Before we get started
You are probably reading this blog post because you are experiencing spotty Wi-Fi coverage or Wi-Fi issues at home, which is causing tasks to take longer than they really should.
We would like to warn you before you continue reading this life-altering post. If you have slow internet speed, having a Wi-Fi mesh set-up will only expand the reach of your slow bandwidth speeds, which would be a bummer. However, slower internet is better than no internet.
We advise that you test your internet speed first to see where you are currently at in regard to your bandwidth.
What is a Wi-Fi mesh network?
According to Google, the maker of Nest, a mesh network is a group of devices that act as a single Wi-Fi network. These devices usually consist of a router or primary point and additional access points that expand your home network's reach. Be careful when shopping that you are in the market for a mesh setup and not just a mere range extender.
Range extenders only repeat your Wi-Fi's signal making it inefficient and can slow down your internet experience. This article from PC Mag does an excellent job of explaining the difference between the two.
What are the benefits of a mesh network?
Mesh network systems are a perfect fit for larger homes or for houses that have dead zones (areas where your Wi-Fi cannot reach).
Mesh networks provide flexible coverage through access points to provide a wireless signal throughout your home, and most can auto-steer devices between 2.4GHz and 5GHz depending on your family's needs and what makes everyone happy.
With today's work-from-home and homeschooling settings, this makes mesh networks ideal if you would like to work in a secluded area and not have to worry about your wireless router's range or having multiple wireless devices connected.
Another advantage of setting up a home network using a mesh set-up is that most provide a type of web filtering or parental controls. These settings can help prevent internet access during specific times for kids or unapproved content.
And the best news is these settings are usually easily set up via a mobile app or website.
Not all mesh products are the same
Do you have a smart home set-up? Then one thing that you should keep an eye out for is compatibility.
Mesh products like Google's Nest and Amazon's eero have their own ecosystem that is not compatible with one another, so it is crucial to choose a set-up that is best suited for your smart devices. This way, you get to use all of its capabilities, such as voice commands and ease of integration.
What we recommend
So, a mesh set-up checked off all of your home network needs, and now you are ready to begin your search for the right product.
Which one do you choose?
Don't worry. We have narrowed it down to what we consider the best line of mesh systems, and that is Ubiquiti's AmpliFi line of products that are listed below.
An excellent entry-level mesh system that is both easy to set up and easy on the pocketbook at $179.
Coverage: Up to 4,000 sq ft
2.4GHz/5GHz Speed: 300M bps/867 Mbps
Price: $179 (includes one mesh point)
If you want beautifully designed devices along with the ability to geek out with free VPN software, AmpliFi HD is your pick.
Coverage: Up to 10,000 sq ft (with two mesh points)
2.4GHz/5GHz Speed: 450 Mbps/1,300 Mbps
Price: $340 (includes two mesh points)
Want a true gigabit mesh set-up? Then the AmpliFi ALIEN should be in your shopping cart. The $340 doesn't get you the 10,000 sq ft coverage like the HD, but 3,000 sq ft should be sufficient for the average house size.
Coverage: 3000 sq ft/6000 sq ft (router only/with mesh point)
2.4GHz/5GHz Speed: 1,148 Mbps/6,537 Mbps
Price: $379 (router only)