Many home internet users struggle to maintain a consistent Wi-Fi connection through there home using the standard broadband router / modem that is normally supplied by their ISP. There are many reasons for this, including poor router wireless range, using congested frequencies, and outdated routers, some of which are still provided by ISP, having limitations to the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously. While this was not an issue a few years ago, most households these days have multiple connected devices such as smart speakers, camera systems and thermostats which all contribute to the problem. The size and construction of the premises can also cause problems with both larger and older homes being affected – thick brick walls and other structural features can affect signal strength.
What are Mesh WIFI Systems?
Wireless Mesh systems usually consist of multiple transmitter / receiver boxes (nodes) that are wirelessly linked together and provide signal amplification so that a stronger coverage can be extended to a larger area. In addition, some models have built in ethernet ports so that remote devices that are distanced from the main router can benefit from high speed internet access without the need to run wires. Most mesh systems are capable of handling large quantities of connected devices, far outperforming standard routers.
These systems are usually easy to connect, with some types having dedicated phone apps that guide the user through the process of not only connecting and setting up the system but also with correct positioning for best performance.
At its simplest level, the master unit of a wireless mesh system is attached directly to one of the ethernet ports on your existing ISP provided router, the routers Wi-Fi is disabled, and the mesh unit takes over control of the wireless network. The other units in the mesh are then strategically placed in various locations around the home to provide best coverage.
Tip – when installing a new wireless system all the wireless devices in the home usually have to reconnect to a new network with a new SSID and password. It can be very time consuming to individually set up each of your devices with the new settings and the very thought of doing this may put some users off the whole idea. There is a simple but effective way of setting the mesh network up that does not require changes to individual devices – simply give it the same network name and password in its settings as used by your router and everything will reconnect automatically.
Some may be tempted to simply use a low-cost range extender, and while this can be effective it does not offer either the speed or flexibility of a mesh network which is often available for not much more cost. A benefit of a mesh system is that it allows seamless roaming between each node, so say you go from one room to another the system will steer your device to connect to the node with the best performance for your location.
What is the Best Mesh Wi-Fi UK?
- Comprehensive home coverage: an eero 3-pack is a complete home Wi-Fi system that replaces your router and covers up to 460 sq.m.
- Maximum flexibility: add to your coverage any time with eero's straightforward, cross-compatible hardware.
- Works with your internet service provider: eero connects with your modem to bring your existing internet connection to every corner of your home.
- Set up in minutes: the eero app walks you through setup and allows you to manage and control your network from anywhere.
- Entertainment-grade Wi-Fi: get the most from your Wi-Fi by streaming, gaming and working from anywhere in your home.
This expandable option can provide comprehensive coverage in a home up to 460 square meters using a three-node system. Set-up can be achieved in minutes and the app guides you through each step in easy to understand language. The system is geared towards entertainment and is ideal for gaming, streaming and video conferencing. Using TrueMesh technology, the eero system intelligently routes traffic to avoid congestion and prevents buffering or lost connections. The app and firmware are frequently updated to bring new features so you can be guaranteed an up to date system that offers some degree of future proofing.
The eero phone app allows you to monitor your network in as much detail as you desire, from a basic screen showing which devices are connected, to individual details of the usage of each device and technical details such as each allocated IP address. It even notifies you when a new device is connected so you can verify if you its allowed. Controls and limits can be created for different equipment, and there is a special guest mode that has its own network for visitors to use that does not interfere with the main network or require you to compromise passwords.
Each node has two auto sensing gigabit ethernet ports and wirelessly they are capable of speeds of up to 350 Mbps. Smart features are present, and in addition to obviously working with Alexa as it is an Amazon product, it also works with Apple Homekit. The nodes connect to other devices for some features via Bluetooth 5.0. The nodes are powerful units with 700Mhz quad-core processors, 512MB RAM and 4GB of flash storage so they never slow down, unlike a standard router.
The packaging for the three pack contains the units and just one ethernet cable for connecting to the modem (they should have included more, but these are cheap enough to buy if required) and a very easy to read quick start guide.
Most users are impressed with the performance of this system, although some have noted that the system needs to have the original router attached to work as it does not have PPPOE authentication capability built in. For most users that follow the instructions and do not attempt fancy set-ups there should be no issue. One thing to note is that because this is a mesh network it may not be compatible with any other mesh systems in the home – an example is Sky Q and some users have had frequent drop-outs on their Sky Q systems that can be tricky to resolve.
TP Link Deco P9
- Wireless Class: AC1200 + HomePlug AV1000 whole home mesh Wi-Fi
- Wi-fi + plc Hybrid mesh: Hybrid network boosts bandwidth effectively
- Powerful processing: Qualcomm quad-core CPU
- Simple and smart: easily setup and manage your network with the Deco app
- Maximized range: Wi-Fi coverage up to 6, 000 ft2/ 560 M2 (3-Pack)
Available in various configurations, including ones with powerline networking which uses the mains system in your home to transfer signals to hard to reach areas, the TP Link Deco P9 is a flexible system with many features at a reasonable cost. The accompanying app is simple and straightforward to use, and lets you prioritise devices as well as cut off connections, for example for children, during predefined times. The three pack will blanket a 560 square meter area with strong signal coverage, or, when used as a powerline adaptor, can transmit to up to 300m.
Set-up is simple using the app which guides the user through the process step by step. All Deco models are compatible with each other so the system can be expanded with each node being able to handle up to 100 separate devices. There is also an extensive range of well thought out parental control options that can be customised for your requirements. Adaptive path selection keeps your network running at top-speed by automatically choosing the fastest connection path. Self-healing ensures you stay online even when one Deco unit is disrupted.
The packaging for the three pack contains the units, power adaptors and just one ethernet cable for connecting to the modem (they should have included more, but these are cheap enough to buy if required) and a simple to follow quick installation guide. Each node has two gigabit compatible ethernet ports for wired connections. Some customers have reported software bugs and problems setting the system up, while others have commented that the speed improvement is marginal. This may not be the best option for technically minded users as the scope of any configurations that can be made is limited.
Tenda Nova MW6
- Enjoy the Best Signal in any corner of the house: Ideal for replacing traditional Wi-Fi extenders & routers solutions, provides up to 6,000 sq.ft. Whole Home Coverage with faster and more stable Wi-Fi mesh network. Get rid of Wi-Fi dead zones.
- Seamless Roaming for all: Every unit works together for a truly seamless online experience with a single network name and password. Most Wi-Fi enabled devices automatically connect to the strongest AP node when moving around your home. Compatible with all internet service providers
- High Capacity & complete flexibility: Powered by MU-MIMO and Beamforming technology, fast AC1200 Dual Band Nova Mesh Wi-Fi system provides high speed Wi-Fi network for all your devices and brings lag-free experience for up to 90 devices.
- Secure Wi-Fi mesh network: Use WPA2-PSK to encrypt the WiFi password to protect your network and connected devices from hacker attacks. Welcome your visitors and friends with a guest network in isolated network zone, and guards your privacy and smart home access.
- Easy Setup in minutes: The Tenda Wi-Fi APP helps you to setup, monitor, & manage your home Wi-Fi mesh network easily & quickly. A new node can be added to existing Nova networks with 3 simple steps.
This reasonably priced option consists of three attractive cubes each with an ethernet port and a simple colour changing LED indication feature that signifies network strength on each box. The three pack is capable of providing a strong signal for a home of up to 500 square meters. With Wave2 MU-MIMO technology, NOVA can work with multiple wireless devices at the same time, and outperforms traditional routers in efficiency and provides seamless roaming capabilities to prevent any lag or loss of connection when moving from one room to another within the home. This model automatically optimises its network and ensures a stable connection even if one of the nodes is disconnected. The units are supplied pre-paired so all you need to do is plug the main unit into the router and the other two will automatically connect to it.
The packaging for the three pack contains the units, power adaptors and just one ethernet cable for connecting to the modem (they should have included more, but these are cheap enough to buy if required) and a simple to follow quick installation guide. These units are supplied with a three-year guarantee, which is exceptional given the low cost.
While this unit is simple to install and use, it lacks some of the advanced features offered by the more expensive options, although the app is simple to use. There is no Web interface however, so you are limited to only using the app for set-up, an issue which may upset some more seasoned techies. The app allows for devices to be grouped so, for example, children’s devices can be set to lose coverage at predefined times.
Users are generally impressed with the performance of this system given its price, especially in larger homes and with large numbers of devices and some have commented on how seamlessly it works when moving around the home. There are some reports of reliability issues and poor performance outdoors, and a few technical users have bemoaned the lack of a web interface and being restricted to only being able to make configuration changes using the app, however this will not be an issue for most.
- Velop Tri-Band system provides whole home mesh Wi-Fi coverage Ideal for large, 5+ bedroom multi-story homes (up to 6,000 square feet)
- Provides fast, reliable Wi-Fi coverage for 4K HD streaming, gaming and more
- Works with all UK internet/broadband providers (such as BT Smart Hub or Virgin Media Hub)
- Simply connect one Velop Node to your ISP equipment and use the Linksys app to complete the simple setup in minutes
- Tri-band connectivity speeds (867 + 867 + 400 Mbps per node)
The Linksys Velop networking system consists of tall cylindrical units that do not score many points in terms of their style or design, however, the satellite nodes do have a small enough footprint that you can effectively hide them away around the home.
Each unit can provide a fast strong signal for an area of around 200 square meters, so a strategically positioned three unit set-up will cover 600 square meters. This system has a few more features than most and is best suited for the more technical users due to the range of optimisations that are available. The Linksys app has dozens of features and customisations to tweak, and the Intelligent Mesh Technology works behind the scenes to constantly adapt and optimise the network. Security features are excellent, with paid subscriptions available to Linksys Shield which can protect your family against online security risks. You’ll gain access to Parental Controls, so you can easily manage your family’s connected life and selectively filter content, manage screen time on specific devices, and even pause the internet during selected times. The app has a special mode for guests so that they do not use the main network thereby preventing security concerns or the need to divulge main passwords. The app can prioritise devices, so for example if you are in a video conference while children are gaming the bandwidth can be steered to the critical function and prevent issues from occurring. If you are concerned that performance is degrading, a speed test can be performed directly from the app using a reliable service.
Another subscription service is Linksys Aware which is a Wi-Fi motion-sensing service that uses your Mesh Wi-Fi network to sense motion without the use of cameras or additional hardware, ensuring privacy and convenience throughout your home. It detects activity via Wi-Fi signals and sends you notifications through the Linksys App when unexpected motion has occurred, so in effect it acts as a type of intruder alarm. Each node has two ethernet ports, MU-MIMO compatibility and beamforming which directs the signal to where it is needed.
As mentioned, this is a more advanced system and some users have experienced issues with configuration, while others have objected to having to sign up for an account in order to gain access to some of the features.