Eliminate dead spots in your Wi-Fi with these mesh router kits
Mesh Wi-Fi kits are a popular way for people to rid their homes of network dead spots. Whether you have a large place or a small place with thick walls, connecting a few satellite Wi-Fi points to a main router will spread the signal evenly. Why not just grab an extender or a more powerful router? You certainly can, but extenders don’t usually work in unison, and powerful routers can be just as expensive as one of these mesh kits. If you’re interested in setting up a mesh network, here are the standouts of the current mesh network kits on offer.
Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD
Ubiquiti’s AmpliFi HD not only has the best-looking main router on this list with a large touch display, but it also offers excellent range and throughput for a large home, especially when connected to a couple of mesh points. We saw strong performance across the 2.4GHz (up to 450Mbps) and 5GHz (up to 1,300Mbps) bands, helped along by three spatial streams and three antennas.
TP-Link Deco M5
Staff budget pick
Considering you get a three-pack of Deco nodes at this price, it’s likely the best option for anyone who wants to save some money but nevertheless has a large space to cover in Wi-Fi. The Deco M5 offers speeds up to 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band, and Ethernet backhaul is an option thanks to Ethernet ports on all nodes.
Plenty of Ethernet ports
NETGEAR Orbi RBK50
The Orbi RBK50 is a great mesh Wi-Fi choice for any large home with a lot of wired devices, as the router has three and the satellite has four free Ethernet ports at your disposal. Wired backhaul is an option for better performance, but there’s also a dedicated 5GHz band for wireless backhaul. Enjoy theoretical speeds up to 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio and 866Mbps on the 5GHz radio, and enjoy MU-MIMO connectivity for your modern devices.
The Eero offers a sleek, minimalist design, and it can be had in a number of configurations. Three Eeros offer maximum performance and wired backhaul, but for lighter networks, an Eero and a beacon or two is a better wireless solution that nevertheless offers a dedicated 5GHz radio for backhaul traffic. Beamforming improves reception, MU-MIMO capabilities serve your modern devices, and you get real-world speeds up to 240Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio and 600Mbps on the 5GHz radio.
Start small and expand
A single Google Wifi router should be enough for a small home, meaning you can start simple and build a mesh network as you need it by adding more pieces in the future. Wired backhaul is supported but not necessary, and each Wi-Fi point includes two Ethernet ports. Beamforming capabilities help extend range, and you get theoretical speeds of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio and 867Mbps on the 5GHz radio.
Mix and match colors
The tri-band Velop, especially with three or more nodes (the network is easily expandable), can cover a lot of space without sacrificing much performance. Wired backhaul is supported, and the Velop will also choose one of its three radios for wireless backhaul to keep performance smooth. MU-MIMO connectivity provides uninterrupted service to your modern devices, and you get two 5GHz radios with theoretical speeds up to 867Mbps each and a 2.4GHz radio up to 400Mbps.
If we’re making some suggestions
All of the above mesh Wi-Fi kits can and will extend your network into the hard-to-reach spots of your home better than a standard router, but you might still be wondering just where to start.
We love what the Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD has to offer when it comes to style, performance, and range. Those with a large house can definitely benefit here with the main router and two nodes, as our friends at Windows Central saw far better speeds at range with the AmpliFi HD than with a standard router. There is no wireless backhaul option with the standard tower nodes, but you can also set up a mesh network using multiple main routers, which can be purchased on their own. Bandsteering keeps devices on the radio that offers the best speed and range, and everything can be controlled with either the router touchscreen or intuitive app.
If you’d rather not spend as much on a mesh Wi-Fi system, TP-Link’s Deco M5 brings a three-node setup for a relatively affordable price. You still get excellent performance across 2.4 and 5GHz radios, and thanks to Ethernet ports on all nodes, wired backhaul is an option for improved performance. TP-Link says this setup is good for about 5,500 square feet, so if you have a large home with plenty of people living in it, you should immediately benefit from what the Deco M5 has to offer.