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How Can I Buy the Best Mesh Router for My Needs?

Some WiFi mesh systems are made up of identical nodes, while others feature a base station/satellite setup.
Published
Mesh Wifi Amplifi

With so many mesh WiFi systems to choose from, it can be tough to decide on the best mesh router for your needs.

Here, we go over the different setups and prices, as well as alternative solutions to your WiFi problems.

How Can I Buy the Best Mesh Router for ME?

Before you worry about finding the best mesh wifi system, you should first figure out if you need a mesh WiFi system at all. If you've got problems with multiple WiFi dead/slow zones, a mesh network could be your solution. But if you're fixing a single dead spot, using a mesh network is like killing a fly with a nuke.

If you're fixing a single dead spot, using a mesh network is like killing a fly with a nuke.

It's possible that a WiFi range extender or simply a better wireless router will fix your dead spots. And if your problem is general slowness, your cable modem might be to blame.

Next, consider what kind of mesh WiFi setup you'd like. Some companies only sell systems with identical nodes, like Google Wifi. Other systems have an optional base station/satellite setup. Base stations (and Google Wifi pucks) have Ethernet ports, so you can plug in printers or other Ethernet-enabled devices. Satellite nodes tend to lack Ethernet ports — but they're cheaper.

SEE ALSO: What Is Ubiquiti AmpliFi Mesh WiFi?

If your home is already wired for Ethernet, you can create mesh WiFi access points by plugging Ethernet-enabled nodes into your wired ports.

What Do the Best Mesh Router Systems Cost?

Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for the best mesh WiFi systems — or at least the best-reviewed ones. For example, in its roundup of the best WiFi mesh network systems, PCMag features devices hovering around $100, as well as systems in the $400 to $500 range. Meanwhile, Wirecutter's top pick is a router-and-satellite setup priced around $300.


Contributing Writer

Sean is a freelance writer and photojournalist working in the Hampton Roads region. He has been a writer, adventure motorcyclist, drag racer, data nerd, shade-tree mechanic, and tornado chaser. Recommend good beers to him on Twitter at @wxgeek.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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3 comments
aarond12
It would be nice to have a guide/testing results for specific use cases. For example, we have a lot of people who come over to our home at one time, meaning we have >40 active WiFi devices simultaneously. Since my home is wired for Ethernet, I have two Apple Airport Extreme base stations in different places in the house connected to a pfSense firewall/router. This combination covers everything well and keeps up with the bandwidth requirements but will likely not work for most people. Would a mesh network work for this purpose for others?
michael bonebright (DealNews)
@hoisinboi-

This article is a general guide to mesh WiFi, and part of a larger WiFi series that we've just published. You can find our discussion of Ubiquiti AmpliFi here: https://www.dealnews.com/...Ubiquiti-Amplifi-WiFi/

That said, I'll update this one with a link to that article to avoid further confusion.

Thanks for reading!
hoisinboi
How you gonna write an article and use the Ubiquiti AmpliFi image, but not even reference it at all in the article?