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- The 5 Best Wi-Fi Mesh Network Systems of 2018 Have you ever struggled to keep an even Wi-Fi signal at your home? A good-quality mesh router is what you need in combination with NetSpot - a highly praised app that helps you check your WiFi coverage before you get a new router and after.
- From Google to Netgear, everyone’s rolling out expensive “Mesh Network” kits that promise to fix Wi-Fi dead zones. But only some people should shell out the $300-$500 for one.
Thread is an IP-based wireless networking protocol providing the best way to connect products in the home. Updated to support mesh networking. Looking for the best deals, numerous Mac.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
- Best Overall: Netgear Orbi at Amazon, 'Boasting lightning-fast throughput speeds.'
- Best for Large Homes: Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Home Wi-Fi System at Amazon, 'Made for large, multi-story houses with dense walls and other obstructions.'
- Best Design:Google Wi-Fi at Amazon, 'Wins our pick for best design not just for its hardware, but its software, too.'
- Best for Simplicity:Asus Lyra System at Amazon, 'Set up to work well with your smart home products.'
- Runner-Up, Best Overall: Linksys Velop Tri-Band AC6600 at Amazon, 'Offering a plethora of features customizable in the mobile app.'
- Best Budget: TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi System at Amazon, 'To save a little money and still reap the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi.'
- Best Security: Gryphon Smart Mesh Wi-Fi System at Amazon, 'Incorporating AI-based intrusion detection and Malware protection by ESET.'
- Best for Smart Homes: Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi at Amazon, 'Takes the synergy a step further by serving as both a mesh Wi-Fi network and smart home hub.'
- Runner-Up, Best Design:Tenda Nova Whole-Home Wireless Router System at Amazon, 'Giving you a near-invincible connection to your Wi-Fi system.'
- Best Parental Controls: Luma Whole Home Wi-Fi at Amazon, 'Including a handy Pause feature that lets you freeze Internet access across the whole network.”
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Netgear Orbi
A name synonymous with Wi-Fi, Netgear takes the top spot on the list with its Orbi High-Performance AC3000, which offers 5,000 square feet of coverage.
Complete with an identical router and satellite, the Orbi system boasts lightning fast throughput speeds, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming and a number of customizable features. It’s a tri-band system with six internal antennas and can deliver throughputs speeds of 1,266Mbps (400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 866Mbps on the 5GHz band). Its additional 5GHz band communicates solely between the router and the satellite and hits speeds up to 1,733Mbps. At the base of the router, there are three Gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port and a USB 2.0 port, meanwhile the satellite has four Gigabit LAN ports and a USB 2.0 port, which give you stellar connectivity options.
Best for Large Homes: Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Home Wi-Fi System
Of Ubiquiti’s devices, the AmpliFi HD is the most robust. Made for large, multi-story houses with dense walls and other obstructions, this device uses six high-density, long-range antennas to cover up to a whopping 20,000 square feet. (Don’t worry, the antennas are internal, so it keeps a sleek aesthetic.) The system consists of a router and two plug-in mesh points which, while rather large, are nearly works of modern art. The front of the router has a beautiful full-color LCD touch screen that displays the time and date, and you can tap the screen to reveal stats such as current Internet speeds (upload and download), router and WAN IP addresses, as well as current throughput speeds.
The router houses a single-core CPU, 802.11ac circuitry that supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands and delivers up to 5.25Gbps aggregate speed. Similar to other systems, the AmpliFi HD has a mobile app that lets you manage settings, but it also uniquely allows you to segregate its two radio bands and have separate SSIDs, letting you manage traffic more easily. Unfortunately, there are no parental controls on this unit, but most won’t find that to be a deal breaker.
Find out how to build and maintain the best home network and check out our list of the best wireless routers.
Best Design: Google Wi-Fi
Leave it to Google to design the best-looking anything. Its Wi-Fi system is no exception. The set contains three satellites, which Google call “Wi-Fi points,” each of which covers 1,500 square feet, for a grand total of 4,500 square feet of blanketed coverage. The points are shaped like thick hockey pucks and sit beautifully in plain view. Unfortunately, they lack USB ports, which mean you can’t connect peripherals.
Each point houses a quad-core Arm CPU, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of eMMC flash memory, plus AC1200 (2X2) 802.11ac and 802.11s (mesh) circuitry and a Bluetooth radio. Google combines its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands into a single band, which means you can’t designate a device to a single band, but on the upside, it uses beamforming technology, which automatically routes devices to the strongest signal.
Google Wi-Fi wins our pick for best design not just for its hardware, but its software, too. The accompanying app (for Android or iOS) is intuitive and lets you manage the status of your points, as well as set up guest networks, test speeds, port forwarding and more. Unfortunately, there are no parental controls, but regardless, Google Wi-Fi will get your household online quickly and easily.
Best for Simplicity: Asus Lyra System
The Asus Lyra system comes with three receiver hubs, much like the others on the list, and it links them all under one Wi-Fi name. They’ve built the tech into them to automatically switch you between hubs as you move out of range of one and into the range of another. The system also operates with three separate bands, that way it’ll take you longer to lose connectivity due to bandwidth restrictions. You can have your game systems taking up one band, your general Internet use taking up another and another band can tackle your business purposes. They’re all 802.11AC routers offering you up to 2,134 mbps in transfer speeds.
There’s a proprietary, commercial-grade encryption and protection provided by Asus’s AiProtection tech, and there are additional security options that allow you to set up parental controls. Finally, it’s connected and controllable via an Asus app that is set up to work well with your smart home products, so it’ll be a great addition to any tech-forward household.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Linksys Velop Tri-Band AC6600
The Linksys Velop Tri-band AC6600 consists of three sleek white nodes that are each roughly the size of a Jenga tower and good-looking enough to sit on display rather than be tucked away. Each node covers 2,000 square feet, together covering a 6,000-square-foot home, so this is a great option if you have a large home. (If you don’t need such vast coverage, you can purchase nodes individually.)
Each node is an AC2200 router that delivers up to 400Mbps maximum speeds on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands. Velop is one of the few systems that supports Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming, which translates to faster throughput speeds. It also offers a plethora of features customizable in the mobile app, including parental controls, device prioritization and guest networking.
Best Budget: TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi System
If you want to save a little money and still reap the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi, the TP-Link Deco M5 is perfect. Setup is quick and easy via the downloadable smartphone app. Utilizing Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, the hardware quickly connects to your smart device. It should take less than 10 minutes to be up and running. Once set up, the two-pack can establish a signal that hits nearly every corner of your home or office — up to 3,800 square feet. Within the square footage, the system can keep up to 100 devices connected at the same time.
Ideal for internet plans up to 500Mbps in speed, the system uses Adaptive Routing Technology to find the best connection for each device. Beamforming and MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output technology) also serve to increase signal strength. Connecting via Ethernet cable, each unit offers two-gigabit Ethernet ports, USB-C power, and an LED indicator for device status. Those with small kids also appreciate the system's built-in parental controls. By creating individual profiles for each user, parents can set filters, time limits, and block websites they don't want their children accessing.
Best Security: Gryphon Smart Mesh Wi-Fi System
As it keeps all security vulnerabilities out, the Gryphon Smart Mesh Wi-Fi system is well worth its price tag. Today, everything from light bulbs to cameras to washing machines is connected online. Each connected device creates a security threat and that’s where the Gryphon comes. Incorporating AI-based intrusion detection and Malware protection by ESET, Gryphon keeps an eye on all your electronics. Active malware filtering of incoming data streams alongside enterprise-grade security keep unwanted files and websites out. If a security threat is detected, the concerning device is quarantined off the network until resolved.
Managing of all this protection is the Gryphon smartphone app. The app allows any owner to view currently connected devices and browsing history. The app also assists with the plug and go setup that gets you online within minutes. Additionally, the smartphone app includes parental controls for creating a safe browsing environment for kids. Each Gryphon unit can cover up to 3,000 square feet of network coverage. Two synced Gryphon units create a true mesh network system for up to 6,000 square feet of connectivity.
Looking for something with great security? Check out our roundup of the best secure routers.
Best for Smart Homes: Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi
Mesh Wi-Fi, unlike range extenders, makes a lot of sense if you have many smart home devices throughout the house that need a constant internet connection. The Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi takes the synergy a step further by serving as both a mesh Wi-Fi network and smart home hub all in one. With Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi, you can use the SmartThings app to control any of 100+ compatible devices like lights, doorbells, thermostats, cameras, and of course any SmartThings products you may have. You can also use voice commands from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and set up automated routines for when you wake up or leave the house.
A set of three SmartThings routers provides 4,500 square feet of coverage, and you can add up to 32 hubs. Each unit is a dual-band 802.11ac router, rated for 866Mbps speeds on the 5GHz band and 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Its performance doesn’t match other top-quality options, but this iteration of Samsung’s mesh Wi-Fi system also incorporates Plume adaptive Wi-Fi technology. The cloud-based control system uses artificial intelligence to continuously learn about your network and optimize performance. Besides recognizing which devices need the most capacity, this lets you monitor and personalize individual device/user access, such as for kids or guests.
Runner-Up, Best Design: Tenda Nova Whole-Home Wireless Router System
Mesh Network Wifi
Offering up to 6,000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage, this system from Tenda is great for large homes (though it might struggle for medium-sized offices). Much like the rest of the systems on the list, this one will seamlessly connect as one Wi-Fi network, but it uses a really unique technology to help focus those connections to stay connected to all your devices at once. That tech is called Wave2 MU-MIMO alongside Tenda’s equally cool beamforming technology, which focus-transmits power to the devices in the room, giving you a near-invincible connection to your Wi-Fi system.
They’ve also included a network optimization technology that maintains the integrity of the system, even when one unit goes down. If you disconnect to one unit, then it’ll automatically search and find the nearest available one. Plus it’s been designed to require no special setup, offering you plug-and-play simplicity with an easy-to-understand LED status indicator.
You may also want to take a look at our pickings for the best long-range routers.
Best Parental Controls: Luma Whole Home Wi-Fi
Fast and simple Wi-Fi sounds like a blessing, but if you have a home full of kids, you know it can also be dangerous. Luckily, the Luma comes stocked with great parental controls, so you don’t have to worry about what your kiddos are up to. In the settings, accessed through the mobile app (no desktop support, sorry!), you can set a content filter policy using five rating levels: Unrestricted, R-rated, PG-13, PG and G. You can then add users and specify their access level. There’s also a handy Pause feature that lets you freeze Internet access across the whole network.
Beyond parental controls, the Luma offers solid performance, thanks to its three modules that each contain an 802.11ac router, a quad-core processor and two radio bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz). They are AC1200 routers with a max speed of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. Its automatic band steering directs traffic to the most efficient band, giving you the fastest speeds. Overall, it’s a hassle-free way to get your Wi-Fi up and running that still lets you maintain control over the kids.
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 166 hours testing four of the most popular mesh Wi-Fi networks available. They set them up, connected multiple devices, and surfed the Web to see how strong their Internet connection was. We asked them to consider the most important features when using these systems and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Mesh Wi-Fi Network
Speed - Mesh networks promise faster speeds than traditional routers — up to 1,733Mbps, in some cases. If it’s speed you crave, this is probably your most important spec.
Coverage -You really can’t lose when it comes to the coverage a mesh network provides. Some will score you up to 20,000 square feet of coverage, even in multiple-floor houses with dense walls. But because you can add on satellite nodes to most networks, the sky is your limit.
MU-MIMO -For faster speeds, some networks incorporate Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology, which streams data to clients simultaneously rather than sequentially.
Design -Mesh network nodes are designed to integrate throughout your house seamlessly. In general, their aesthetic is much more modern than your traditional router. But since the nodes will likely be placed in plain sight, pick one that you won’t mind looking at every day.
Test Results: Netgear Orbi High-Performance AC3000 (Best Overall)
What We Like
Easy to set up
With its perfect 5-star rating from testers, Netgear’s Orbi High-Performance AC3000 proved why it tops our list. One of our testers said the system “provided seamless connectivity throughout the entire home” and added that he could definitely see a difference in his wireless speeds. Our reviewers liked that the network is easily configurable with an option to turn off connectivity for individual devices and parental controls that help you monitor kids’ online activities.
If you’re looking to improve your Wi-Fi range in a large home, this system will definitely deliver: “My home office is at one end of the home, so I had to use a wired network before to get good connectivity,” one Lifewire tester said. “With the Orbi system, I did not face any Wi-Fi issues. I get a very good connection even working out in the yard.”
Test Results: Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Home Wi-Fi System (Best for Large Homes)
What We Don’t Like
The AmpliFi HD worked so much better than our testers even anticipated. One reviewer was experiencing 45 Mbps download speeds with his Spectrum-provided modem/router combo, but his speeds changed to 145 Mbps “instantly” once he started using this product. “I already recommended it to a friend this morning,” he said. He also added that he was able to receive a strong signal everywhere in his house, even at the end of his 100-foot driveway.
Lifewire reviewers also praised the system’s touchscreen that displays relevant stats. “I set the display to the connectivity status, which allowed me to monitor the connection while being at my desk,” one person noted. “If, for some reason, the download speed seems slow from the computer, all I need to do is take a look at the display and I will get immediate feedback about the router's status. No need to log into the router via a browser interface.”
Wireless Mesh Network
Test Results: Google Wi-Fi (Best Design)
What We Like
Aesthetically pleasing design
Great range extension
The first thing that stands out with Google Wi-Fi is its look: The system is made up of three sleek satellites that resemble minimalist white hockey pucks. The design is a far cry from that of a typical router — and it won our testers over upon first glance. One of our testers was pleasantly surprised that Google Wi-Fi looked even better in person than on the box. The system was easy to set up and our reviewers noted that it increased the speed and range of their home connections by a noticeable amount.
Test Results: Asus Lyra System (Best for Simplicity)
Best Mesh Network For Home
What We Like
Simple to use
Better coverage than regular network
What We Don’t Like
Slow, time-consuming setup
Lacks good instructions
Best Mesh Network For Mac
One of our Lifewire reviewers tested this system throughout a two-floor apartment with a backyard and reported getting “solid coverage.” Though his previous setup had a router upstairs and an extender access point downstairs, users routinely lost their connection. His home has four users that all use multiple devices and no one had any complaints with the Asus Lyra System. He also loved the guest network feature, which lets you create a separate network for visitors and set it to expire at a certain time.
Best Mesh Network For Smart Home
Six weeks into the testing period, one of our reviewers experienced the only reported issue: The system lost access to the Internet and our tester was unable to use the Lyra app or the Web interface to troubleshoot (neither would allow him to log in). Ultimately, he had to reboot the nodes and set up the network again — a process that took him 75 to 90 minutes.