Wireless internet has become an integral part of our lives. Whether for personal or professional purposes, having good Wi-Fi is essential to keeping you connected and your life flowing smoothly. This is especially true when you need good wireless capabilities.
As you’re probably aware, wireless signals do not pass through walls and ceilings very well. In fact, the further you are from your router, the weaker the signal is going to be. This often poses a problem in large homes, as the modem and router are often quite a ways from upstairs bedrooms.
When you’re dealing with internet in the workplace, the problem is compounded. Let’s use a hospital as an example. It’s very important for doctors and nurses to be able to connect to the internet to access local cloud data, transmit data, connect with customers and a myriad of other activities. Hopsitals are typically large buildings, with several floors and dozens or hundreds of rooms. A single wireless router is not going to blanket the building in wireless internet.
Note that there are a few products from our WiFi Router article only because some routers come as part of an integrated Wi-Fi mesh system.
How Does Wi-Fi Mesh Networking System Work?
In the past, wireless boosters have been used with Wifi Routers to enhance tour router signal and improve performance. However, while boosters extend the signal, they do not spread it as effectively as you might hope, and wireless signals still struggle to pass through physical obstacles.
This is where mesh wireless receivers come in. They intercept the wireless signals from your router and convert it a mesh blanket, dramatically increasing the effective range of your Wi-Fi. There’s no limit to how many you can install, either. You could install two mesh receivers in critical locations or blanket a large commercial office with eight or ten of them.
Wireless mesh systems are relatively inexpensive and are an excellent way to expand your internet coverage in your home or office. If you’re tired of sluggish internet performance and are looking for better wireless reception, Wi-Fi mesh systems are the answer. Get rid of your old wireless router, and upgrade to the future.
Not all wireless mesh systems are made equal. They all have different abilities, and some are more powerful than others. Here are some things to consider before you invest in one model over another.
Coverage is perhaps the single most important thing to consider when you’re buying a Wi-Fi mesh system. The main draw in purchasing wireless mesh is the improved coverage, after all. Although coverage area is critical, it should not be your only basis for comparison, however.
2. Modem and Router
One thing that’s important to remember is that Wi-Fi mesh systems come with their own router. This is because mesh systems distribute wireless signals differently than standard routers. They still require a modem, however, so modem/router combos will not work well with Wi-Fi mesh systems.
3. LAN ports
One of the benefits of mesh systems is that mesh hubs typically come with LAN ports for direct internet connections. As you may know, Ethernet connections provide a better internet connection, which is ideal for online gaming. Because of this, you can easily set up a gaming system in a room and still plug it in directly to your cable internet.
4. Number of Units
The number of units in your mesh system has a lot to do with coverage, but it is a separate consideration, as different brands offer different areas of coverage. What’s important to note is that you only need one unit for the mesh to work, but there is no limit to how many you can implement in your home or office.
Just like modems and wireless routers, the price of Wi-Fi mesh systems can vary dramatically. When it comes to price, it’s important to see how many hubs are included in your purchase.
As new as mesh Wi-Fi networks are, there are a lot of great options for you to choose from. Out of them, two stand out above the rest, with the Ubiquiti Labs’ AmpliFI HD being the clear victor. It’s tri-band frequencies, excellent coverage and amazing data transfer speeds are all far above the competition.
It’s always nice to have multiple options to fit your budget, and the TP-Link Deco M5 Wi-Fi System provides an alternative to Luma Home WiFi for a comparable price. The Deco M5 Wi-Fi System can help you say goodbye to buffering and put an end to those nasty dead zones.
One of the most notable differences between the Deco M5 and Luma Home is the area coverage. Where each Luma unit covers approximately 1000 square feet, Deco M5 covers 1500 square feet. Thus, a three-pack mesh system from TP-Link offers 50% more coverage for roughly the same cost.
Superior coverage isn’t everything, of course, but TP-Link doesn’t slack off in other departments either. Internet security isn’t one of them, however, and the Deco M5 offers superior anti-virus and malware protection. Deco M5 doesn’t just protect your computer, however – it protects all of your wireless smart devices.
The Deco M5 offers an array of parental controls at your fingertips. You can set your individual networks to Pre-K, Child, Teen and Adult, and you can even designate block certain types of websites, no matter what the age restriction? Is your teenager grounded from Facebook? Restrict access to all social networks on your teen network, and the M5 will impose your grounding for you.
There are more features as well. Optimized bandwidth, guest networking, speed tests – there’s too much to mention. Perhaps most impressive is its ability to expand. A single unit covers 1800 square feet and the three-pack covers 4500. You can expand your mesh network to nine units, blanketing some 13,500 square feet with seamless network access. It’s hard to argue with that.
The Deco M5 gives you up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz and up to 400 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, which isn’t as much if you’re a hardcore gamer, but it does the job for an average internet user.
You could almost say the brand name Securifi is a compound word. By fusing together “security” and Wi-Fi,” the company is letting you know what they value most in a Wi-Fi internet: strong protection from outside threats. Fortunately, the Securifi Almond 3 is able to deliver on these promises.
The first thing you’ll notice about Securifi Almond is how easy it is to set up. This is true of most mesh systems, and I haven’t really mentioned it before, but it’s especially true here. You don’t need to access a computer to activate Securifi either.
The security protocols are pretty great, up to and including a security warning that alerts you to potential threats, a feature that is especially helpful in a professional environment.
As far as wireless coverage goes, however, the Almond 3 is not as capable as many other models. Each satellite covers approximately 1300 square feet, allowing three satellites to cover just less than 4000 square feet. While by no means the worst performance, it stops the Almond 3 from getting full marks.
Side note: Where the Securifi does receive full marks is in its ability to act as a hub for your smart home. Most Wi-Fi mesh systems are just that – mesh systems. They provide internet coverage, but depend on an external smart hub, such as Amazon Echo or Samsung SmartThings to coordinate your Internet of Things. You will have better success buying a dedicated smart hub, but for those who aren’t convinced of the value of a smart hub, the Almond 3 can serve as an excellent introduction.
This mesh system blocks unknown devices and lets you set WiFi curfews with parental controls. It offers up to 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4G Hz band.
Most tech experts agree that WiFi mesh network systems are the future of wireless internet. In fact, it’s entirely possible that they will replace wireless routers and range extenders in the next decade. The Luma Whole Home WiFi System is available individually or in packs of two and three. This review is focused on the three-pack.
For those who opt for a single WiFi hub, it is connected to your modem just like a router. The difference is that it blankets the area in wireless signals, providing coverage without annoying dead zones and frustrating buffering. Each unit is rated for 1000 square feet, so a single pack is perfect for a studio apartment or small office space.
Most users, however, and especially those using Luma for business, will want at least three mesh hubs, if not more – one of the great things about these systems is you can buy as few or many as you want! The three-pack covers up to 3000 square feet, and the difference in coverage between this and a standard wireless router – even with range extenders – is noticeable. While some routers are better at sending signals than others, none can match the thorough coverage of a wireless mesh.
Luma Whole Home WiFi does more than just improve your internet connection.; it provides valuable protection from harmful computer viruses! Luma is equipped with anti-virus and malware protection software. While it is never a good idea to leave your computer unprotected, these virus protection programs act as an initial defense against unwanted invasions.
That’s not all Luma can do, either. You can set up multiple user accounts on your network, with password protection to restrict access. You can also assign parental ratings to all of your networks, ensuring your kids won’t accidentally stumble upon inappropriate or harmful content.
There’s more. It has a built-in Serious security feature, which automatically scans and fights viruses and malware, keeping your devices and your network safe. You can control your internet access remotely, with Amazon Alexa. Also, it gives you 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, as well as 400 Mbps on the 2.4G Hz band.
Luma Home WiFi isn’t the best mesh network system out there. There are other systems that offer considerably more coverage than Luma. This doesn’t necessarily make Luma an inferior system, however. You get what you pay for, of course, but with Luma you’re paying for an excellent product.
If you were ever looking for a mesh router that has a big coverage. Look no further. Google Nest Wifi Mesh Router is a 2-pack mesh system that gives you excellent top speeds and is extremely easy to use.
The simple Google Home app lets you power the mesh system in just 10 minutes and lets the signal cover up to 4,400 square feet of your home. The router does not have a built-in speaker, but you can control the devices with your voice through the unit with Google Assistant.
Although it doesn’t support WiFi 6, you can prioritize the traffic coming to the other devices in your Smart Home system. So, if you’re gaming online or watching a 4K video, the Nest Wifi Mesh will give you faster speeds while restricting speeds to nonessential devices.
Unlike most Wifi mesh network systems, you won’t see Nest separating the stronger 5 GHz band from the slower 2.4 GHz band. It will switch the two, depending on where you are in the home to give you the best possible signal.
What’s great about it is that you can connect up to 200 devices on it. Considering its compact size, it is powered by a quad-core processor, has 4 GB of Flash memory and 1 GB of RAM, which is a lot for standard use.
The Nest has WAN and LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports on each unit (4 in total.) The 2-pack device updates regularly to give you extra security for your network. Also, there are parental control features you can use to restrict specific content your kids could watch.
Since we’re starting to go on the higher end of the price range, it’s expected that there will be a router mesh system that will offer more features than the previous models on the list. Well, Gryphon Guardian has enough to give you a good WiFi signal while protecting your network.
You can control the 3-pack devices with the help of a smartphone app that is easy to install. Although it comes with malware protection software by ESET, this program is free for only 6 months. After that, expect to pay $79 for another year.
The Gryphon mesh router dual-band system will give you up to 5,000 square feet of signal coverage of up to 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, while you can have 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
What’s best about this system are the parental controls. You can create one profile for each member of your family and set age-appropriate filters. Also, Screen Time Management lets you restrict the time your kid spent online.
The Gryphon Guardian does not excel in the 30-foot signal test, but if your main interest is to easily control what your kids do online and to have a secure network, then this is the mesh system for you.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in long-range wireless mesh coverage, you want the AmpliFi HD Home Wi-Fi System. AmpliFi is rated for a max coverage of up to 20,000 square feet! Naturally, I wasn’t able to test it on an area that large, and I’m not sure if the two mesh transmitters included are sufficient to achieve that range or if more are necessary.
It almost doesn’t matter, however, 20,000 square feet is such an enormous range for a Wi-Fi signal that even if it falls short, it can’t help but beat out the competition anyway.
One nice feature of the AmpliFi is a SmartTouch ability of the mesh router that allows you to see a display of your real-time networking status. AmpliFi works automatically with your router to ensure priority networks and devices are receiving the fastest possible connections.
AmpliFi HD can also help save money on your energy bill. AmpliFi uses BlueTooth Low Energy with all connected devices, helping reduce the power consumption of your personal Internet of Things.
AmpliFi is set up with a built-in firewall to protect you from viruses, Trojans and other malware. It also provides parents with a variety of access controls and monitoring devices, allowing you to see how your kids are using Wi-Fi on their personal devices, and allowing you to restrict access if necessary.
Because of the enormous range available to you, AmpliFi HD is one of the best options for larger businesses and corporations that need to blanket a wide area in wireless mesh. If you need Wi-Fi for home use or for a smaller office, you may be better served by a less ambitious Wi-Fi mesh network system.
This mesh system can offer up to 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
After the AmpliFI system, there’s the Amazon eero Pro. This mesh system improves the WiFi signal in your home and protects your network from malware attacks.
One unit covers up to 1,500 square feet, so this 3-pack should cover up to 4,500 square feet. Moreover, it is powered by a quad-core processor and has 4 GB of Flash memory and 512 MB of RAM.
The most important aspect for some users is the level of security. This mesh router has automatic updates, ensuring you a safe network. Plus, it has easy-to-use parental controls for all worried parents.
As said, this is a 3-pack. You should connect one of the units to your modem, you can rearrange the two units throughout your home. They have 6 Ethernet ports together and you can control them with your voice (Alexa.)
As far as the frequency goes, the device uses either a 5 GHz frequency or the 2.4 GHz frequency, depending on where the units are to boost your signal. Support isn’t as responsive to users’ queries, but other than that, this mesh router is the perfect addition to your home.
With the Orbi (produced by NETGEAR), you have the perfect combination of network speed and useful features.
This tri-band wireless system is hands-down the fastest mesh network system on this list. It can have up to 6 Gbps internet speed, while one router and one satellite cover up to 5,000 square feet. The 1 GB of RAM memory and 512 MB of Flash memory is more than enough to support all your internet needs.
The pack has a 5 x 1 Gbps WAN port in the router and 4 LAN GB Ethernet ports in the satellite. You can connect it to your smart home system with Alexa or Google Assistant.
The Orbi lets you create separate 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks to optimize the traffic on each device. It is perfect if you have to connect it to a dozen different devices in your home.
There are two downsides to this superfast device. The first is that you’ll have to install the Disney Circle app to enable basic parental controls. For more advanced features, you’ll have to pay a subscription.
Another one is the lack of NETGEAR Armor, a malware-fighting software. The previous Orbi version has both the Armor and parental controls, so if your priority is safety rather than speed and connectivity, check out the previous version.
There are so many excellent choices that it may be difficult for you to make a decision. If you still find yourself hesitating, I’d like to direct you back to our editor’s pick. The Ubiquiti Labs’ AmpliFI HD may be the most expensive mesh system, but it also offers the best performance. When you’re running a business, you can’t afford anything but the best.
Disclosure: The product recommendations are not sponsored and are chosen by our editorial staff. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase an item through our links.
Photo Credit: Unsplash