Shootout: The best mesh Wi-Fi system

“The market for consumer grade Wi-Fi routers had been stagnant for more than a decade until a new trend recently swept the industry,” Zach Epstein writes for BGR. “Setting up a wireless network in one’s home used to mean heading out to a local electronics store, buying the cheapest blue Linksys box in the store, and living with spotty coverage. On top of that, those old Wi-Fi routers had all sorts of issues and typically had to be restarted at least once a week — sometimes once a day — because they would slow down to a snail’s pace or stop working completely. It was a nightmare.”

“Fast-forward to recent years, and consumers now have more options than ever when it comes to home Wi-Fi networks. What’s more, technological advancements and increased competition have resulted in massive quality improvements, much better reliability and faster data speeds,” Epstein writes. “The biggest strides that have been made recently have come courtesy of a new wave of mesh networking solutions that claim to improve on every aspect of the home Wi-Fi experience.”

Epstein writes, “We tested all of the top mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market right now…”

• Best overall: AmpliFi HD (consistently faster than any other system we tested)
• Best system for average users: Plume (something that works and that’s simple)
• Honorable mention: Netgear Orbi (remarkably simple to set up… [but] more expensive)

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: While the AmpliFi HD is a strong choice, we picked the eero WiFi System instead because it’s so Apple-esque (fast Wi-Fi, with a quality iOS app, and it just works).

SEE ALSO:
With Eero, you can kiss slow Wi-Fi goodbye forever – February 10, 2017
Mossberg: Eero makes Wi-Fi simpler and stronger – February 23, 2016
The eero home Wi-Fi system is the mesh network solution Apple should’ve made – December 14, 2016
The Amplifi HD is another excellent candidate for an Apple router replacement – December 15, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Chris” for the heads up.]

11 Comments

  1. I really wish Apple had gone into this with a product. Their Time Capsule is kind of iffy. Mine is a little over a year old and I’ve had to redo the backup several times. But I don’t want to trust all my internet traffic to an unknown quantity, or worse, to the likes of DLINK or Google.

    1. Apple did have a variant of this over four years ago. Technically it was hub and spoke rather than a true mesh implementation, but Apple’s variant worked (and still works) very well.

      You could pair multiple Airport Expresses as bridges wirelessly to an Airport Extreme OR you could pair them wired (over up to 100 Mbps Ethernet) to either Airport Extreme or a third party router (a WiFi router or even a straight wired router). Apple’s systems could even do double and triple NAT (network address translation) very straightforwardly when necessary.

      Apple’s systems were very, very easy to setup and manage. All Apple had to do is bring those boxes into the current state of the art. Instead Apple has seemingly decided to abandon that segment all together. It’s just one more piece of the whole ecosystem that is being lost due to the current management’s attitude of, “If it’s not making us huge profits and is not getting us lots of marketing cache then we’re dropping it. (aka, “If it’s not about the bling and the cash then it’s dead.”)

  2. Orbi rocks. Had 4 of the newest airport towers with the 3TB Time Capsule as main hub, because it’s supposedly more robust. Tired of bad coverage. 6500 sq ft home.
    Orbi x 3 and I just realized I don’t need a 4th! These things are strong! 3 radios; one for communicating and other two for the traffic. Really impressed. My garage door opens and closes FAST and alarm sets faster, as well. Speed is faster throughout house and connectivity is amped! Love it. Voice over Wi-fi is stronger and no more dropping words etc on cellular Wi-if calling.

  3. Had two Extreme Base Stations, and was only getting decent coverage.

    Switched to a 3x Eero package, and couldn’t be happier.

    I do, however, miss the ability to hook a drive to one and do Time Machine backups.

    1. Just get a cheap hub and connect your Eero and Time Machine to it via Ethernet. Turn off wifi on the Airport and you can still use it for backups. This is what I do and it’s worked fine.

  4. I have a 4000sqft home and tried both the eero and the Orbi. Both are very easy to setup – although I give the best app to eero. And yes, the euros are very Apple-like. But after testing both the Orbi won in my test. The speeds from the Orbit to the fartherest part of my home are the same as right beside the router downstairs. Twice as fast as the eero. I’m very impressed.

  5. Using the current generation- apparently the last- of the Airport Extreme and have owned Airports from the original UFO. I have never had the problems with any of my Apple WiFi units that they describe.

    Not exactly sure why Apple sees the need to abandon the market when a little investment could grow the business. But I guess if it’s not iOS Tim and Jony have no use for it.

  6. I also have not had any problems with airport base stations (as they were called) since the first one Apple made. Guess we all have to go forward now with non Apple products. Hey, I see some of y’all boys here are not into the Tiny House movement, eh?

  7. Has anybody tried a router capable of reducing channel interference in a local area with a pretty good number of WiFi networks. I contacted Eero about their mesh network and they said channel interference is a tough nut to crack. They didn’t feel their network would help much over traditional dual band routers. I switch to cleaner (less interference) channels every couple of days but others make similar moves on their networks and the game gets old after a while

    Dave

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.