Best Mesh Wi-Fi Router Kits iMore 2021
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.
- Minimalist design: Eero
- Great range: Nest Wifi
- Best value: TP-Link Deco M5
- Plenty of Ethernet ports: NETGEAR Orbi RBK50
- Start small and expand: AmpliFi Instant
- Mix and match colors: Linksys Velop
Minimalist design: Eero
The Eero offers a sleek, minimalist design, and it can be had in several configurations. Three eeros offer maximum performance and wired backhaul. eeros are compatible with not only the Eero Pro units and Eero beacons but also previous generation eeros, making expansion a piece of cake. Beamforming improves reception, MU-MIMO, and dual-band Wi-Fi serve your modern devices, and you get real-world speeds up to 240Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio and 600Mbps on the 5GHz radio.
Great range: Nest WifiEditor's choice
Nest Wifi brings the Google Wifi line of mesh routers into the future with much faster AC2200 Wi-Fi speeds. Speeds are kept high with four data streams at 5Ghz and two more at 2.4Ghz, allowing for strong dual-band connections. Compatible with Nest Wifi points and Google Wifi routers, Nest Wifi can make a strong mesh with plenty of expansion options. WPA3 security is a step ahead of the competition, and MU-MIMO and beamforming keep connections efficient and strong as you move around your home.
Plenty of Ethernet ports: NETGEAR Orbi RBK50
The Orbi RBK50 is an excellent 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.
Start small and expand: AmpliFi Instant
AmpliFi's newest entry into mesh networking is the AmpliFi Instant. With four dual-band antennas and support for 2x2 MU-MIMO, this mesh system competes on simplicity and compact design rather than speed and power. Capable of 300Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and 867Mhz on the 5Ghz band, the speed should be more than enough for most homes. Easily add more mesh points to fill in any weak spots in your home. Even so, each unit covers 2,000 square feet, and a single kit should be enough for most homes.
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.
Nest Wifi systems are an excellent option for someone setting up their first mesh as well as anyone that wants a fast and simple network. This two pack containing two of the most powerful routers in the lineup can cover 4,400 square feet together, and a wealth of 5GHz antennas will keep the mesh speeds high even when you have a lot of active connections. Easy expansion with additional routers, mesh points, and Google Wifi routers makes it easy to fill in all the Wi-Fi gaps at home.
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.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.