Best Mesh Wi-Fi – Buyers Guide

The Best Mesh WiFi Systems – Buyers Guide

If you live in a large home a Mesh Wi-Fi system is the best way to connect all your favorite Wi-Fi devices to a single Wi-Fi network that allows for seamless roaming. Mesh creates a strong, stable signal throughout your home. In this article, we discuss what to look for in a good Mesh Wi-Fi system and consider some of the best systems available on the market today.

Mesh WiFi

Once your home gets past the 2,500 square feet mark you may start seeing Wi-Fi signal loss in various parts of your home. Sometimes this can be dealt with effectively with Wi-Fi Extenders or Powerline. If it’s a low-traffic area you may decide it’s not worth the bother of trying to get a strong WiFi signal in every nook and cranny of your home.

If your home is 3,000 square feet or more and it’s important to you to have a strong Wi-Fi signal in every room a Mesh WiFi system may be in your immediate future.

Is It Time To Consider Mesh?

Everyone wants smooth WiFi performance in their homes. Unfortunately, obstacles like dense walls, multiple floors, and large obstacles can get in the way. Distance is also a factor. Most WiFi routers can deal with these issues to a degree but there’s a point where a single WiFi router just won’t cut it.

Mesh is designed to overcome these obstacles by blanketing your home with a single SSID that is nearly as strong at the far end of the house as it is near the main router. Instead of straight-line communication from the router that gradually grows weaker mesh networking works with satellites that use Mesh networking technology to regenerate your WiFi signal and blanket your entire home with a strong Wi-Fi signal.

There comes a time when throwing money into more and more powerful long-range wireless routers becomes pointless. It’s called the point of diminishing returns. Some homes are just too big, too cluttered with obstructions, and too full of other WiFi devices for a single wireless router to handle.

Noticeable signal degradation will usually start at around 2500 square feet. There’s no exact rule of thumb for when it happens but you’ll know it when it does. If your only concern is extending your signal to a single room in one corner of the house, a basement or a garage powerline or an extender might be a good solution but if you’re suffering from random dead spots and slow spots all over your home it may be time to look into using mesh. 

Mesh offers a simple, fast way to set up a home network and maintain an excellent Wi-Fi connection throughout homes as large as 5,000 square feet. They aren’t cheap but they’re becoming more and more affordable. Set up is usually a breeze.

Once you have your new Mesh WiFI system in place you should notice an immediate performance boost on all devices on your home network. Some day all home wireless routers may be replaced by Mesh Wi-Fi and the current way we do things with wireless routers may be seen as “old-fashioned.”

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Shopping For A Mesh Wi-Fi System

When shopping for a Mesh Wi-Fi system, it is important to keep several factors in mind.

  1. What are your needs? Do you need a system that covers an entire home, or do you only need coverage in specific areas?
  2. What are your budget constraints? Are you looking to spend less on a system or invest in the best quality possible? Thankfully as Mesh Wi-Fi becomes more commonplace prices are coming down.
  3. What type of devices do you want to be able to connect to? Are all your devices Wi-Fi 5 devices or do you have some Wi-Fi 6 devices? Are you planning on moving the Wi-Fi 6 in the future?
  4. How many devices do you want to be able to connect to at once? Some wifi mesh systems allow up to 50 devices to be connected at once.
  5. Does the wifi mesh system have features that you need? Features like built-in antivirus, QoS, VPN support, and Alexa Support may be important to you.

Finding The Best Mesh Wi-Fi System For Your Home

When you’re looking for a Wi-Fi mesh system for your home, you want to make sure that the system you’re looking at can cover a large area. By large I mean at least 3,000 square feet. A good Mesh Wi-Fi system should be able to connect devices in most, if not all the rooms in your home, as well as in your yard or garage.

When selecting a Mesh Wi-Fi system you want to focus on the features and specs offered. Some of the numbers you’ll see will most likely be exaggerated but they still serve as a good way to compare the capabilities of one system to another.

The most important features of a Mesh Wi-Fi system include:

  1. The number of devices that can be connected simultaneously. This number is usually much higher than you’ll find with traditional wireless routers. For example, the xxxx claims it’s capable of connecting to 150 devices!
  2. The range of the network. This is usually listed in terms of square feet. A good Mesh Wi-Fi system will support 3,000 to 5,000 square feet.
  3. How easy it is to set up. The great thing about Mesh Wi-Fi systems is they are so easy to set up. If you can use a smartphone you can set up a Mesh network in your home.
  4. The cost of the system. Mesh systems can be expensive. In our opinion, the Mesh Wi-Fi systems in the $400 – $600 range are overkill. There are some excellent mesh systems such as the Deco Mesh M5 that can be had for as little as $150.

Once you have determined what features are important to you, look at reviews of specific mesh systems to find one that suits your needs.

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TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi Review

Best Value 1 TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi Review
More details +
TP-Link Deco Mesh M5 – Big Bang For Your Buck
TP-Link has been sneaking up on the world of home Wi-Fi with high-quality yet affordable home networking products for several years now. They did it again with their Deco Mesh Wi-Fi System. The Deco M5s feature set, excellent performance, QOS, parental controls, and built-in antivirus and malware protection make it an excellent value.
Rating
9
PROS:
  • Throughput performance
  • Intuitive QOS and Parental Controls
  • Built-in anti-virus and malware protection
  • Easy setup with the mobile app.
CONS:
  • No web interface – phone app only.
  • No USB ports
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TP-Link AX3000 Deco Mesh x55 Review

Editor Choice 2 TP-Link Deco AX3000 WiFi 6 Mesh System(Deco X55) - Covers up to 6500 Sq.Ft. , Replaces Wireless Router and Extender, 3 Gigabit ports per unit, supports Ethernet Backhaul (3-pack)
More details +
Awesome Coverage Up To 6,500 sq. ft.
TP-Link’s Deco Mesh x55 router is a great option for those looking for a low-cost, high-performance mesh networking solution. The router has a comprehensive range of features, including support for 802.11 ac and n, multiple band radios, and rapid MIMO technology. It also has an intuitive user interface and a variety of security options.
PROS:
  • Speed and Range
  • Design
  • Easy setup
CONS:
  • No USB
  • No built-in VPN
  • Full-featured parental controls and security require a subscription.
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Netgear Orbi Tri Band RBK50 Mesh Wi-Fi Review

Best Seller 3 Netgear Orbi Tri Band RBK50 Mesh Wi-Fi Review
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Don't Mesh With It
The Netgear Orbi RBK50 was once the bully on the block. It was big, powerful, and expensive. Prices have come down since then but it’s still one of the best mesh systems on the market. Despite its unusual size and shape, it managed to find its way into a lot of households due to its power and simplicity. If you have a lot of square footage to cover and don’t want to spend a lot of time tinkering and re-configuring the Netgear Orbi is well worth the cost.
Rating
9.5
PROS:
  • Awesome performance
  • Dedicated 3rd band technology
  • MU-MIMO
  • The Option of mobile app or browser setup
CONS:
  • Size
  • Pricey
  • USB 2.0 port
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Netgear Orbi RBK752 Mesh Wi-Fi Review

4 Netgear Orbi RBK752 Mesh Wi-Fi Review
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Toned Down Version Of Netgears RBK852
The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 RBK852 may be one of the fastest home WiFi Mesh systems in existence but they weren’t exactly flying off the shelves because of the $600 price tag. Netgear recognized this and removed some of the excess overkill from its flagship model and toned things down a bit with the RBK752. The RBK752 has slightly less power than it’s big brother but it’s still extremely fast and offers great range. It has more than enough power to cover a 5,000 sq. ft. home.
Rating
9
PROS:
  • Superfast
  • Excellent mobile app
  • Plenty of Ethernet ports
CONS:
  • No Parental Controls
  • No QoS
  • Expensive
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Is Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi Review

5 Is Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi Review
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Still A Top Performer
Eero was one of the first companies to incorporate Mesh technology that was already popular in commercial environments into a whole-home WiFi system. The 2nd Generation Eero Pro Home WiFi System is an improvement on its predecessor. The new system features a 3rd radio band, a smaller footprint, more powerful hardware, and MU-MIMO support.
Rating
8.5
PROS:
  • Intuitive mobile app
  • MU-MIMO support
  • Solid performer
  • Nice design
CONS:
  • Pricey
  • Malware protection requires a subscription.
  • No QoS settings.
  • No USB ports

Top Five Mesh Systems

  • Product
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TP-Link Deco AX3000 WiFi 6 Mesh System(Deco X55) - Covers up to...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: January 15, 2023 11:16 pm
$184.99 $279.99

The TP-Link Deco X55 is probably one of the best values you find in Mesh Networking. The TP-Link AX3000 X55 mesh system is a strong and affordable option for those searching for a user-friendly router that provides a good range. It was built with the objective of offering easy-to-use in shared environments such as apartments or offices, by providing users with the ability to make and manage networks easier.

TP-Link Deco Mesh X55 Full Review

Editor Choice
2
TP-Link AX3000 Deco Mesh x55 Review
Deal
The TP-Link AX3000 Deco Mesh x55 router is a powerful and affordable option for those looking for an easy-to-use router that offers a good range. It has been designed with a focus on improving …
  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

TP-Link Deco Mesh WiFi System(Deco M5) –Up to 5,500 sq. ft. Whole...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: January 15, 2023 11:16 pm
$139.99 $189.99

The TP-Link Deco Mesh M5 Plus is a great wifi mesh system for people looking for a high-quality mesh system at a budget price. homes the Deco M5 is easy to set up and comes with easy-to-follow instructions and an extremely intuitive smartphone app. Finally, the system has received many positive reviews from users who are happy with its performance and value for the price.

TP-Link Deco M5 Full Review

Best Value
1
TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi Review
Deal
TP-Link Deco Mesh routers are designed to provide high-bandwidth performance and seamless mesh networking for homes and small businesses. The routers use the latest Wi-Fi 5GHz technology, which …

3. Netgear Orbi RBK50

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  • Features
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NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with 3Gbps Speed (RBK50)...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: January 15, 2023 11:16 pm
$131.92 $279.99

The Netgear Orbi RBK50 is another Tri-Band mesh system that’s more affordable than its big brother the RBK752. It’s perfect for homes that have large areas including patios and garages that need to be covered as well. The system has a coverage area of 5,000 sq. ft., meaning that no one should have an excuse not to be connected to the Wi-Fi. Additionally, the Netgear Orbi system is one of the easiest systems to set up, requiring just a few minutes to get started.

Netgear Orbi RBK50 Full Review

Best Seller
1
Netgear Orbi Tri Band RBK50 Mesh Wi-Fi Review
Deal
The Netgear Orbi Tri Band RBK50 is a 802.11ax mesh network system that uses three Gigabit Ethernet ports to create a fast and reliable connection for your whole home. With a range of up to …

4. Eero Pro

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Amazon eero Pro mesh WiFi system (1 Pro + 2 Beacons) -...

Last update was on: January 15, 2023 11:16 pm

The Eero Pro Wi-Fi Mesh System is perfect for homes with multiple rooms and floors. The system has a massive coverage area of 5,500 sq. ft., meaning that everyone in your home will be able to connect to the wifi. Additionally, the Eero system is extremely easy to set up, with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. Yes, it’s pricey but the Eero system comes with a 2-year warranty, making it a reliable investment.

Eero Pro Full Review

0
Is Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi Review
Deal
Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System is a powerful, reliable, and easy-to-use broadband router that promises to provide strong signal coverage in your home. Unlike other routers that use a single antenna, …

5. Netgear Orbi RBK752

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-band Mesh WiFi 6 System (RBK752) – Router...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: January 15, 2023 11:16 pm
$249.99 $449.99

The Netgear Orbi RBK752 is still on top of many people’s lists when it comes to Mesh Wi-Fi systems. The RBK752 is a Tri-Band system that can maintain connections to up to 64 devices and can cover an area of up to 5,000 square feet. Another great feature is its ability to connect smart home devices such as lights and thermostats. Despite its high price, it’s still a popular option due to its high quality and performance.

Netgear Orbi RBK752 Full Review

0
Netgear Orbi RBK752 Mesh Wi-Fi Review
Deal
The Netgear Orbi RBK752 is a powerful mesh router that is perfect for large homes or multi-floor residences. With its ability to connect up to 64 devices, this router is perfect for families that …

Mesh Wi-Fi Setup – Video

What Are The Alternatives To Mesh Wi-Fi?

The first time you heard of Mesh Wi-Fi you probably thought it sounded like the perfect solution for your large home. Then you saw the price tag on one of the top-of-the-line WiFi Mesh systems. The initial sticker shock may have driven you to a cheaper solution such as Powerline or Wi-Fi Extenders. Those solutions may work or they may not work.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all three ways of extending your network. In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to cover the ins and outs of each and why you may end up going with mesh even after spending money on those cheaper solutions. Before we dive into the advantages of Mesh let’s look at the cheaper alternatives.

Are Extenders The Answer?

There are some very good extenders out there and there are some bad ones. Before we place blame on individual extenders let’s take a look at how they work to better understand their limitations. An extender is basically a very basic wireless router with a few tweaks. In fact, some wireless routers come with a built-in “Extender mode” which basically turns them into wireless extenders.

The concept is simple. You connect the extender to your existing wireless network and walk it to the edge of your coverage area. The extender then rebroadcasts the signal into the remote area of your house. If you’re only trying to connect one or two devices in a remote location you should be good. 

You can run into problems if the extender only has one band and has to connect to the base router and its WiFi clients simultaneously. This is twice the work and ends up slowing your connection speed way down. As much as one-half of your bandwidth can be lost by putting the extender through all this extra work.

“OK!” you may be thinking. “What if we get an extender with two bands and we use one band to connect to the base router and the other band to connect to the clients?” Brilliant! Yes, this does help the signal out a great deal but the extenders processor is still working double duty playing “man in the middle” and that tends to slow things down a bit. Then there is the phenomenon known as “stickiness.” 

What About Powerline?

As crazy and dangerous as it sounds Powerline is actually pretty ingenious – if the conditions are right. Basically Powerline turns the electrical wiring in your home into a wired network. Don’t worry the devices themselves are designed to prevent any electrical shock.

You set a Powerline network up by connecting the first powerline device to your wireless router and syncing it to your home network. Then you plug it into an AC wall outlet. Once that’s done you can (theoretically) walk the other Powerline adapter to the area of your home that needs WiFi and plug it into an AC wall outlet as well.

If all goes well the signal should transmit through the electrical wiring in your home from the first adapter to the second. The remote adapter will usually give you the options of Ethernet and Wifi connectivity. 

The caveat with Powerline is the quality of the wiring in your home. If you have an older home the wiring may not provide a good quality connection. If you have more than one fuse box you could have separate circuits in your home and the signal may or may not be able to jump from one circuit to the other.

To Mesh Or Not To Mesh?

Wi-Fi Extenders and Powerline are valid options. Unfortunately, both methods have their limitations. You can lose as much as half your bandwidth with extenders and Powerline performance is limited to the quality of the wiring in your home. Then there’s the issue of multiple SSIDs in your home. Most devices are not smart enough to break free from a poor connection and hop on to a closer, stronger one so you have to manually disconnect and reconnect when roaming with a mobile device.

Note: Some mesh nodes use mesh networking technology and others use a dedicated 3rd band to communicate with each other. Understanding all the technical details of this distinction is not necessary.

The bottom line is a Mesh Wi-Fi system:

  • Can be set up in a few minutes with an easy-to-use mobile app.
  • Allows for larger coverage areas with stronger connections.
  • Provides seamless roaming and one SSID.

Unfortunately, Mesh is also:

  • Expensive. Prices are coming down though.

Setting up a Mesh system allows you to make the layout of your home work with you instead of against you. You know the areas of your home that need WiFi signal the most and Mesh gives you the flexibility to arrange the placement of your Mesh satellites to your best advantage. 

Why Is Mesh So Expensive?

What exactly makes mesh so special and why is it so expensive? You may have noticed that the most expensive wireless routers out there are the “Tri-Band” routers. That’s because the extra radios and the processor power needed to handle them cost money. Each node on a typical mesh network is essentially a Tri-Band router.

One is for 2.4GHz communication, another is for the 5GHz band and the third band is where the magic happens. The third band in a mesh node maintains communication with all the other nodes. If a node drops off the network the third band automatically configures the remaining nodes to pick up the slack.

It also tracks where all the devices are to ensure they seamlessly connect to the node with the strongest signal. Not only does a mesh network do much more than a standard wireless router it simplifies the setup process to the point where virtually anyone can have a fully functional mesh network set up in their home in a matter of minutes. 

How Much Is This Going To Cost Me?

Typical Mesh Wi-Fi systems run between $300-$500 but there are some new kids on the block that provide good value for around $200. We try to cover the entire price range on this site. Good WiFi should be out of no one’s reach. As mesh technology becomes more commonplace prices will come down. Some day all WiFi may be mesh and the typical WiFi router you find in most homes today may seem “old-fashioned.”

Some examples of the opposite ends of the price spectrum are the Netgear Orbi 6 AX which costs as much as $500 and supports the new, superfast AX protocol, and the TP-Link Deco M5 system that sports excellent performance and some high-end features for less than $150. Filling the gaps between these two systems are the (In ascending order) Linksys Velop Tri-BandOrbi Tri-Band RBK50, and the Eero Pro which range between $250 and $400. 

What’s In The Box?

Most mesh systems come with at least 2 nodes – one main router and one or more satellite nodes. Both the main router and satellite nodes will usually have at least one Ethernet port for printers or even a switch to connect multiple wired devices. Unlike routers and extenders mesh nodes won’t have a lot of flashing lights and gaudy antennas sticking out from them. They are designed to blend in and even compliment most decors.

Technically speaking each node is a router in and of itself complete with 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Many support advanced features such as MU-MIMO, Beamforming, and even basic QoS. QoS will usually be in the form of “device prioritization” which allows you to specify which node receives the most bandwidth.

Buzzwords You Should Know

Satellite

The two types of devices you’ll find in the box your Mesh system comes in are the main router and one or more “satellites.” The main router takes the place of your current WiFI router. It connects directly to your modem and usually has its own Ethernet ports for wired network devices.

A satellite usually looks almost identical to the main router but its function is to catch and redistribute WiFi signals to devices and other satellites. Many satellites will also have built-in Ethernet ports.

Node

A “node” is simply a network device. In Geek Speak the word “node” is commonly used to describe a client device on a network. A client device is simply a network device that receives services from a server such as DNS, DHCP, or printing. In the case of Mesh, a network node receives its network connection from the main router. 

Affiliate Disclosure

Jerry Jones (WiFi Guy) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” – Jerry Jones

Affiliate Disclosure

Jerry Jones (WiFi Guy) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” – Jerry Jones

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