computer to the default Wi-Fi network (printed on the underside) or a LAN port using a network cable.
  • On the connected computer, launch a browser and navigate to its default IP address, which is 192.168.200.1, and log in with the default admin password, also printed on the underside.

And that's it. The rest is self-explanatory. A wizard will work you through a few steps to initialize, create the Wi-Fi network, etc., and you're game. You can always go back to this interface to customize the network further if needed.

D-Link M60 Dynamic DNSD-Link M60 VPN
The D-Link M60 has standard (and comparatively poor) features. Its Dynamic DNS and VPN are shown here. Note that in spite of the graphics, D-Link's Dynamic DNS domain has ceased to exist since mid-2020.

The D-Link M60 has a typical set of new settings and features. These include Dynamic DNS (D-Link stopped offering its free domain in July 2020), port forwarding, an L2TP/IPsec VPN server, a simple QoS engine, and a decent parental control feature.

It's worth noting that, while decently configurable with lots of filtering options, the Parental Controls feature wasn't entirely effective. For example, when I tried filtering out Facebook, the blocking only worked when I tried accessing the site using a browser. The Facebook app, however, still worked.

The M60 has many Wi-Fi settings, but it doesn't allow customizing the SSIDs to favor performance, only compatibility. In other words, you can only force them to work explicitly at slower speed grades or order Wi-Fi standards, not the other way around.

The router allows its two Wi-Fi bands to have two separate SSIDs or be combined into one via Smart Connect. Additionally, there's an optional Guest Wi-Fi SSID for each band, which is isolated by default but can be made as part of the primary network.

Overall, the D-Link M60's web user interface worked as intended for the most part, with some minor bugs in my trial. For example, some settings didn't apply the first time. Additionally, the web UI doesn't allow for adding another unit to form a mesh system. To do so, we need to use the Aquila Pro AI mobile app.

A limited mobile app that requires a D-Link login account

To use the mobile app, you must log in with a D-Link Cloud account and register the router with it.

D-Link and your privacy

Registering the hardware with a D-Link Cloud account generally means it's always connected to the vendor, which translates into inherent privacy risks.

Here's the Taiwanese networking vendor's Privacy Policy.

Managing your home network via a third party is generally not a good idea, but privacy is a matter of degree. Data collection and handling vary vendor by vendor.

After that, the app itself proved to be a bit buggy and limited in my trial.

One of the main functions is to add another Aquila Pro AI router, such as another M60 unit, as a "mesh extender" to increase the Wi-Fi coverage, and the process is supposed to be easy. All you have to do is tap on the plus (+) button at the top right corner to scan the QR code on the underside of the router, then follow a short wizard to add the hardware as a wireless or wired mesh satellite.

The D-Link M60s moible app is limitedD-Link M60 Mobile app mesh setup
The D-Link M60's Aquila Pro AI mobile app is required for mesh setup. The app is limited overall and can't replace the web user interface.

However, in my trial, the first two failed at the last step for no apparent reason, and I was left with a message that read, "Something came up. The application has canceled the request to choose a device."

Without making any changes, the third time worked.

It's worth noting that once the satellite unit has been added, I could manage it, including removing it from the mesh, using the web user interface. It seemed that the fact you must use the app to form a mesh was more of a coercion than a necessity.

Other than adding a mesh satellite, the Aquila Pro AI mobile app is pretty limited. I could use it to manage the Parental Control feature and the Wi-Fi SSIDs, and that's about it. Besides that, the app has a few oddities, such as:

  • It can't turn on the QoS feature labeled "Client Priority." Instead, it asks you to first enable the "AI Traffic Optimizer" within the web user interface.
  • Weird labeling: In addition to the cavalier use of the term "AI," the app also has some odd labels. For example, its "Health Mode," if turned on, will turn Internet access off for all devices. It's unclear how that has anything to do with health.
  • The app's "Advanced Mode" will launch the web user interface on the device's mobile browser.

Overall, the Aquila Pro AI seems like an afterthought, as though someone made it only so that they could say there was an app. You cannot use the D-Link M60 to its full potential without the web user interface. Hopefully, things will get better via firmware/app updates. Among other things, D-Link should add the mesh building function to the web user interface so users can forgo the app entirely.

D-Link M60 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh Router ports in actionD-Link M60 2 pack mesh in action
You can use the D-Link M60 as a standalone router or use multiple units to form a mesh system.

D-Link M60: Excellent performance for the specs

I tested two D-Link M60 units, as standalone routers or as a 2-pack mesh, for over 10 days and was generally happy with the performance.

As a single router, the M60 delivers a similar Wi-Fi experience to a high-end Wi-Fi 6 component, such as the Asus RT-AX86U, albeit with fewer features and settings. And it has about the same coverage. Wi-Fi range is always tricky, but I estimate that a single M60 unit can cover about 1700 ft2 (158 m2) to 2000 ft2 (186 m2), depending on the number of walls and layout.

D-Link M60 Router long range performanceD-Link M60 Router short range performance
The D-Link M60's Wi-Fi performance when working as a standalone router.

As a mesh system, the M60 supports both wired and wireless backhauling. I could switch between the two simply by connecting/disconnecting a network cable linking the two, and the system took just a few seconds to switch.

D-Link M60 Mesh long range performanceD-Link M60 Mesh short range performance
The D-Link M60's performance when working as a mesh satellite unit.
👉🏿: performance via Gigabit wired backhauling.
👉: performance via 5GHz wireless backhauling.

As mentioned above, since there's only one Mulit-Gig port per router, there's no way to get multi-Gigabit wired backhauling out of the two, and the data rates reflect that. Overall, you should generally expect sub-Gigabit sustained rates in real-world usage, which are fast enough for most homes' broadband.

The D-Link M60, as a single router or a mesh system, passed my 3-day stress test without any disconnection. It proved to be reliable. The hardware was completely silent during long operation—it has no internal fan—and became just a little warm, suggesting no thermal issue down the line.

D-Link D-Link M60 Mesh Router's Rating

7.9 out of 10
D-Link M60 AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Smart Mesh Router retail box content
Performance
8 out of 10
Features
7 out of 10
Design and Setup
8 out of 10
Value
8.5 out of 10

Pros

Reliable (160MHz) Wi-Fi 6 performance, good coverage

Standard web user interface with a decent set of network settings and features

2.5Gbps WAN port; mesh-ready; cool design

Cons

No 6GHz; only a single Mulit-Gig port

No Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation; no performance-favored Wi-Fi settings; the " Pro AI" marketing nonsense

The Aquila Pro AI (required for mesh setup) is limited

Conclusion

Four years ago, when Wi-Fi 6 was still a novelty, the D-Link M60 Aquila Pro AI AX6000 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 router would have been a phenomenal piece of home networking hardware. Today, however, it seems late to the game in terms of both Wi-Fi specs and software, and the "Pro AI" notion is clearly marketing nonsense.

Still, if you're not looking for the cutting edge, which is why you're still on the market for a Wi-Fi 6 solution to begin with, this "new" router will make a good buy. It will do more than get the job done for a sub-Gigabit home, and the curvy "wife-approved" design doesn't hurt.

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