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The 10 Best Wi-Fi Mesh Network Systems to Buy in 2018

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Most modern wireless routers come with multiple antennas offering long range and bandwidth than ever before. While these should be sufficient for covering most houses and small offices, even the best routers cannot prevent dead spots from occurring within the range. Dead spots are areas where Wi-Fi signal is absent or extremely weak and they can occur even when all factors required for proper router placement are taken care of.

Apart from dead spots, you might also want to extend the range of your existing router without having to go through the hassle of buying a new device and setting it up for each floor. This is where a Wi-Fi mesh network comes in. A Wi-Fi mesh network, as the name implies, creates a wireless mesh of satellites and nodes that can relay the signal from one area to the other so that no matter wherever you are in the building, you will always get a strong Wi-Fi signal.

There are a few factors that must be kept in mind while selecting a good Wi-Fi mesh network system. The obvious of them include speed and coverage. Speed is of utmost importance if you want to have a good internet experience all around the building. Your Wi-Fi mesh network should not bottleneck the actual speed of your router. Coverage is another important aspect. While you can augment the Wi-Fi mesh network with more satellite nodes, you would want to ensure that the default setup can cover as much area as possible. Another deciding factor is the aesthetics of the Wi-Fi mesh network. Unlike a normal router, which can be tucked away, a Wi-Fi mesh network usually runs throughout the building in plain sight. Therefore, having a good aesthetic that compliments your decor is a welcome aspect.

While narrowing down the best Wi-Fi mesh network systems currently available in the market, several factors were considered. These include the maximum throughput offered, the number and types of bands supported, ease of setup, aesthetic design, coverage etc. With that information, here are the 10 best Wi-Fi mesh network systems available in 2018.

1. Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD

Offer


Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD

  • Features: Touchscreen display’ 10,000 sq.ft coverage; Instant setup; Adjustable Mesh points
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 5.25 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 2.0)
  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.9 in
  • Weight: 5 lb

Ubiquiti makes some of the most high-end routers in the world and the AmpliFi HD is no exception. The AmpliFi HD comes as a set of router plus Mesh antennas that can be adjusted to provide maximum range. All network parameters can be viewed at a glance on the intuitive touchscreen display.

Ubiquiti claims a coverage of up to 10,000 sq.ft. with all the nodes combined making the AmpliFi one of the best long range routers available. The design is very aesthetic-friendly and will complement most home decors. However, ensure that you are getting the correct version of the mesh points. AmpliFi mesh points come in two versions — LR, and HD. The HD can use the 5 GHz band for more bandwidth but the LR uses the 2.4 GHz for more range. The downside is that there is no QoS configuration whatsoever and no remote management via smartphone apps. That said, the Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD is hard to beat when it comes to long-range Wi-Fi.

  • Pros: Great design; Touchscreen; Excellent coverage
  • Cons: Mesh antennas can be 2.4 GHz only at long distances; No QoS

2. Tenda Nova MW3

Offer


Tenda Nova MW3

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 1,500 sq.ft. coverage per node; Parental controls; Tenda App
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2 / 0
  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 5.5 x 5 in
  • Weight: 2.23 lb

The Tenda Nova MW3 offers a very good router replacement and each of its nodes can cover up to 1,500 sq.ft. Three nodes should provide enough coverage for a 3-storeyed apartment without any dead spots. The included Tenda WiFi app provides easy setup and administration and the nodes offer seamless roaming without having to change SSIDs.

The included firmware although very simple can perform most functions including QoS scheduling, parental controls, and even a firewall with port forwarding. The Tenda Nova is one of the best mesh WiFi systems you can get under $100 but the only major downside is that the WAN ports support speeds only up to 100 Mbps although, the wireless functionality itself is rated at 1.2 Gbps.

  • Pros: Value for money; Easy to use software; Good coverage
  • Cons: WAN ports support only 10/100 Ethernet

3. NETGEAR Orbi


NETGEAR Orbi

  • Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); Coverage up to 2.500 sq.ft. per node; Guest capability; Works with Amazon Alexa
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 2.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 3 / 0
  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 3.1 x 8 in
  • Weight: 2.99 lb

The NETGEAR Orbi is a very popular Wi-Fi mesh network system that provides a coverage of up to 2,500 sq.ft. per node. Thus you would only be needed about 2 nodes in total to cover most medium to large-sized homes. The Orbi features tri-band Wi-Fi and one of the bands is reserved for a wireless backhaul to the satellite. This prevents any loss of bandwidth when additional nodes are added. You can also use the built-in Amazon Alexa skill to easily create a guest network with a single voice command.

The initial release of the Orbi firmware supported only wireless backhaul but the most recent version supports Ethernet backhaul as well. This means you can connect the individual nodes to an on-wall Ethernet port without having to congest the wireless network. Just make sure that the satellites and the router use the same latest firmware version to prevent any compatibility issues.

  • Pros: Good coverage; Dedicated band for wireless backhaul
  • Cons: Need to ensure that router and satellites are running the same updated firmware

4. TP-Link Deco M5


TP-Link Deco M5

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); Auto path selection; Beamforming; Band steering; Coverage up to 1,500 sq.ft. per node
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2 / 0
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 4.7 x 1.3 in
  • Weight: 4 lb

The TP-Link Deco M5 takes the hassle out of getting good coverage across the home without worrying about dead spots or dropped connections. The Deco M5 allows you to use a single SSID and password for seamless roaming across the house. The Deco app makes setting up things a breeze and the adaptive routing technology automatically assigns the best band and channel for the connected clients. Each node can offer a coverage up to 1,500 sq.ft. The included software also offers good security and parental control features.

The Deco offers a very good price/performance ratio and newer updates have resolved most of the initial issues. While the Deco M5 offers QoS controls, they have been found to be a bit buggy. Therefore, it is best to turn them off if you plan to use this device to its maximum potential.

  • Pros: Good price/performance ratio; Good coverage and speeds
  • Cons: QoS settings are buggy

5. eero Pro WiFi


eero Pro WiFi

  • Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); 2×2 MU-MIMO; eero App; Beamforming
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2 / 0
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 4.8 x 1.2 in
  • Weight: 0.6 lb

The eero Pro WiFi is now in its second generation and features a tri-band setup for the main satellite and a dual-band setup for the nodes called eero Beacons. You can add as many eero Beacons as you want but you’d do just fine with an eero base and a Beacon for a 2,700 sq.ft. home. The eero App makes setup hassle-free and offers parental controls and various security options.

The eero combines the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands into a single SSID but does not offer the option of separating the bands into individual SSIDs. Devices that don’t play well with this feature might have some problems in connecting to the eero so you should keep in this mind. This minor annoyance apart, the eero Pro WiFi is easily one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems to buy in 2018.

  • Pros: Good speeds and coverage; Easy to use eero smartphone app
  • Cons: SSIDs can be specified to use either the 2.4 or 5 GHz band

6. Linksys Velop

Offer


Linksys Velop

  • Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); 2,000 sq.ft. coverage per node; Linksys App
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 2.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2 / 0
  • Dimensions: 3.1 x 9.3 x 7.3 in
  • Weight: 1.08 lb

The Linksys Velop is one of the best mesh network systems available and is actually a tri-band router plus satellite nodes. Linksys says that each node can provide coverage up to 2,000 sq.ft. so, if you use 3 of them, you will be getting an effective 6,000 sq.ft. of coverage, which should be enough for most homes. The included Linksys app makes setup a breeze and offers quite a few customization options.

A good feature of the Velop is that it combines both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands into a single SSID. The choice is left to the client device as to which band to connect to. Some devices might not play well with this feature but thankfully, there’s a hidden toggle in the software to assign separate SSIDs for each band. Apart from a few quirks with the software, the Linksys Velop is one of the best you can buy today.

  • Pros: Great coverage and speeds; Easy setup
  • Cons: Need to dive deep into the settings to separate 2.4 and 5 GHz SSIDs

7. NETGEAR Nighthawk Mesh X6S

Offer


NETGEAR Nighthawk Mesh X6S

  • Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); Fastlane3; MU-MIMO; AP mode
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 3 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 2.0)
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 10 x 5.2 inches
  • Weight: 3.39 lb

The NETGEAR Nighthawk Mesh X6S offers excellent speeds and coverage thanks to its tri-band setup and a combined maximum throughput of up to 3 Gbps. The third band allows for wireless backhaul to the satellite so that speeds don’t reduce when multiple devices connect to the network. The Nighthawk X6S can extend the existing wireless network without the need for changing the SSID. This also enables seamless roaming across all nodes. The included software can help determine the signal strength at each node and can automatically select the best band and channel for the connected client.

While the Nighthawk X6S performs well without any hiccups, it is better to set up the device in the access point mode than the extender mode for maximum performance. Also, if you have configured WPS, you need to reconfigure it again for the 5 GHz band manually.

  • Pros: Good performance and range; Dedicated band for wireless backhaul
  • Cons: Works better in AP mode than extender mode; WPS needs to be configured separately for 5 GHz band

8. Google WiFi System

Offer


Google WiFi System

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 1,500 sq.ft. coverage per point; Network Assist; Family Wi-Fi controls
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 1.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2 / 0
  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 4.2 x 2.7 in
  • Weight: 0.7 lb

The Google WiFi system is a wireless mesh network system that is a replacement for your existing router. It works with modems from all major internet providers and each node can provide an effective coverage of up to 1,500 sq.ft. They include Network Assist feature does all the background work to select the best channel and band for the client devices. A companion app allows easy delegation of guest access and look at the overall performance of the network.

Although the Google WiFi system is compatible with most routers and switches, it works best with the Google OnHub routers. Do note that activation of the 5 GHz band might take some time whereas the 2.4 GHz band is immediately available. This should be fixed in a future firmware update.

  • Pros: Good speeds and coverage; Easy setup
  • Cons: 5 GHz band does not get immediately activated

9. Plume AC3000


Plume AC3000

  • Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); Parental controls; Personalized guest access; 4×4 MU-MIMO; Beamforming; DFS
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 3 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2 / 0
  • Dimensions: 3.4 x 3.8 x 1.4 in
  • Weight: 0.48 lb

The Plume AC3000 is the newest mesh Wi-Fi system on the block and offers a lot of features for the price. You get 3 nodes, which can, of course, be added to increase the coverage area. The Plume makes use of cloud-based intelligence to understand and adjust the settings according to your home. The built-in firmware is feature-rich and comes with malware protection. Plume’s iOS app is highly rated in the Apple App Store and lets you monitor the performance each device connected to individual ‘SuperPods’.

Setting up the Plume AC3000 is very easy and for the most part, you just need the smartphone app to perform various actions or setup guest access. Each satellite node also features beamforming, band steering, and Dynamic Frequency Selection abilities so that you get an interference-free signal.

  • Pros: Feature-rich; Excellent smartphone app
  • Cons: None as such

10. ASUS Lyra Trio

Offer


ASUS Lyra Trio

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); Trend Micro AiProtection; Vertical antennas; Works with Amazon Alexa; Ethernet Backhaul; 5400 sq. ft. coverage
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 1.7 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 2 / 0
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 3.1 x 5.3 in
  • Weight: 3.9 lb

The ASUS Lyra Trio is one of the highly rated Wi-Fi mesh network systems out there. It comes in a pack of 3 devices that should provide enough coverage up to 5,400 sq.ft. All the nodes of the Lyra Trio act to form a single network and they can automatically switch the client device to the node having the strongest signal. The Lyra Trio supports Ethernet Backhaul, which means that you can connect each satellite node to the on-wall Ethernet ports in different rooms of your house. This lets the nodes communicate over the wire instead of wirelessly. The Lyra sports vertical antennas for minimizing interference and can transmit the signal both vertically and horizontally for maximum coverage.

Setting up the Lyra Trio is easy. Simply connect one of the nodes, download the smartphone app, and you are good to go. While the Lyra Trio should be enough for most houses, you’d do best to wire the nodes using the Ethernet Backhaul feature than wirelessly. This way, you will get maximum speeds, no dead spots, and more importantly, good coverage. Just make sure to invest in a good Gigabit switch if you plan to do this.

  • Pros: Good coverage and speeds; Easy setup; Ethernet Backhaul can be very useful
  • Cons: Buggy firmware; Long boot times

Further Reading

At TechNadu, we have been covering a great deal of information about networking products at various price points and features. We hope this article has addressed your needs if you are on the lookout for a good Wi-Fi mesh network system. On the other hand, if you are looking at a conventional router option, check out some other articles below.

  1. The Best Long Range Routers in 2018 — Stay Connected Virtually Everywhere
  2. Top 10 Best Routers in 2018 – Have a Hassle-Free Internet Browsing Experience!
  3. The Best Gaming Routers in 2018 For Lag-Free Multiplayer Gaming

Final Thoughts

Dear readers, that would be all for our list of the best Wi-Fi mesh network systems to consider buying today. If you have additional questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post them in the comments below and we will do our best to provide a timely response.

Finally, we’d like to ask you to share this article online. Also, don’t forget to follow TechNadu on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!

The post The 10 Best Wi-Fi Mesh Network Systems to Buy in 2018 appeared first on TechNadu.



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Apk apps and Games; 2018