A traditional home WiFi network relies on a single wireless router to provide all devices on the network with Internet access. The problem with this network topology is the fact that even the fastest wireless router can only cover a limited area before its signal becomes so weak that it can no longer be considered usable.
A common solution is a WiFi extender, which is a device that receives a weak signal from a router, amplifies it, and creates a new WiFi network to broadcast the amplified signal. As impractical it is for home users to manually switch between multiple WiFi networks when moving from room to room, WiFi extenders are unusable for businesses and institutions that need to cover a large area or multiple floors with a single wireless network.
A mesh WiFi network overcomes the limits of WiFi extenders by dynamically and non-hierarchically organizing nodes on the network to cooperate with one another and deliver data from and to clients in the most efficient manner.
The typical WiFi mesh network consists of a single mesh router connected to the Internet with a wire and several satellite mesh routers, called nodes, that talk to one another to expand the wireless network to every corner of your home.
To achieve the best results when creating a mesh WiFi network, individual nodes in the network should be placed far enough from one another so they broaden the signal, but close enough so they can still communicate with at least one other node in the mesh WiFi network.
Even the best WiFi routers that rely on the traditional spoke and hub network topology are unable to cover very large areas with a strong and stable wireless signal unless they are assisted by WiFi extenders, which significantly complicates things and often confuses users, who have to manually switch between wireless networks depending on their current location.
The best mesh WiFi routers, on the other hand, can cover as large area as necessary to provide all network users with a strong and stable Internet connection regardless of where they are. We have selected three mesh WiFi routers from the leaders in this market segment to help you overcome the restrictions of your existing WiFi router with a single purchase.
The Google mesh WiFi system is a great way how to get started with mesh networking without any headaches. The system is available in several sizes to cover everything from small apartments to large mansions. According to Google, a single Google router should be able to cover 500-1500 square feet, depending on how many walls and other thick obstacles it has to deal with.
Two Google mesh routers should comfortably cover 1500-3000 square feet, which is approximately the size of a regular home, and three Google mesh routers should cover up to 4500 square feet, or the size of a large home. We have yet to see a Google WiFi review say that this mesh system is difficult to set up.
Google has made the setup of the Google WiFi so easy that anyone can do it without any help. The companion app for mobile devices provides helpful guidance when you first plug in the router, and it also features a simple control center that allows you to prioritize devices on your network, see what’s connected, turn on parental controls, and more.
The Eero Mesh WiFi system is much more unobtrusive than most other similar systems currently available, but it’s just as capable. Eero doesn’t come with any limitation to how many connections it can support or how many nodes it can include. Thanks to its TrueMesh technology, your WiFi signal can hop between individual Eero nodes to travel down hallways or go around walls.
This technology was developed using machine learning and data collected from real Eero users, and its benefits are noticeable, as just about any Eero reviewer would tell you.
Connecting the Eero system to the Internet could hardly be any simpler. The base unit has two Ethernet ports for wired connection to the unit and to one other device, such as a TV or computer. The base unit can be extended with an unlimited number of Eero Beacons, which plug directly into any outlet and easily expands your Eero mesh WiFi system to cover every corner of your home.
The NETGEAR Orbi is a tri-band mesh WiFi system that can deliver a fast Internet experience from the attic to the basement. The Orbi WiFi system comes pre-configured and works right out of the box. You can start with a single Orbi node and expand according to your needs. We recommend you use a WiFi analyzer app such as NetSpot to measure how far your Orbi mesh network reaches.
That way, you know exactly whether you really need to spend money on another Orbi. Compared to Google WiFi and Eero, the Orbi system is up to 100 percent faster, delivering 222 Mbps compared to the average of just 71 Mbps of other mesh WiFi systems.
NETGEAR also claims that the Orbi system is able to cover more square feet with two devices than other mesh systems cover with three. The superior performance of the Orbi system can be attributed to its patented tri-band WiFi technology, which establishes a dedicated backhaul connection that helps maximize internet speeds for 4K streaming and connections to multiple devices.