The Best Home Wi-Fi Systems
A few years ago, the Wi-Fi router market reached a plateau. With the latest 802.11ac standard, Wi-Fi speeds up-close didn’t really need to get any faster for most practical uses. Instead, what matters most for many people now is range and consistency, which is where mesh routers, or whole-home Wi-Fi systems, come in.
They use several access points, or nodes, that work together to spread out the Wi-Fi load. In essence, they’re like a network of Wi-Fi extenders but they differ in a couple of crucial ways. For a start, they’re generally faster. Each node tends to beat least dual band and uses multiple spatial streams to provide speeds that would rival a dedicated router. Here are some of the best home Wi-Fi systems.
The Netgear Orbi was the first big-name mesh-style router to hit the market, and it rightly made quite a splash. Available in a variety of kits, the original and best setup is theRBK50kit that consists of a router and hub. Both the router and hub each have four gigabit Ethernet ports. As such, for power users who wants peed and function,as well as range, it’s the one to get.
The Linksys Velop is the most versatile Wi-Fi system. Each node can function as a router or an access point, and the system supports wired back haul as well. So with this three-node system, you could, for instance, set up one node as the router, one node as a Wi-Fi extension in the house and one node as a wired extension out in the garage.
The Asus Lyra is a powerful and versatile mesh Wi-Fi system that demands a suitably premium price. However, compared with similarly capable systems, it’s a bit of a bargain for what you get in the box. It consists of three nodes, each of which has a powerful, tri-band2x2Wi-Fi system that can deliver a total of 2,200Mb/sec. Each node also includes two Ethernet ports that can be used to connect wired devices to the extended network.
The Google Wifi is arguably the most well-known whole home Wi-Fi kit. The sheer clout of Google has put it front and centre of this new wave of products. However, fame doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. Unlike most of the other mesh routers, Google is actively pushing the Google Wifi as a possible stand alone router if you buy just a single unit.
BT Whole Home Wi-Fi
BT’s Whole Home Wi-Fi kit is the cheapest in the list, but don’t for a minute think that the low price is an indicator of low capabilities. It provides solid performance for a great price and has three nodes. The only limitation is that it is an extension system only, which much be used with an existing router, apart from that it is a solid way to get full home Wi-Fi coverage for a reasonable price.