Most modern wireless routers come with multiple antennas, offering more long range and bandwidth than ever before. While these should be sufficient for covering most houses and small offices, even the best routers cannot prevent dead spots from occurring within the range.
Dead spots are areas where the Wi-Fi signal is absent or extremely weak, and they can occur even when all factors required for proper router placement are taken care of. This is where Wi-Fi mesh networks come in.
As the name implies, a Wi-Fi mesh network creates a wireless mesh of satellites and nodes that can relay the signal from one area to the other so that you will always get a strong Wi-Fi signal, no matter where you are in the building.
What to Keep in Mind While Considering Wi-Fi Mesh Networks
There are a few factors that must be kept in mind while selecting a good Wi-Fi mesh network system. These include:
- Speed: Speed is of utmost importance if you want to have a good internet experience all around the building. Your Wi-Fi mesh network should not bottleneck your router’s actual speed and should be able to communicate between nodes effectively to reduce lag as your roam through the house.
- Coverage: Coverage is another important aspect. While you can augment the Wi-Fi mesh network with more satellite nodes, you would want to ensure that the default setup can cover as much area as possible. Mesh networks that can offer good penetration through walls and ceilings are preferable.
- Design: Another deciding factor is the aesthetics of the Wi-Fi mesh network. Unlike a normal router, which can be tucked away, a Wi-Fi mesh network usually runs throughout the building in plain sight. Therefore, having a good aesthetic that compliments your decor is a welcome aspect.
The Best Wi-Fi Mesh Network Systems in 2020
With that information, here are the 8 best Wi-Fi mesh networks on the market in 2020 for connectivity to every corner of your home or office.
1. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)
|Features||Broadcom BCM6577 quad-core 1.5 GHz CPU; Beamforming;Adaptive QoS; AIProtection Pro|
|Max. Data Transfer Rate||6.5 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||4 / 1 (USB 3.1)|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||6.29 x 6.35 x 2.95 in|
Features: The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) is among the best Wi-Fi mesh network systems currently on the market. The design of the ZenWiFi is pretty minimalist and is made to blend well into most home decors. The ZenWiFi is a tri-band router with one 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz bands — one of the 5 GHz bands is used as a backhaul. The router also comes with one 2.5G LAN for fast internet connections and three Gigabit LAN ports for wired connectivity.
Setup: Setting up the ZenWiFi is easy but not entirely straightforward. You need to place both the mesh nodes close to each other and use the Asus Router app for setup, which allows you to configure how to use the bands and other settings. After this point, the second mesh node can be transferred to another room. After this initial minor hassle, configuring further network and router settings is relatively simpler. It can all be accomplished from the mobile app, without having to manually enter IP addresses in a browser.
Coverage and Performance: The ZenWiFi comes in a pack of two, and together they can cover an area of about 5,500 square feet or six large rooms, making it an ideal setup for large homes or workplaces. In some countries, the ZenWiFi also comes in a single unit that covers a 2,750 square feet area. Thanks to the large bandwidth, the Asus ZenWiFi AX can help maximize the potential of your ISP connection very effectively. Even if not on Wi-Fi 6, the 5 GHz band on wireless-AC provides up to 3.5 Gbps bandwidth, so you will have enough room to stream to multiple devices at once without bandwidth constraints.
- Pros: Excellent speed and coverage; Good design
- Cons: Cannot be expanded beyond two nodes
2. Google Nest Wi-Fi
|Features||Quad-core 1.4 GHz CPU; Smart speaker; Touch controls; Automatic client roaming; Bluetooth LE|
|Max. Data Transfer Rate||2.2 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||2 / 0|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||4.33 x 3.55 x 4.33 in|
Features: The Google Nest Wi-Fi is a second-generation upgrade over the previous popular Google Wi-Fi offering. Now it comes with much better coverage, performance, and safety features. The Nest Wi-Fi is designed with home aesthetics in mind and comes in a pack of either two or three routers. One of these is the actual router that connects to your ISP’s modem, while the others are called points. The router offers two Ethernet ports for wired connections, while the points are just Wi-Fi enabled. However, the points also double-up as a smart speaker with 360-degree sound, four far-field microphones, and Google Assistant features. There are no USB ports, unfortunately.
Setup: Setting up the Google Nest Wi-Fi is as simple as it can get. This also means that advanced users will feel that the given settings are somewhat limiting. Most of the configuration and updates are automatically performed by the Nest Wi-Fi, making it ideal for less tech-savvy home users. Nest Wi-Fi also uses a dedicated machine learning chip to prioritize bandwidth based on user habits.
Coverage and Performance: The Nest Wi-Fi offers excellent coverage for most mid to large-sized homes. While the Nest can theoretically offer up to 2,200 square feet of coverage, it must be noted that this is only for the router and not the point, which tops out at 1,600 square feet. The router itself should be sufficient for most homes, but users can extend the range by adding more points. Both the router and the point can each handle up to 100 connected devices at once and can feed multiple 4K video streams, so as long as your ISP line is good, the Nest Wi-Fi will function without issues. It must also be noted that the points can only reach a maximum of 1.2 Gbps – unlike the router, which offers up to 2.2 Gbps throughput.
Overall, the Google Nest Wi-Fi offers the best Wi-Fi extenders for home use and is designed for those who need to get setup fast with minimal hassle.
- Pros: Easy setup; Points double-up as Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers
- Cons: No Wi-Fi 6, Points are slower than the router
3. Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6
|Features||Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor; Tri-band; Netgear Armor; 8 internal antennas; Dedicated 5 GHz backhaul; Beamforming|
|Max. Data Transfer Rate||6 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||5 / 0|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||7.5 x 10 x 2.8 in|
Features: The Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 RBK85x series is an upgrade over the popular Orbi RBK50 and now supports Wi-Fi 6. The Orbi uses a tri-band Wi-Fi that includes a 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands, with one of the 5 GHz bands acting as a dedicated backhaul. The main router connects to your ISP’s modem while the satellites are configured to work with the router to form a mesh network. The router offers one 2.5G Ethernet WAN and four Gigabit Ethernet. USB connections are, however, not available.
Setup: Setting up the Orbi system is fairly simple. You just need to download the Orbi app, scan the QR code, name the network, and let the app do the configuration for the router and the satellites on its own. This is of immense use to home users and those who aren’t particularly technically inclined, but it can be limiting for advanced users. The initial setup assigns the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands as it deems fit, so you will have to manually configure separate bands if that’s what you are after. The app is targeted at mainstream users, so you will not find the granularity often found in gaming routers, which is disappointing since the Orbi costs just as much (if not more) as some of the best gaming routers available.
Coverage and Performance: The Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 can cover up to 5,000 square feet. When opted for the 3-piece kit, coverage up to 7,500 square feet is also possible, making it one of the best Wi-Fi mesh routers for maximum coverage in large homes. The tri-band feature offers flexibility in assigning dedicated bands to devices. The router supports a maximum theoretical throughput of 6 Gbps across all three bands. Since most internet connections come nowhere near this speed limit, one of the 5 GHz bands is dedicated to backhaul to enable lag-free back and forth communication between the satellites and the main router. Due to the excellent coverage, there are hardly any signal attenuation problems, even when the client devices are located behind wall partitions.
- Pros: Excellent range and speeds; Easy setup
- Cons: Expensive; No USB ports; Not too many customization options
4. Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi Mesh Router
|Features||Works with other Samsung SmartThings devices; Parental controls; Plume AI-based Wi-Fi coverage; Plume AI security; Plume bandwidth control|
|Max. Data Transfer Rate||1.3 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||2 / 0|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||4.72 x 1.16 x 4.72 in|
Features: For those who need an affordable mesh network that gets the basics right, the Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi Mesh Router is a great option. The device is part of Samsung’s SmartThings connected home ecosystem. It works seamlessly with other SmartThings-enabled devices from Samsung and its partners, such as home lighting, cooling solutions, thermostats, refrigerators, and more. While there is no wall-mounting available, the SmartThings mesh router is very compact and goes largely unnoticed. There are two Ethernet ports on the device and no less than seven internal antennas — two each for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, and one each for Bluetooth, Zigbee, and ZWave.
Setup: Unfortunately, Samsung does not offer a way to configure the SmartThings Wi-Fi mesh network in a conventional way using the browser. The only option is to use the SmartThings app available for Android and iOS. The SmartThings app helps with the initial setup, network connection, and adding additional nodes. Further configuration and network monitoring require users to download the Plume app. Samsung’s Plume learns your usage activities and allocates bandwidth, and optimizes performance over time.
Coverage and Performance: Each Samsung SmartThings router offers maximum coverage of 1,500 square feet. Up to 32 such routers can be added, and each router adds another 1,500 square feet of coverage. The router’s 710-MHz quad-core processor and 512 MB RAM keep things going without many hiccups. Each SmartThings mesh network router offers a maximum possible bandwidth of 1.3 Gbps — 866 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. While this may not sound much compared to some of the insane throughput offered by others, most people with less a Gigabit connection should face no problems with this mesh network. However, do keep in mind that adding too many routers to the mesh network may degrade network performance. Having said that, the Samsung SmartThings is also one of the best Wi-Fi mesh networks if you have thick walls in the building.
Overall, if you are on the lookout for the best budget Wi-Fi mesh network, the Samsung SmartThings mesh router not only offers great performance but also makes it easy to control all your wireless devices easily.
- Pros: Easy to setup; Controls all SmartThings devices; AI-based usage learning
- Cons: No USB ports; Limited throughput
5. TP-Link Deco M9 Plus
|Features||717 MHz quad-core CPU; 8 internal antennas per unit; Tri-band; AP Steering; MU-MIMO; Beamforming; Parental controls; Dynamic backhaul|
|Max. Data Transfer Rate||2.2 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||2 / 1|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||5.7 x 1.8 x 5.7 in|
Features: TP-Link is a known name when it comes to routers of all complexities, and the Deco M9 Plus is an easy recommendation for the best Wi-Fi mesh networks for home or office. While offering a seamless mesh network that carries the same network name throughout the premises, the Deco M9 Plus also doubles-up as a smart hub that can be controlled from a single app. TP-Link offers HomeCare — a lifetime subscription plan that enables parental controls, QoS, and built-in antivirus features. Unlike many mesh network routers, the Deco M9 also comes with a USB 2.0 port in addition to two Gigabit LAN ports.
Setup: Setting up the Deco M9 Plus requires using the Deco app for iOS and Android devices. The app is very easy to use, and even novice users will find it welcoming. The app requires creating a TP-Link account, and from there on, it is only a matter of deciding on a network name and letting the app do its work. Adding further extensions is easy, and the app will scan for the new node and configure it automatically. The app also offers a decent set of customization options for those who are comfortable with advanced configuration and also ties-in neatly with compatible smart devices.
Coverage and Performance: The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus mesh Wi-Fi system comes in packs of two or three units, which can cover up to 4,500 square feet or 6,500 square feet, respectively. A total of 10 such Deco M9 Plus units can be added in total. Each Deco M9 Plus features a tri-band wireless AC system that can offer a maximum throughput of 2.2 Gbps. The Deco units feature no less than eight antennas — six for Wi-Fi, one for Bluetooth, and another for Zigbee networks to connect to IoT and smart home products. Given the excellent coverage, the router’s performance is very good as long as there are no thick walls in between where it falls behind some of the other routers in this list.
- Pros: Easy to setup; Excellent coverage
- Cons: Speeds drop when blocked by thick walls; Only available in packs or two or three
6. Netgear Nighthawk MK63
|Features||Quad-core 1.5 GHz CPU; 4 internal antennas; MU-MIMO; Beamforming; Netgear Armor; Nighthawk App;|
|Max. Data Transfer Speed||1.8 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||2 / 0|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||4.8 x 2.5 x 4.8 in|
Features: If you fancy a Netgear mesh network but need a cheaper alternative to the Orbi Wi-Fi 6, consider the Nighthawk MK63. The Nighthawk MK63 is also a Wi-Fi 6 router like the Orbi but does not offer tri-bands and dedicated backhaul. The Nighthawk MK63 offers four internal antennas in the router and the satellites, and it is made to cater to use cases such as gaming and 4K video streaming. Compared to the Orbi, the Nighthawk MK63 offers a somewhat slower, albeit fully capable quad-core 1.5 GHz processor. There are two Ethernet ports on the router and one Ethernet port on each satellite.
Setup: Setting up the Nighthawk MK63 is via the Nighthawk app. The app auto-detects the router and satellites and makes it easy to configure them with a simple QR code scan. It is fine for novice users, but advanced users will have to tinker with the settings for added functionality, such as separating the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands into individual networks, for example. Also supported are guest network creation and very basic parental controls.
Coverage and Performance: Netgear says that the Nighthawk MK63 three-pack set can cover up to 4,500 square feet. Coverage can be further extended using additional satellites. Those who have smaller homes can also make do with the lower-priced MK62 variant that offers up to 2,000 square feet coverage. Though the router is capable of Wi-Fi 6, it only offers a maximum throughput of 1.8 Gbps. While this may seem low compared to the competition, Netgear is actually using Wi-Fi 6 to allow reliable connectivity to up to 25 devices simultaneously. The Nighthawk mesh network allows for stable connections with low lag, making it one of the best Wi-Fi mesh networks for gamers.
- Pros: Good for gaming and video streaming; Excellent coverage
- Cons: Throughput lower than the competition; Weak parental controls
7. Amazon Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
|Features||1.2 GHz quad-core CPU; Eero app; Zigbee smart hub; Automatic updates; Works with Amazon Alexa|
|Max. Data Transfer Speed||1.8 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||2 / 1 (USB Type-C)|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||3.9 x 2.4 x 3.8 in|
Features: The Amazon Eero 6 mesh network system is for those who need a hassle-free internet setup across home or office. The Eero 6 is the smaller cousin of the Eero Pro 6 that offers more throughput but costs significantly higher. The Eero 6 mesh network is available in packs of two or three, which include one router and the rest being satellites. You can also purchase the router and satellites independently, depending on your coverage needs. The Eero 6 router comes with two Ethernet ports and a USB Type-C port for power, whereas the satellites just feature USB Type-C. The pricing of the Eero 6 makes it one of the best cheap mesh networks on the market today.
Setup: Setting up the Eero 6 is fairly easy, and the process is similar to most other mesh network setups that use a smartphone app. The Eero app is fairly intuitive and user-friendly. However, it does not offer much in terms of advanced settings. Eero 6 is designed to be used with Amazon Alexa, which can help with turning on/off connected smart devices and control several router functions using voice commands.
Coverage and Performance: The Eero 6 router alone can offer up to 1,500 square feet of coverage. A three-pack set with one router and two satellites can potentially cover up to 5,000 square feet, which should be sufficient for many. Additional satellites can be added as and when needed. Eero 6 supports both Wi-Fi 6 and Zigbee, which means it can double-up as a smart home hub as well. Though the Eero 6 is rated for up to 1.8 Gbps, Amazon recommends it be used for speeds up to 500 Mbps. The performance of the Eero 6 is not ground-breaking, and there are some speed drop issues noted. More importantly, the router offers automatic band steering between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and often fails in allocating the correct band for the client, resulting in speed drops.
- Pros: Affordable; Easy to setup
- Cons: Performance can be better; Bandsteering needs improvement
8. Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD
|Features||Self-configuring radios; Instant setup; Signal strength LEDs|
|Max. Data Transfer Rate||1.75 Gbps|
|No. of Ethernet / USB Ports||5 / 2 (1x USB 2.0, 1x USB Type-C for power)|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||3.91 x 3.85 x 3.92 in|
Features: Ubiquiti is known for making some of the best routers on the market, and the AmpliFi HD is no different. Unlike other mesh network systems, the AmpliFi HD uses a main router and connecting MeshPoints that are essentially antennas that relay the signal from the main router to the clients. The AmpliFi HD router sports a unique design that resembles more of an alarm clock with a touchscreen than a conventional router. Ubiquiti offers the AmpliFi as a pack of router + two MeshPoints, but more such MeshPoints can be added as needed. The router features a total of four Ethernet LAN ports and one WAN port, along with a USB 2.0 Type-A port for devices and a USB Type-C connector for power. The MeshPoints don’t offer any ports and directly plug into the wall socket.
Setup: Despite being known for its advanced enterprise offerings, Ubiquiti has ensured that the AmpliFi HD’s setup is as intuitive and seamless as possible. Setup is done via the official app for Android and iOS devices, which guides the user through setting up the router and assigning a Wi-Fi network. Subsequent addition of the MeshPoints is very easy as they have a signal strength indicator that is super-handy in estimating the areas where the signals are strong and weak. The app also includes a feature to chat directly with 24×7 Ubiquiti support.
Coverage and Performance: The Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD possibly the best coverage among all mesh networks on the market. With a router and two MeshPoints, it is possible to get up to 10,000 square feet of coverage. Further MeshPoints can be added to extend the total coverage to up to 20,000 square feet. The benefits of the AmpliFi HD become apparent when used in large homes or workspaces. At shorter distances, the performance is more or less on par with the competition. Unfortunately, there is no MU-MIMO support yet. Still, the router’s efficient beamforming means it can focus the signal to the connected device better instead of spreading it all over the place.
- Pros: Best coverage; Stylish design; 24×7 chat support
- Cons: No MU-MIMO yet; Limited parental controls
That was our take on the best Wi-Fi mesh network routers available today, and we hope this article has addressed your needs. We would also recommend referring to some of our other related best router pages for more information and additional product choices.