The Best Wi-Fi Mesh Network System Deals This Week* TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi System (3-Pack) — $149.99 (List Price $299.99) Netgear Nighthawk MK62 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 … Dong Ngo, Eero Wi-Fi System review, CNET, February 23, 2016, Jim Salter, 802.eleventy what? At a typical price of $25, it’s a simple fix that costs a lot less than a major hardware upgrade. The Wifi 6 Speeds expected of Eero 6 / Pro customers remained, well, WIFI 5. That left us with almost a dozen kits from eight vendors (Asus, D-Link, Eero, Motorola, Netgear, TP-Link, TrendNet, and Ubiquiti) to test, in order to find the best Wi-Fi mesh network kit. You may still be able to find the RE200 in some stores, but the RE220 is a few dollars less expensive. Like the RE220 and RE300, TP-Link’s Archer RE505X Wi-Fi 6 extender can connect to other routers, but will work in a OneMesh network with compatible TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 routers. The Wire Mesh Diagonal Cutter Heavy is the best tool for cutting heavier-duty wire mesh. Our latency test showed how routers handled the added stress of multiple devices accessing the network simultaneously. (Here's our comprehensive guide to wireless extenders.). Gizmodo Best Mesh Router Wirecutter Best Mesh Router. Other extenders that we have on our radar include options from Asus (RP-AC51, RP-AC1900), D-Link (DAP-1820, DAP-1530, DAP-X1870, DAP-X1860), Linksys (RE7000), Netgear (EAX15, EAX80, EX5000), and TP-Link (RE603X, RE230). Some mesh-compatible extenders work only with routers from the same manufacturer, while others work with any Wi-Fi router (even the one from your Internet service provider). TP-Link Archer AX6000. Asus routers include Amazon Alexa compatibility, so you can turn on a separate guest Wi-Fi network using your Echo smart speaker, for example. Check out this graph, which gives you a sense of how long you might have to wait around for things to load: For web browsing, latency—how long it takes between a request and a response—is more important than raw throughput. Browsing performance was a little worse when we disabled OneMesh to show how each TP-Link extender would work with other, non-OneMesh routers. The D-Link COVR-C1203 is a dual-band three-piece mesh-networking kit that is easy to hide virtually anywhere in your home. Most kits come with one or two of them. Mesh technology optimizes the connections between the extender and the router; in our tests, it ensured that all six laptops got the best connection with the fewest dropoffs and the shortest wait. However, like the Eero Pro 6, the MX12600 is pricey—currently $50-170 more expensive than the Asus kits. High latency, or lag, can make an otherwise speedy connection seem to drag, especially when the network is busy. The best mesh wifi is the TP-Link Deco X20, a dual-band router. Eero 3-pack If present, the third mesh node was placed in the master bedroom on the first floor, with one interior wall between it and the base router. If you need (or like) to tweak your network settings for specific cases such as gaming or content streaming, or because you need to give critical devices priority over others, the CT8 offers lots of switches and sliders to change those settings in its administration console. In performance, however, it landed in the middle of the pack, and since it’s also expensive in comparison with our pick, we dismissed it. New terminology defining an expansion of the Wi-Fi 6 protocol, called Wi-Fi 6E, has been announced. We connected each extender to the Archer A7 router via Wi-Fi and then created a separate Wi-Fi network with a unique SSID. Wirecutter really has the Asus CT8 shining big time - although it is a fair bit more expensive so that makes sense. The Netgear EX6250 showed promise as one of the least expensive (about $90) mesh extenders capable of working with all routers. It’s already difficult to recommend investing in an extender when purpose-built mesh kits typically give you faster, farther-ranging connections and easier setup. The UDM’s administration app and web interface look polished and professional compared with those of home routers, and they offer plenty of settings and graphic monitors familiar to network engineers. Netgear's Orbi WiFi 6 router is best home mesh system money can buy Netgear Let’s get it out the way: the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 AX6000 costs $699 for a … The ASUS RT-AC68U, however, while a good product overall, doesn't really … And because all the components of a mesh-network kit are designed to work together, they may be a bit better at juggling devices than a standalone router with an add-on extender. *At the time of publishing, the price was $25. This is where your budget comes to the fore: It’s easy to drop $300 to $500 on a great, new, multi-router mesh Wi-Fi solution that fills every nook and cranny in a house and never needs to be poked. We used similar criteria to our router reviews, tailored to fit our ideal mesh-networking kits: In addition, we consulted customer reviews on Amazon and Newegg, plus professional mesh kit reviews and performance rankings from CNET, Dong Knows Tech, PCMag, PCWorld, SmallNetBuilder, and Trusted Reviews, to determine our list of contenders. We didn’t disable any of the surrounding Wi-Fi networks or wireless devices like Sonos speaker systems; these kept doing their usual noisy things, just as they probably do in your home. The $80 UAP-AC-Lite units came pretty close to the top of our 2017 charts for throughput, despite that model being the least expensive version in Ubiquiti’s AP line. After spending more than 200 hours evaluating and testing 24 mesh Wi-Fi networking kits in home and lab environments, we’re confident the Asus ZenWiFi AC (CT8) set is the best mesh-router choice for most people who need one. It has a lifetime subscription to Plume, and has a built-in SmartThings hub, but it finished close to the bottom of the pack in 2019. That translates into extra connections for wired devices like streaming boxes, TVs, and game consoles. A lot of interesting Wi-Fi technologies are on the horizon. It actually downloaded a 1 MB file over and over as fast as it could. The Linksys Velop AX4200 (MX12600) is another tri-band kit that shows excellent performance on our latency and throughput tests, finishing just behind the Asus ZenWiFi AC and ZenWiFi AX, and just ahead of the Eero Pro 6. The TP-Link RE220 improved latency compared with the standalone Archer A7, particularly when OneMesh was enabled. If you have a good router and a lot of areas to improve, we recommend the Netgear EX7700 below. Rather than just looking at the mean (average) of all the results during our five-minute test window, we look across the spectrum of results, from good to bad. Among other improvements, Wi-Fi 6 should help keep the XT8 relevant in a rapidly changing smart home with more and more devices to manage. In the previous version of this guide, we praised the Wi-Fi 5 Eero Pro + 2 Eero Beacons kit’s ease of setup and its performance on our latency tests. The test home measures over 3,000 square feet, with three floors of living space and a garage with cinder block interior walls. Whereas other extenders improved reliability in a small area at the cost of some speed, the EX7700 was able to improve the size, reliability, and speed of our network compared with using the Archer A7 router alone. The Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 has four Ethernet ports and the same CPU as the Netgear Orbi RBK50, our former pick among mesh-networking kits. For past versions of this guide, we tested absolutely every mesh kit we could find—but these days the number of mesh kits is growing, and we’re getting pickier. The XT8 came the closest to providing this though, achieving a throughput of over 600 Mbps at close range—almost 30% faster than our main pick, the Asus Wi-Fi AC (CT8). Just like the RE220, the RE300 reduced latency—the time you’re waiting for Web pages to begin loading—by a significant amount, especially when our test network was at its most congested. In a variety of tests spread out around a three-story home, the CT8 was able to outperform all but our upgrade pick, including some kits costing considerably more, and it was relatively painless to set up. Instead of using a single router, mesh-networking kits use multiple access points spread around your house to improve … This expanded wireless standard will take advantage of newly deregulated 6 GHz radio frequencies. Usually, when you set up a Wi-Fi extender, you have to set up a different network name, or SSID (like “routername_ext”), and manually connect devices to it. Asus has made some effort to build as minimalist an exterior as possible, but the CT8 units are a lot larger than the Eero Pro or Netgear Nighthawk MK62 nodes. (Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo) The Winner Costs Nowhere Near $950 Like buying a car, choosing a mesh wifi router is … We ran all these tests at the same time for a full five minutes to simulate a realistic overly active time on a home network. The problem with this method is that it assumes that a big number for one connected device divides evenly into bigger numbers for all devices. The D-Link COVR-2202-US was our previous budget pick, but D-Link has told us that it will be replaced in their lineup with a selection of mesh-capable routers and range extenders. And while the RE220—and the RE300—traded some speed in exchange for the better latency, the EX7700 improved both. Throughput doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Motorola MH7023 You’d really feel this difference in heavy use, as the UAP system delivers a smooth and reliable experience with no frustrating pauses or dropped signals. While the Nest Wifi is easy to set up if you use Google’s services often, there are privacy concerns with Google’s Assistant technology, which extend to the websites and services you visit using the Nest Wifi. This approach allows us to directly show you how much each device improved—or degraded—our test network’s performance from what we started out with. It was the slowest performer on our throughput tests, but it surprised us with upper middle-of-the-pack latency results. Even if you add the cost of labor for a professional to run Ethernet cables from, say, your router to the downstairs office and up to a bedroom, the total cost to add three Ubiquiti APs is still currently well under $400, making it a potentially cheaper option for large homes that might otherwise need several mesh nodes to provide reliable service. Now, with the online giant’s backing, the latest Eero system costs half as much as before for a three-piece setup that promises to cover up to 5,000 square feet.. The next best options to improve your existing Wi-Fi router’s performance—our powerline networking pick or our upgrade Wi-Fi extender pick—are faster and maintain more stable connections than the RE220, but either one costs roughly five times as much for a relatively small improvement in most homes. Remember, despite their name, signal boosters can’t extend the signal too far beyond where the router’s original signal gives out. For this round, we dropped some of the poorest-performing kits from our previous rounds of testing (such as the D-Link COVR-C1203, Linksys Velop dual-band kit, and Zyxel Multy U kits). Long story short: If you can run Ethernet cables and use standard access points instead of a mesh kit, you should consider it. Also, finding and speaking with tech support for a dedicated mesh kit is more convenient. This tool will easily cut through wire from 1.5mm up to 3mm thick; The Wire Mesh Diagonal Cutter Light is a cost effective tool for cutting Wirecutter is reader-supported. Best Mesh WiFi System 2020 (Best Overall) Eero was an early pioneer of the mesh networking approach, and recently was acquired by Amazon. Good tri-band kits like the Asus ZenWifi twins and the D-Link COVR-2202 utilized their dedicated backhaul to relay network signals efficiently to the base station. Distributed WiFi System Mesh wireless Sponsored Post Zyxel This article is sponsored by Zyxel. Plus, you can manage settings and firmware updates for both devices using the same interface on the Archer A7. WPA3 will probably be more important in a business environment, like offices and shared hotspots in cafes, in any case. All you have to do is enter the common network name (SSID) on your phone or device, and your phone or device will automatically connect to the extender or router and choose between the 2.4 and 5 GHz channels based on whichever connection is the most efficient as you roam around your home. Eero 6 In considering models for this guide, we wanted each device to have the following: Once we came up with a preliminary list of all the pure Wi-Fi and mesh-capable extenders offered by major vendors in our three price categories, we narrowed them down by looking at Amazon customer reviews and previous professional reviews from sites such as CNET and SmallNetBuilder. As mentioned above, latency refers to the time you spend between clicking on a link and waiting for the next Web page, streaming video, or file download to come through. With the Netgear EX7700 you can improve your Wi-Fi’s speed and reliability in a larger portion of your home, almost as well as with a mesh-networking kit, without having to replace your current router or cable gateway. I say liked as I don't feel the testing methodology would have been the same I would have used for the article myself. The Asus WiFi AX (XT8) is the right choice if you currently use a gigabit or faster internet connection (or plan to soon)—otherwise, you may only get minimal benefit for the much higher price. If routers and devices both support it, MIMO can speed up Wi-Fi connections. Once you’re connected, the Tether app or the RE220’s Web interface walks you through the process of attaching it to your base router’s Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi 5 (and some Wi-Fi 4) laptops, phones, and other devices will continue to dominate your home for the next few years, and the premium that Wi-Fi 6 demands just isn’t worth it yet. The median—or typical—result is the 50th percentile, on the left. In addition to evaluating extenders’ ability to tame dropouts, we tested to see how they improved the browsing experience, measured in latency. A Facebook feed, for example, has multiple resources, like HTML code, CSS libraries, and Javascript, that load after each click. Oh, how the times are a-changin’. © 2020 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, The best Wi-Fi mesh kit: Asus ZenWiFi AC (CT8), Upgrade mesh Wi-Fi pick: Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8), How mesh-networking kits work (plus a glossary), performance testing of standalone routers, can also make it hard to troubleshoot problems, features that most people would never touch, the latest version of our guide to standalone routers, how we set up the network and what tests we ran, 802.eleventy what? From mesh to gaming to Wi-Fi 6, here are the best we've tested, for every budget. The BeaconHD improved the Wi-Fi signal to the rest of the house, but as our tests show below, other mesh kits performed a bit better. Testing mesh kits this way—in the most difficult spots to reach, in a space with a mix of building materials—ensures that we find the ones that work best throughout your house, rather than just looking good in the easy spots. We’ve just updated our Cyber Monday router deals for AX Wi-Fi. Although cheap extenders like the TP-Link RE220 improved latency a noticeable amount in our tests, the EX7700 did an even better job, reducing latency by nearly 50 percent more than the RE220 when we compared worst case to worst case. Last, but not least, Linksys also requires an online login during setup: You could use a burner email account to protect against online threats, so it’s arguably more secure than using your Amazon login on the Eero kits. Linksys Velop AX4200 (MX12600) A mesh kit won’t necessarily make your internet faster at short to medium range. The Asus RP-AC55 test results show that it favored the test laptops that were downloading large files and streaming 4K videos over the three test laptops that were browsing; if you were Web surfing on that network at the time, you’d complain of longer waits and “slow Internet.” The Netgear EX7300 was in last place, producing a generally unpleasant experience all around, as shown by its much longer than average latencies. 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