Best Mesh WiFi Systems of 2022

Because working, educating, and gaming from home has had a massive uptick in the last couple of years, WiFi networks can’t always keep up, leading to dead zones and weak signals. When everyone needs to use the internet all at once, a mesh WiFi system can improve speeds and can be the best way to stay connected.

Regardless of how you use the internet, speed is always a top priority. One of these systems can spread the coverage area of your connectivity while preserving internet speeds, for hassle-free use. We’ve rounded up the best mesh WiFi systems so you can enjoy uninterrupted streaming, working, and gaming.

 Best Overall: NETGEAR Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System
Easiest to Set Up: Rockspace Tri-Band Mesh WiFi System
Best for Larger Homes: ASUS ZenWiFi ET8
Best Mesh Extender: Devolo Magic WiFi Starter Kit
— Best Value: Vilo Mesh WiFi System

How We Picked the Products

Methodology 

We evaluated mesh WiFi systems based on their wireless specification, ease of setup, speed, and security and parental controls. 

Wireless Specification: Wireless specifications describe the speed and frequency of your WiFi — basically, they explain how your network works. Most devices use the 802.11ac wireless specification (a.k.a. 5G), with dual and tri-band models offering bandwidth of 450 megabits per second (Mbps) on a 2.4 GHz band and 1,300 Mbps on a 5 GHz band, according to Lifewire. Those that use the latest 802.11ax (a.k.a. WiFi 6) wireless specification can reach speeds of about 9.6 Gbps, according to The Verge. This means lower latency, less interference, and faster speeds. 

Ease of Setup: Mesh WiFi systems are known for simple installation. We looked for systems with apps or web consoles that walk users through the setup process. 

Speed: Access to multiple bands isn’t the only factor that determines internet speed. Models that use MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) and MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology — which respectively enable multiple antennas to act as transmitters and receivers and allow routers to divide bandwidth into streams that connect to individual devices — can also improve the router’s performance. 

Security and Parental Controls: Routers that include extensive malware and antivirus protection can protect your family from identity theft and malicious cyber attacks. Not every router offers parental controls, but we wanted to include options that give families ways to monitor and protect children from harmful content. 

Best Mesh WiFi Systems: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Netgear Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System

A tireless, wireless system. Netgear

Why It Made The Cut: When it comes to raw performance, you won’t find a better mesh WiFi system than this. 

Specs:
— Wireless Specification: 6E

Parental Controls: Yes
Coverage Area: 9,000 sq. feet

Pros:
Simple installation
— Exceptional range
— Unparalleled speeds 

Cons:
Price

Yes, Netgear’s Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System costs $1,500, but it’s totally worthwhile if you have a huge space, run a small business, or never want to see a loading screen again.

The system comes with three tall WiFi routers — a main hub, which must be connected to your modem, and a pair of “satellite” routers. Some mesh WiFi systems allow you to connect any router to your modem, but that’s not true in this case. Once the first router is set up, you can plug the satellite routers anywhere you have an outlet.

We were very pleased at how easy it was to set this mesh WiFi system up, Netgear’s Orbi app walked us through the entire installation process in just a few minutes. You should budget 15 minutes to set up the first router, and five minutes for each additional router. Netgear’s app also allows you to set up parental controls, run speed tests, update each router’s software, and troubleshoot issues.

In our tests, a single router from this system is powerful enough to cover two floors of a home with remarkable consistency. The download and upload speed tests we ran in multiple rooms showed almost the same results in every space. When we added a second router, the results were identical. This level of performance is possible, in part, because each router sends out a signal on four bands, which reduces network congestion.

Netgear says this mesh WiFi system can operate at speeds up to 10.6Gbps, and it’s likely you’ll have to wait several years for your internet package to get fast enough to max these routers out. Consider the Netgear Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System to be a way of future proofing your home. Every new Internet-connected device you bring home will benefit from the range and speeds from this system, and we doubt you’ll have to see a loading screen again.

Easiest to Set Up: Rockspace Tri-Band Mesh WiFi System

Quick Installation. Rockspace

Why It Made The Cut: This tri-band system sets up like a dream and covers a large 6,000 square foot area.

Specs:
Wireless Specification: WiFi 6
— 
Parental Controls: Yes
Coverage Area: 6,000 sq. feet

Pros:
Fast, simple setup
— 
Easy to configure upon setup
Compact nodes
— 
Excellent coverage

Cons:
Insufficient user’s guide

Rockspace’s Tri-Band Mesh WiFi System features three cube-shaped nodes that extend the coverage area to 6,000 square feet. The system can cover over eight rooms and accommodate over 100 smart devices. As a tri-band system, it includes one 2.4 GHz band, one 5 GHz band, and a 5.8 GHz band. The fastest band, the 5.8 GHz, functions as the backhaul for faster speeds throughout the network. 

All of that can be set up and running within minutes. It gets the easiest setup badge for its user-friendly app that walks you through the process. Each node has two LAN Ethernet ports that can connect with TVs, computers, and gaming systems.  

While the setup process is easy and the app walks you through it, the included user’s guide offers little actual guidance. You have to rely on the app. 

Best for Larger Homes: ASUS ZenWiFi ET8

High Security. ASUS

Why It Made The Cut: The ET8 features the latest 6E technology for fast throughput. It also offers impressive security, parental control, and ports, making it the best option for large homes. 

Specs:
Wireless Specification: WiFi 6E
— 
Parental Controls: Yes
— 
Coverage Area: 5,500 sq. feet

Pros:
Powerful parental and malware controls
Strong signal, even at the edges of the coverage area
Simple installation
Fast speeds
Ready for the next wave of technology

Cons:
Expensive
Some settings can only be accessed through web console

The ASUS ZenWiFi ET8 packs a lot of power into a large coverage area of up to 5,500 square feet. Its 6E technology helps provide some of the fastest speeds available — even faster than the already lightning-quick WiFi 6. Not many 6E devices are on the market, but it’s only a matter of time before they are. And with the ET8, you’re ready for the next wave of smart devices before they’re even out. 

Beyond speed and coverage area, the ET8 is also simple to install. You don’t need to be a wiz to get it up and running, nor to use the many features. For example, it’s equipped with robust malware and parental controls that you can access through the accompanying app. The app makes it easy to monitor and make adjustments based on real-time information. 

However, there are certain advanced features and functions that will require users to log into a web-based console. Additionally, at over $500, this is an expensive system.

Best Mesh Extender: Devolo Magic WiFi Starter Kit

Stream in 4K. Devolo

Why It Made The Cut: Devolo has created a unique way to expand your network coverage, making this cross between a mesh system and network extender worth considering. 

Specs:
Wireless Specification: WiFi 6
Parental Controls: No
Coverage Area: N/A

Pros:
Fast WiFi speeds (up to 1,200 Mbps)
Creates a mesh network on multiple floors
Inconspicuous design
Integrates with electrical sockets

Cons:
Doesn’t work with previous Devolo nodes
Distance between nodes can affect speeds

The Devolo Magic WiFi system is a little different than the others on our list. The adaptors, which function like a traditional mesh network’s nodes, transform power lines into transmitters. Using the power line network, the Devolo can take WiFi to areas blocked by walls or separate floors. 

Each unit has a passthrough electrical socket, so you don’t lose your outlets to the internet. The LAN ports are at the top of the node, keeping cords out of the way. Installation isn’t the easiest and takes some patience. For example, you have to activate and connect the nodes in the right order, or you have to start from the beginning because the system gets confused. 

We like that each node broadcasts the same network, so employees or family members on different levels of the office or home don’t need to switch networks while moving about. An issue to keep in mind, though, is that the distance between nodes can affect the internet speeds. 

Best Value: Vilo Mesh WiFi System

Impulse upgrade. Vilo

Why It Made The Cut: This mesh WiFi system performs as well as alternatives that cost twice as much.

Specs:
Wireless Specification: WiFi 6
Parental Controls: Yes
Coverage Area: 4,500 sq. feet

Pros:
— Small size

— Free parental controls

Inexpensive add-ons 

Cons:
— Cheap feeling 

Vilo’s mesh WiFi system isn’t just the best value in its category, it’s one of the top deals in the world of technology. Available at just $99, and routinely less expensive during sales, it’s hard to argue with the price to performance ratio.

Its specs are on par with many of the other mesh WiFi systems in our guide, and setting it up takes just a few minutes thanks to Vilo’s intuitive app. You should have this entire system up and running in under half an hour if you know exactly where you want to install each router. We were pleasantly surprised at how small each router was, which is a big plus if you plan on running them in some of your home’s busiest areas.Our only real complaint with this system is that the routers felt kind of cheap when we held them in our hands. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but something to be aware of, as it may give you a poor first impression. Don’t let that fool you, though, the Vilo Mesh WiFi System is an excellent buy.

Best Stability: TP-Link Deco X20 WiFi 6 Mesh System

TP-Link.

Why It Made The Cut: For large homes looking for stable WiFi, TP-Link Deco X20 is a powerful and relatively affordable choice.

Specs:

Wireless Specification: WiFi 6
Parental Controls: Yes
Coverage Area: 5,800 sq. feet

Pros:
— Provides stable mesh WiFi

— Great integration with TP-Link line of products

Competitive price

Cons:
— Overkill for small homes

How can you get your work done when your WiFi is spotty? The rest of the family will encounter weak signals if one person is streaming shows or playing games. The TP-Link Deco X20 System is a game changer if you struggle to keep a reliable connection, and with the three-pack, you have a whole-home mesh system ready to take on even the most data-heavy usage. Cover up to 5,800 feet with strong, fast WiFi and eliminate the dreaded dead zones.

The TP-Link Deco X20s allow you to connect up to 150 devices — not that you’d ever need that many, but they’re strong and fast enough to support them. With easy set up, two 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports each (six in total for the three-pack), and voice controls, this system is designed with an array of innovative features. The Deco app helps you stay in control of your network, while parental controls allow you to customize each connected device’s profile, so you can manage, limit, and monitor your kids’ internet usage and keep them safe. Like many other TP-Link products, you can set your watch to its reliability. Its power may be too much if you live in a smaller home or apartment, but for the range it covers, the price is incredibly reasonable. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Mesh WiFi System

Setup

No one wants a complicated router setup that requires several calls to customer service. Thankfully, most mesh systems are designed for those who aren’t tech-savvy. They usually have a downloadable app to walk you through the setup process. That process often includes illustrated step-by-step instructions and suggestions on where to place each node. Mesh WiFi systems may also assign devices to the best radio bands and WiFi channels for you, streamlining internet traffic. 

Plus, if you need more nodes later on, you can always add them. Right now, there isn’t a limit on how many nodes you can add. Using the app, you can monitor who is using which node and, in some cases, prioritize certain devices. 

Design Aesthetics

Mesh routers are placed throughout the home, so they’re designed to be less conspicuous than a traditional router. Their antennas are usually internal, hiding them from view. The nodes are relatively small, white or black in color, and unobtrusive. They’re meant to blend in and prevent your home from looking like an electronics store.

Wireless Mesh vs. Range Extender

Mesh WiFi systems cost more than a traditional router or a router with an extender. However, you’re paying for a bare minimum of two devices and possibly several more that are capable of monitoring and running your home network. That kind of control and coverage is where the extra cost comes in. 

A router with an extender typically provides more control over performance and connectivity, including assigning radio bands to specific devices or switching networks when using different areas of the house. For ease of use, a mesh WiFi system wins almost every time. Mesh systems have similar speed and better coverage than a traditional router and less time managing it. 

FAQs

Q: How does mesh WiFi work?

Dead spots and weak signals at the edges of a network coverage area have long been a problem with home WiFi. Mesh WiFi is the next step above adding a network extender to cover dead spots and boost signal at the edges of the coverage area.

Mesh WiFi uses at least two and possibly several nodes that serve as routers. The nodes connect to one another, extending the coverage area of a single network. They’re easier to set up than a network extender and don’t require setting up separate networks.

Q: What is the fastest mesh WiFi?

The fastest mesh WiFi systems offer the latest WiFi 6E technology. For years, the only radio bands open to home devices — including the growing number of smart devices — have been the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The FCC opened up the 6 GHz band in 2020. Routers with 6E technology add the 6 GHz band to their multi-band systems. Very few devices currently use this band, but those that do face less interference and traffic from other devices, making it the fastest internet available for home use.

Q: How much does a mesh WiFi system cost?

The least expensive mesh WiFi systems start just above $100, with the most expensive coming in at over $500. The number of nodes, WiFi technology, bands, ports, and security features all influence the price of the system.

 Final Thoughts on Mesh WiFi Systems

The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Mesh WiFi System can double as an automation hub, controlling smart devices while offering seamless WiFi. However, it’s on the pricier side. If you’re on a more limited budget, you can still get great speed and coverage with the Netgear Orbi Whole Home Mesh WiFi System. The Orbi is simple to set up and covers a wide area. 

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

Sharing is caring!

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply