The 10 Best Mesh Wi-Fi Network Systems to Buy in 2018

Make spotty Wi-Fi a distant memory

NETGEAR Orbi Home WiFi System
NETGEAR Orbi Home WiFi System. Photo from Amazon

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With the explosion of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, and Spotify, coverage throughout your whole house is a non-negotiable. Many of our favorite wireless routers are capable of this, but for larger homes with multiple floors or dense walls, you’ll need to step up your game. Wi-Fi extenders can get the job done in some cases, but they typically only deliver a fraction of the bandwidth of your main router. For fail-proof Wi-Fi, a mesh network system is your best bet. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites and even took a few home to test them out on our own.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Netgear Orbi High-Performance AC3000

A name synonymous with Wi-Fi, Netgear takes the top spot on the list with its Orbi High-Performance AC3000, which offers 5,000 square feet of coverage.

Complete with an identical router and satellite, the Orbi system boasts lightning fast throughput speeds, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming and a number of customizable features. It’s a tri-band system with six internal antennas and can deliver throughputs speeds of 1,266Mbps (400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 866Mbps on the 5GHz band). Its additional 5GHz band communicates solely between the router and the satellite and hits speeds up to 1,733Mbps. At the base of the router, there are three Gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port and a USB 2.0 port, meanwhile the satellite has four Gigabit LAN ports and a USB 2.0 port, which give you stellar connectivity options.

Best for Large Homes: Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Home Wi-Fi System

Of Ubiquiti’s devices, the AmpliFi HD is the most robust. Made for large, multi-story houses with dense walls and other obstructions, this device uses six high-density, long-range antennas to cover up to a whopping 20,000 square feet. (Don’t worry, the antennas are internal, so it keeps a sleek aesthetic.) The system consists of a router and two plug-in mesh points which, while rather large, are nearly works of modern art. The front of the router has a beautiful full-color LCD touch screen that displays the time and date, and you can tap the screen to reveal stats such as current Internet speeds (upload and download), router and WAN IP addresses, as well as current throughput speeds.

The router houses a single-core CPU, 802.11ac circuitry that supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands and delivers up to 5.25Gbps aggregate speed. Similar to other systems, the AmpliFi HD has a mobile app that lets you manage settings, but it also uniquely allows you to segregate its two radio bands and have separate SSIDs, letting you manage traffic more easily. Unfortunately, there are no parental controls on this unit, but most won’t find that to be a deal breaker.

Best Design: Google Wi-Fi

Leave it to Google to design the best-looking anything. Its Wi-Fi system is no exception. The set contains three satellites, which Google call “Wi-Fi points,” each of which covers 1,500 square feet, for a grand total of 4,500 square feet of blanketed coverage. The points are shaped like thick hockey pucks and sit beautifully in plain view. Unfortunately, they lack USB ports, which mean you can’t connect peripherals.

Each point houses a quad-core Arm CPU, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of eMMC flash memory, plus AC1200 (2X2) 802.11ac and 802.11s (mesh) circuitry and a Bluetooth radio. Google combines its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands into a single band, which means you can’t designate a device to a single band, but on the upside, it uses beamforming technology, which automatically routes devices to the strongest signal.

Google Wi-Fi wins our pick for best design not just for its hardware, but its software, too. The accompanying app (for Android or iOS) is intuitive and lets you manage the status of your points, as well as set up guest networks, test speeds, port forwarding and more. Unfortunately, there are no parental controls, but regardless, Google Wi-Fi will get your household online quickly and easily.

Best for Simplicity: Asus Lyra System

Asus Lyra Home WiFi System
Courtesy of Jet.com

The Asus Lyra system comes with three receiver hubs, much like the others on the list, and it links them all under one Wi-Fi name. They’ve built the tech into them to automatically switch you between hubs as you move out of range of one and into the range of another. The system also operates with three separate bands, that way it’ll take you longer to lose connectivity due to bandwidth restrictions. You can have your game systems taking up one band, your general Internet use taking up another and another band can tackle your business purposes. They’re all 802.11AC routers offering you up to 2,134 mbps in transfer speeds.

There’s a proprietary, commercial-grade encryption and protection provided by Asus’s AiProtection tech, and there are additional security options that allow you to set up parental controls. Finally, it’s connected and controllable via an Asus app that is set up to work well with your smart home products, so it’ll be a great addition to any tech-forward household.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Linksys Velop Tri-Band AC6600

The Linksys Velop Tri-band AC6600 consists of three sleek white nodes that are each roughly the size of a Jenga tower and good-looking enough to sit on display rather than be tucked away. Each node covers 2,000 square feet, together covering a 6,000-square-foot home, so this is a great option if you have a large home. (If you don’t need such vast coverage, you can purchase nodes individually.)

Each node is an AC2200 router that delivers up to 400Mbps maximum speeds on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands. Velop is one of the few systems that supports Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming, which translates to faster throughput speeds. It also offers a plethora of features customizable in the mobile app, including parental controls, device prioritization and guest networking.

Best Budget: TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi System

If you want to save a little money and still reap the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi, the TP-Link Deco M5 is perfect. Setup is quick and easy via the downloadable smartphone app. Utilizing Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, the hardware quickly connects to your smart device. It should take less than 10 minutes to be up and running. Once set up, the two-pack can establish a signal that hits nearly every corner of your home or office — up to 3,800 square feet. Within the square footage, the system can keep up to 100 devices connected at the same time.

Ideal for internet plans up to 500Mbps in speed, the system uses Adaptive Routing Technology to find the best connection for each device. Beamforming and MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output technology) also serve to increase signal strength. Connecting via Ethernet cable, each unit offers two-gigabit Ethernet ports, USB-C power, and an LED indicator for device status. Those with small kids also appreciate the system's built-in parental controls. By creating individual profiles for each user, parents can set filters, time limits, and block websites they don't want their children accessing. 

Best Security: Gryphon Smart Mesh Wi-Fi System

As it keeps all security vulnerabilities out, the Gryphon Smart Mesh Wi-Fi system is well worth its price tag. Today, everything from light bulbs to cameras to washing machines is connected online. Each connected device creates a security threat and that’s where the Gryphon comes. Incorporating AI-based intrusion detection and Malware protection by ESET, Gryphon keeps an eye on all your electronics. Active malware filtering of incoming data streams alongside enterprise-grade security keep unwanted files and websites out. If a security threat is detected, the concerning device is quarantined off the network until resolved.

Managing of all this protection is the Gryphon smartphone app. The app allows any owner to view currently connected devices and browsing history. The app also assists with the plug and go setup that gets you online within minutes. Additionally, the smartphone app includes parental controls for creating a safe browsing environment for kids. Each Gryphon unit can cover up to 3,000 square feet of network coverage. Two synced Gryphon units create a true mesh network system for up to 6,000 square feet of connectivity. 

Easiest Setup: eero Home Wi-Fi System

eero Home Wi-Fi System
Courtesy of Best Buy

Common to most all mesh Wi-Fi systems is their ease of setup, but the eero takes easy to a new level. The company claims you’ll be up and running in just a few minutes with help from its mobile app and Amazon reviewers can back up that up. All you need to do is connect it to your modem via the included Ethernet cable, wait for the indicator light to blink blue and follow the on-screen instructions. After you’re done setting up, the app also comes in handy for testing Internet speeds, managing networks, creating guest networks and more.

The eero’s design is also praiseworthy. After all, it’s named after famed architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen for a reason. The three identical units (one router and two satellites) measure 4.75 x 4.75 x 1.34 inches and are white high-gloss on the top, but matte on the edges. Inside is a 1GHz dual-core CPU with five internal antennas and AC1200 Wi-Fi circuitry, all of which contribute to solid throughput speeds.

Runner-Up, Best Design: Tenda Nova Whole-Home Wireless Router System

Tenda - Wireless-AC Dual-Band Whole Home Wi-Fi System (3-pack)
Courtesy of BestBuy.com

Offering up to 6,000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage, this system from Tenda is great for large homes (though it might struggle for medium-sized offices). Much like the rest of the systems on the list, this one will seamlessly connect as one Wi-Fi network, but it uses a really unique technology to help focus those connections to stay connected to all your devices at once. That tech is called Wave2 MU-MIMO alongside Tenda’s equally cool beamforming technology, which focus-transmits power to the devices in the room, giving you a near-invincible connection to your Wi-Fi system.

They’ve also included a network optimization technology that maintains the integrity of the system, even when one unit goes down. If you disconnect to one unit, then it’ll automatically search and find the nearest available one. Plus it’s been designed to require no special setup, offering you plug-and-play simplicity with an easy-to-understand LED status indicator.

Best Parental Controls: Luma Whole Home Wi-Fi

Fast and simple Wi-Fi sounds like a blessing, but if you have a home full of kids, you know it can also be dangerous. Luckily, the Luma comes stocked with great parental controls, so you don’t have to worry about what your kiddos are up to. In the settings, accessed through the mobile app (no desktop support, sorry!), you can set a content filter policy using five rating levels: Unrestricted, R-rated, PG-13, PG and G. You can then add users and specify their access level. There’s also a handy Pause feature that lets you freeze Internet access across the whole network.

Beyond parental controls, the Luma offers solid performance, thanks to its three modules that each contain an 802.11ac router, a quad-core processor and two radio bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz). They are AC1200 routers with a max speed of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. Its automatic band steering directs traffic to the most efficient band, giving you the fastest speeds. Overall, it’s a hassle-free way to get your Wi-Fi up and running that still lets you maintain control over the kids.