Mesh Wi-Fi systems can be a more flexible and adaptable alternative to a standard Wi-Fi router. The system comprises multiple nodes placed or mounted in crucial spots around a building to create a singular, giant Wi-Fi network accessible from anywhere within range.
If you want a mesh system that adapts to your home and covers up to 5,500 square feet of space, the TP-Link Deco Tri Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 (X68) is the top choice. The AI learning system and convenient companion app make it easy to set up and easily adaptable to various building layouts.
TP-Link makes solid mesh Wi-Fi systems, but the mesh format of building a Wi-Fi network will not work best for everyone. For example, if you play online video games, the faster possible speeds of a direct connection to a wireless router will be preferable. Whether you use a wireless connection or an ethernet cable, regular routers will be the best option if speed is the concern. However, a mesh system can be a better option for getting reliable Wi-Fi coverage over a larger area.
Most TP-Link mesh systems are capable of providing reliable coverage for over 5,000 square feet of space. Using more nodes can help cover a larger area or ensure that walls and other obstructions do not hinder the signal. Depending on your home’s size, you may not need many nodes to create a stable wireless network. Before buying anything, do some measurements and plan out the best spots for mesh Wi-Fi system nodes.
There are few options for style for a mesh system, so consider that you will need spots for multiple nodes that can have reliable connections to outlets. Most of the nodes are not designed to stand out too much, but unlike a singular wireless router, multiple devices need to be in both a central location and have constant power to function. Depending on your home’s layout, this might feel a little limiting.
The best mesh systems have nodes with multiple ethernet ports to connect important devices like computers or gaming systems directly to the home network. A wired connection will be more stable than a wireless one, so this can be very helpful for maintaining your internet connection on key devices.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems can have built-in parental controls that make it easier to manage Wi-Fi access across many devices simultaneously. Instead of implementing parental controls on each device, parents can keep kids safe by managing the single mesh Wi-Fi network.
TP-Link is pretty reliable, but it is important to be aware of the security of your mesh Wi-Fi. Not all mesh systems have the same level of security. The best options have a reliable track record for system security, so do your research before you buy. Mesh Wi-Fi systems that are very low-priced may have problems with security updates that can compromise online user safety.
For under $200, you can find simple mesh Wi-Fi systems that provide a solid connection to a few devices. If you have a huge space to cover with your network or many devices that need to connect, expect to pay over $200 for a mesh system.
A. A wireless router serves as a primary Wi-Fi network, and devices that act as signal extenders or boosters usually require creating a second network for devices to connect. For substantial buildings, it can be better to use a regular wireless router and separate extenders for separate floors, individual apartments and the like. A mesh system serves as the router with a singular Wi-Fi network distributed throughout an apartment or a home. This can make a mesh system a lot easier to set up and manage than multiple separate devices.
A. It depends on the amount of space you want the Wi-Fi network to cover. For a space less than 4,500 square feet, you should not need more than two or three nodes. You could get more nodes for a larger space, but more than six will generally be unnecessary. It is not good to have too many nodes. If you suspect that your nodes are having difficulty communicating with each other, but your devices can connect to the mesh nodes, try connecting the nodes via wires to one another. This can increase the speed of the Wi-Fi connection provided.
What you need to know: This AI-driven mesh system automatically adapts to the environment to optimize the Wi-Fi network for your home’s specific layout.
What you’ll love: The system could hypothetically support up to 150 connected devices simultaneously, perfect for smart home technology and families with many electronic devices that need a Wi-Fi connection at the same time. You can perform this setup via the companion app on a mobile device.
What you should consider: It comes in packs of two units, so if you have an especially large building you need a unified network setup for, it will be pretty expensive.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This affordable option for a mesh system has enough coverage for 5,500 square feet of space and works with Alexa.
What you’ll love: It replaces your Wi-Fi router and extender devices since it serves as both a router and signal extender on its own. Spreading out the units throughout a house or building prevents dead zones. Each of the three included units has two ethernet cable ports for a more stable internet connection.
What you should consider: It will only have voice control capabilities by connecting a compatible Alexa device. Other smart assistants are not compatible, so it would only be convenient for Alexa users.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This affordable entry-level system of three units can cover up to 5,500 square feet of space.
What you’ll love: The under 30-minute setup process can be done through the companion app. If you need the Wi-Fi signal to cover a larger space without speed being a priority, this can provide a slower but reliable connection for a large space. The signal will reach through multiple floors of a building.
What you should consider: If multiple devices try to connect to the same individual unit at once, they can struggle with maintaining Wi-Fi signal quality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.