The TP LINK Deco M5 was designed to be very easy to setup. It’s also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa for voice control or if you prefer there is an app that’s compatible with both IOS and Android devices. When properly deployed it can cover up to 5,500 square feet.
This Wi-Fi network can connect to up 100 devices, this means the TP LINK Deco M5 could also be a great option for offices, and businesses with an expansive showroom. It could save you money versus cabling costs if, for example, your business is expanding into an older building with no structured cabling in place.
While it certainly has a lot of features that appeal to business, TP Link doesn’t lose sight of the functional features that matter most to families. This includes advanced parental controls with features that let you set time limits, group devices into a single profile setting, and it even deploys active content filtering.
The TP LINK Deco M5 designed with adaptive routing technology, which essentially chooses the highest performance signal for each network device. It even comes with a 3-year subscription to antivirus software powered by Trend Micro as well as a 2-year warranty with free 24/7 customer service.
This whole-home mesh Wi-Fi system by Tenda was designed to be easy to use, easy to set up and also able to work with other smart home systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. As a dual-band Wi-Fi network, it can support both 2.4 GHz and 5.0.
This Tenda Wi-Fi network includes LED range indicators on the nodes. This cuts down on the guesswork of placement for optimum coverage. It’s Nova Mesh Wi-Fi app further helps with setup and includes a suite of helpful tools that let you manage the network effectively.
There are also some basic parental controls as well as the ability to create a guest network. This lets you give network access to guests, yet they still don’t have access to your family’s more sensitive information. for letting guests have access to your home Wi-Fi without necessarily giving them access to more sensitive data.
Amazon’s impressive expansion into the tech and smart home device niche includes a lot of versatile solutions for modern-day living. Their thoughtfully designed eero Wi-Fi mesh network comes with an Echo Dot as well as a three-pack of Wi-Fi nodes. This bundle is also set up to work with the Apple Home Kit and Amazon Alexa.
This bundle offers 5,000 square feet of potential coverage. Yet it’s also expandable and has dual-band Wi-Fi signals that can simultaneously operate at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Amazon also engineered the eero to be easy to set up to the point that even tech-savvy can people typically set it up in less than 10 minutes via an intuitive eero app.
The “True Mesh Technology” effectively routes signal traffic to reduce congestion, buffering, and prevent drop off problems. There are even advanced parental controls that let you do things like pause access to specific devices as well as monitor content.
How We Picked
Wireless connectivity and Wi-Fi networks are increasingly popular. This has inspired many manufacturers and tech giants to rush their options to the consumer marketplace, to the point that it can be a little bit challenging to find the best Wi-Fi mesh network for you.
Right off the bat, a lot of the systems sold online and at the retail level talk about being “Whole Home” or some other type of family-oriented marketing lingo. Yet, there are a lot of instances where a mesh Wi-Fi network could be a cost-efficient option for business. Especially businesses that are set up in an older building where installing up-to-date cabling is cost-prohibitive, or a company that relies on an expansive showroom as part of their sales strategy.
While exploring the Mesh Wi-Fi Network options on the market, we tried to look for systems that have the features a family might prioritize, while also being thoughtful to represent business interests.
Family-Friendly Features For A Home Wi-Fi Mesh Network
Many homes simply aren’t designed with wireless connectivity in mind. Even just ten years ago the vast majority of internet signals were carried through ethernet wires or transmitted via a cellular signal from a local tower.
This means that in a lot of homes there are some “Dead Spots” or places where the signal strength is impeded to the point of being frustratingly slow. This is increasingly common in older and/or larger homes.
A Mesh Wi-Fi Network gets around this efficiently by using a series of nodes. With proper placement, each one communicates with the others to create a seamless network throughout the home without any frustrating areas of signal loss.
The number of nodes you need for your home will vary by size and might also be influenced by the structural materials and layout. Most two or three node Wi-Fi mesh networks will cover between 3,000 to 4,500 square feet.
Special features that a lot of homes and families prioritize include things like parental controls, as well as basic anti-virus software and the ability to prioritize devices. While filtering for these options, we also kept an eye out for other functional options like the ability to work seamlessly with popular “Smart Home” systems like Amazon’s Alexa, Echo Dot, or Google Home.
Mesh Wi-Fi Networks For Offices And Professional Means
Several tech manufacturers offer Mesh Wi-Fi network packages that appeal to offices, and other professional spaces. Yet, they also don’t lose sight of the fact that the same package might also be appealing to homeowners. Putting in our due diligence, we tried to also keep an eye out for these packages.
The coverage area tends to be a top priority for office Wi-Fi mesh networks. Especially for older buildings, and showroom spaces. Though a Wi-Fi mesh network might also be something to invest in a small public venue or a library. A Wi-Fi network that is “Expandable” or allows you to connect additional nodes to the same network at a later date, also tends to be appealing in professional applications.
Security and anti-virus software tend to be very high on the priorities list in a professional-use Wi-Fi network. A package that allows the user to create a “Guest Network” is also very handy. It allows you to give clients, visitors, and outside contractors access to the mesh Wi-Fi network without necessarily giving them access to sensitive information. Other special features like data encryption and advanced password protection also tend to be attractive in a professional use Wi-Fi network.
TP LINK Deco M5
- Coverage up to 5,500 square feet
- Connectivity for up to 100 devices
- Guided assistance app
- Adaptive routing technology
- Device prioritization
- Parental controls with active content filtering
- Anti-virus software included for up to 3-years
- 2-year warranty with 24/7 free tech support
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa
The TP LINK Deco M5 was designed to be compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. To that end, you can set it up for voice controls through your Alexa device or via an app that’s compatible with IOS and Android.
It can connect up to 100 devices, which is nice if you want to use the TP LINK Deco M5 in an office setting. This is a great option for say letting your salesforce or customer service staff all stay connected to the network for looking up information and answering client questions.
The TP LINK Deco M5 was designed with adaptive routing technology, which essentially chooses the fasted path for each network device. This particular package can cover up to 5,500 square feet, which is great for a large home with an outbuilding, or an expansive office setting.
The TP LINK Deco M5 comes with a 3-year subscription to antivirus software powered by Trend Micro. There are also parental controls that let you keep close tabs on what your children are viewing.
A 2-year warranty with free 24/7 customer services is included in the initial purchase. So, you know that if you do have a question or concern, you’ll have easy access to expert help without having to worry about a surprise bill appearing on your credit card. Of course, the TP LINK Deco M5 also comes with a guided assistance app and is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.
What We Liked
The 3-year subscription to state-of-the-art antivirus software is a nice touch. Some of the direct competitors offer a one, three or six-month trial subscription, then charge you an annual fee after that.
The two-year warranty coverage, with 24/7 free tech support also makes a statement that TP LINK designed the Deco M5 for performance and that they believe in the product they are putting out.
Some competitors offer a Wi-Fi mesh system with more sophisticated parental controls and other bells and whistles. Still, the TP LINK Deco M5 was designed to do the things you need a Wi-Fi network to do. The fact that it also can cater to an office environment also increases its versatile value.
Meshforce M1 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System, 3 Pack
- Up to 4,500 square feet of coverage
- Expandable up to 10,000 square feet
- Connect up to 50 devices
- WPA2-PSK Mixed WiFi security
- Ability to set up a guest network
- Dual-band capabilities
- Parental controls
- Easy set up in under 10-minutes
The Meshforce M1 was designed to be a “Whole-Home” Wi-Fi mesh network. Though it could just as easily support an office environment. This particular three-pack provides up to 4,500 square feet of coverage, and it can connect up to 50-devices. The Meshforce M1 is also expandable to 10,000 square feet. It also has dual-band capability at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
WPA2-PSK Mixed WiFi security with password encryption to keep hackers and unwanted users from accessing your network. Yet it also gives you the ability to create a guest network without exposing your sensitive information. It also has sophisticated parental controls that let you limit your children’s exposure to media, control screen time, and reduce the risk of internet addiction.
Meshforce also made a conscious effort to make this Wi-Fi network easy to set up and maintain. Most people can install it ready for use in under 10-minutes. It also comes with a My Mesh app, for IOS and Android devices that allow you to keep track of the network even when you are away from home.
What We Liked
The dual-band capability and the ability to expand coverage up to 10,000 square feet is nice for large homes and businesses that need to maintain a wireless network across a large sales floor.
At the same time, the ability to set up a guest network with proper security features and encrypted passwords lets you keep your sensitive information secure, while still allowing for approved guest access.
The word “Whole Home” might appear in the Meshforce M1 title, but you shouldn’t let that lure you into thinking that it’s only for residential applications. This Wi-Fi network has versatility, security, coverage, and expandability to serve a wide range of businesses.
Amazon eero Mesh WiFi System 3-Pack With Echo Dot
- Up to 5,000 square feet of coverage
- Expandable for larger structures
- Easy setup with eero app
- Comes with Echo Dot
- Parental controls
- Works with Apple Home Kit And Alexa
- Automatically updates safety and security software
- True Mesh Technology efficiently routes signal traffic
Amazon has an increasing presence in a lot of markets, especially with tech, and smart home devices. This includes their thoughtfully designed eero Wi-Fi mesh network. This particular package comes with an Echo Dot and a three-pack of Wi-Fi nodes. It also works with the Apple Home Kit or Amazon’s Alexa.
This gives it up to 5,000 square feet of coverage. Though if you have a larger home or a business with a showroom it is easily expandable. It has dual-band WiFi radios, that can operate simultaneously at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Setup is very easy and even people who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy can typically get it up and running in less than 10 minutes. This is thanks in part to the eero app.
This eero Wi-Fi mesh network has “True Mesh Technology” which routes signal traffic efficiently to reduce congestion, buffering, and drop off problems. It also automatically updates safety and security features to make sure your system is optimized. Security and network services include WPA2 encryption, Family Profiles, threat scans, content warnings, and ad-blocking.
It has advanced parental controls that make it easy for you to manage devices in your home. This includes the ability to pause access if you think one of your children has had too much screen time.
What We Liked
The overall ease of use makes the eero Wi-Fi mesh convenient for everyone, including people who aren’t very tech-savvy, yet still need a wireless network in their home.
The ability to work with Alexa, Apple Home Kit and the Echo Dot make it easy to fit in with your existing or planned smart home devices.
The Amazon eero is thoughtfully designed, versatile, and easy to set up. It updates itself while giving you total control of access across the network.
If there’s something to complain about it’s the fact that it only comes with a 30-day trial of the Secure+ upgrade. After that, you have to pay a monthly subscription to use its more advanced features. Though this is relatively common in many, but not all the competition.
Google WiFi system, 3-Pack – Router replacement for whole home coverage (NLS-1304-25)
- Dual-band at 2.4 of 5 GHz
- Up to 4,500 square feet of coverage
- Network Assist software
- Companion app
- Ability to prioritize devices
- Family controls
Google is constantly growing its presence throughout all things tech. So, it’s no surprise that they offer a Wi-Fi mesh network designed to cater to the needs of homeowners and families. The Google NLS-1304-25 is a three-pack designed to be a whole home router replacement network.
This particular three-pack was designed to be very easy to setup. However, you will need an active Google account, a smartphone, a modem and of course a reliable broadband connection coming to your home. This will allow you to download the special Google Wi-Fi app.
The app lest you closely control every aspect of the network. This includes things like the ability to prioritize devices, which is handy if you want more bandwidth available to a home theater or a gaming system. There’s also a network assist feature that actively works to find the clearest signal for each device in the network.
The family controls are also thoughtfully engineered. You can even use the Google Wi-Fi app to “Pause” signal to specific devices. This is very handy for getting your kids off their phone for meal times or making sure that they aren’t using their phones after bedtime.
What We Liked
The Google Wi-Fi companion app is very intuitive giving you the ability to truly customize the network mesh to your family’s specific needs. Being able to prioritize devices that need more bandwidth and being able to keep a careful finger on your children’s access is a truly commanding experience.
This is a thoughtfully designed Wi-Fi mesh network with a lot of the features a family wants to see. The parental controls, and device prioritization, and the network assist maximize performance while keeping you in control.
Of course, you do have to invest in Google’s line to make it work, but that’s par for the course with everything they do. If you’re already a fan of Google’s line or you’re already using some of their Smart Home devices, then it’s a no-brainer.
NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with 3Gbps Speed (RBK50)
- Tri-Band at up to 3GB
- Up to 5,000 square feet of coverage
- Supports up to 25 devices
- Optimized for internet plans up to 5 MB
- Works with Amazon’s Alexa
- A 30-day trial of NetGear Armor’s Security
- Advanced parental controls
- Up to 7 LAN ports per node
NetGear’s presence in the tech space has been growing quickly in recent years as they embrace thoughtfully designed tech products that make life easier. Their new Orbi Wi-Fi mesh system is available in a few different configurations. This particular 2-pack was designed for families who prioritize security and parental controls.
For a two-pack, this Wi-Fi mesh offers an impressive up to 5,000 square feet of coverage and can support up to 25 devices. This is thanks in part to the tri-band technology, which helps maintain and optimize multiple connections without having to sacrifice network speed.
The NetGear Orbi Wi-Fi Mesh is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. It also comes with a 30-day free trial of NetGear’s Armor Anti-Virus and Security Software. If you like it they offer it at a reasonable $69.99 per year.
There is a sophisticated suite of parental controls that allow you to do things like view the history of sites visited as well as filtering websites for appropriate media. This goes a long way toward eliminating accidental exposure to inappropriate media or catching activity early. NetGear also offers an upgraded suite of special features for $4.99 per month. This gives you the ability to do things like set time limits for users as well as scheduling access.
What We Liked
The Tri-Band technology and the wide 5,000 square feet of coverage from two nodes certainly stands-out and helps maximize performance throughout the network. Being able to sync with Amazon’s Alexa is also handy for homes that already use the system or want to invest in it as part of their Smart Home solutions.
The NetGear Orbi rides on the front lines of innovation in Wi-Fi mesh networks. It has a lot of the features that a family will prioritize.
The knock here is that all of the security and advanced parental controls come at an extra cost. This does add to the overall long-term cost of the system, which is a little bit on the high side. Still, if you have the budget space for it, they are worth the money.
Tenda Whole Home Mesh WiFi System – Dual Band
- Coverage up to 3,000 square feet
- Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Nova Wi-Fi Management App
- Parental controls
- LED range indicator
- Ability to create a guest network
- 3-year warranty
- 24/7 tech support
- Easy to add additional nodes for expanding the network
This Tenda whole-home mesh Wi-Fi system was designed to be easy to set up as well as integrate seamlessly with any new or existing smart home devices. It works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It’s engineered for dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5.0.This Wi-Fi mesh was designed for easy setup. One complaint that sometimes comes up with people who aren’t very tech-savvy is knowing exactly where to place the nodes for optimum performance. Tenda attempts to solve this issue by including LED range indicators. This helps take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. The Nova Mesh Wi-Fi app also has helpful tools and helps you manage the network from just about anywhere.
This Wi-Fi Mesh network also includes some basic parental controls. It includes a parent-friendly Wi-Fi timeout feature. There’s also a feature that lets you create a guest network, which is nice for letting guests have access to your home Wi-Fi without necessarily giving them access to more sensitive data.
What We Liked
The price is honestly one of the most attractive things about this network. When you take a look at all the features it offers, then compare the price to the competitors, there’s an obvious saving.
The LED range indicators are also a nice touch that helps you set up your network to catch all the dead spots as well as areas that might simply suffer from reduced signal clarity.
The three-year warranty with 24/7 tech support is also a nice touch. There are several competitors with more than twice the price point that don’t offer this robust coverage protection. It makes a real statement about how much Tenda stands behind this otherwise bargain-priced Wi-Fi network.
This is a great value-priced option for families who want to get a home Wi-Fi network but don’t want to pony up the high price tag that you see with so many of the competitors. Some of the features maybe aren’t as sophisticated as the software that you see with those higher-priced units. Still, at this friendly price tag, there’s a lot of functionality to like, without all the bells and whistles.
These days “Smart Home” devices and media streaming are incredibly popular. As more and more manufacturers and providers are offering competitive services their popularity seems likely to continue to grow for many years to come.
Of course, wireless connectivity and things like voice control are a critical component of this impressive evolution on home technology. A reliable WiFi network in the home is equally important to make sure that wireless routers, smart devices, and other components can connect seamlessly, without interruption due to distance or structural things like walls, metal studs or brick. It’s especially popular in larger homes here distance from one room to the next or one floor to the next could be significant.
Sometimes range extenders can help fill in wireless signals in trouble spots and “Dead Zones” within a house. Unfortunately, they usually have limited bandwidth, which can impede performance. Especially if your home office tends to one of these dead zones in your house.
Additional access points like an in-room ethernet connection you to maintain a full bandwidth connection to the nearest wireless router, regardless of the connection. Unfortunately, they’re not always that convenient.
A Wi-Fi Mesh Network is essentially a hybrid system consisting of multiple network components that are all connected to your home’s main router. It’s designed to work directly with “Nodes” or “Satellite Modules” that you place in key areas of your home. This could include high traffic areas like the main living room, as well as personal spaces like bedrooms, home offices, or a workshop.
These nodes are all connected to the same wireless signal and share the same SSID as well as the same password. One important difference between a Wi-Fi mesh network and range extenders is that range extenders tend to communicate with the local router through a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band. Whereas a Wi-Fi mesh system has the satellite nodes communicating seamlessly with each other. This essentially means that each node is serving as a connection for the others to ensure that even a node that is far from the primary router will still have a strong signal. Some of these systems will even use a dedicated radio band to connect and the router. In this type of setup outside clients and guest users on the network can make the most out of the standard 2.4 or 5 GHz bands.
The overarching goal of a Wi-Fi mesh network is to seamlessly connect multiple components to the main router. Then the main router connects to the primary modem to crease a single, blanket of coverage.
Key Features Of A WiFi Mesh Network
There is a fair amount of difference between a traditional router set up with a range extender and a Wi-Fi Mesh network. Right off the bat the router and the satellite nodes use their internal antennas. Most manufacturers make it a point to disguise nodes tastefully, so you can leave them out in relatively plain sight, with them looking out of place.
Most have one or more LAN ports to connect to other physical devices like a flatscreen TV, home audio system, desktop computer or a gaming console. A few even include USB ports, but this is a decreasing trend.
Most Wi-Fi mesh networks are multi-band use 802.11ac wireless technology and operate either on a 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz or its dedicated radio band. Though there are models that are set up to support MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) technologies. This gives them the ability to simultaneously stream data to multiple network devices.
Wi-Fi Mesh Network Special Features
They often use some form of “Band Steering” which helps to select the cleanest or least-crowded radio band to optimize network performance. This is especially helpful for homes in dense urban or suburban areas where the signal density of all forms tends to be high.
Other special features include things like:
Parental Controls – Which helps families better filter the level of access children have to various media messages and images. This includes things like accidental exposure to inappropriate media. Parental controls with active content filtering further help keep your children from accidental exposure to inappropriate media and maybe a priority for families with a wide range of ages.
Some parental control features also include features that let you limit or restrict access to certain individual devices. This is handy for keeping children off their phone or tablet at mealtimes or making sure they aren’t on their phone after bedtime.
Guest Networking – Is a very popular option for homes with frequent visitors such as teenage friends coming over to game together or watch movies. It is also handy for a Wi-Fi mesh network in a small business with spread out office spaces.
Device Prioritization – This feature essentially lets you allocate a higher percentage of the bandwidth to a particular device or user. This might be something like a flatscreen TV, gaming system, a desktop computer for a graphic designer or some type of streaming device.
Guided Assistance Apps – This is an app that comes free with the initial purchase. It’s designed to help less tech-savvy people set up and optimize their Wi-Fi mesh network.
Adaptive Routing Technology – This is a special software feature where the network determines the fastest signal path for each device to optimize performance on its own.
Anti-Virus Software – Included in the package to help keep your home or office network up to date on the latest protection features.
Compatibility With Other Smart Home Devices – Many Wi-Fi mesh networks are compatible with multiple smart home systems. Though there are a few that are specifically designed to work best with a particular affiliated brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is A Range Extender Or Wi-Fi Mesh System Better For A Whole-Home Network?
A: On the face of it, range extenders are a technology that seems doomed to eventually be phased out due to the potentially limited bandwidth. In some situations, a Dead Zone connected to a range extender might only be able to support half of the total bandwidth. This would be unacceptable if this dead zone happened to be the home theatre in your basement or the computer lab being used by a team of graphic artists.
Wi-Fi Mesh systems don’t have this same limitation, and proper placement can even have a greater range. They also tend to not have the same visual impact as range extender hardware. A Wi-Fi network also tends to be easier to use and the transition from one part of the home or office is typically seamless. However, set up can potentially take a little longer which might be addressed if you are tech-savvy or you have access to some level of professional IT support.
It’s also worth noting that networks that use range extenders also require you to manage multiple network names. Sometimes the names assigned may not be immediately obvious. Especially if you are going to frequently have guest users such as gamer friends or visiting clients.
Q: Do You Need To Pay A Subscription To Use A Wi-Fi Mesh Network?
A: Once set up the Wi-Fi network itself doesn’t have any subscription costs. However, there might be other long-term costs associated with companion smart home devices that connect to the network. At the same time, many Wi-Fi mesh systems come with some type of affiliated anti-virus software on a limited contract. If you want to continue service beyond that time frame the anti-virus company may require you to pay an annual subscription fee.
Q: What Does “Expandable” Mean?
A: Some Wi-Fi mesh networks come in a basic package with one to three nodes. This typically gives them a range of anywhere from 500 to around 5,000 square feet. This is usually sufficient coverage for most large homes and small offices.
If you have a larger home, with outbuildings or perhaps a guest house, you might need more than 5,000 square feet of coverage. At the same time businesses with a large office space or an expansive sales floor/showroom might also need more coverage than the basic package can handle. A Wi-Fi network that’s “Expandable” makes it easier to accommodate these needs.
Q: How Many Wi-Fi Nodes Do I Need?
A: The material construction of the home or business, as well as the number of floors, can potentially influence coverage clarity. As a general rule of thumb, one node will cover between 500 too 1,000 square feet, which makes it a good option for small homes and apartments. A two-node Wi-Fi mesh network can cover between 1,500 to 3,000 square feet, which will cover most residential homes and modest office spaces. A three-node Wi-Fi mesh network can cover from 3,000 square feet up to 4,500.
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that Wi-Fi mesh networks are only meant for residential use. Many of the most popular packages indeed have the kind of functionality and features that appeal to families. This is arguably the demographic that has the highest demand.
Still, you shouldn’t let features like parental controls and “Smart Home” device compatibility lure you into thinking a WI-FI mesh network is only for a homeowner. When you take a moment to think about it in a broader sense, a seamless Wi-Fi network can be a perfect connectivity solution for many businesses.
Let’s say for example that your small business has outgrown your original building, but the new brick and mortar location you’re looking at is older and doesn’t have any up to date cabling infrastructure. A cabling company might give you a prohibitive quote in the thousands! Compare that to the cost of an expandable Wi-Fi network and your budget gets a whole lot friendlier.
If you have an auto dealership or a furniture store with expansive showrooms and office spaces a Wi-Fi mesh network could be very cost-effective. Sales staff, customer service personnel, and guests could all enjoy seamless access to your network without you having to endure the cost of traditional cabling.
Of course, if you have a family then you are likely looking for a Wi-Fi, network with a few more special features. Things like security encryption help ensure that you don’t have neighbors and strangers getting access to what could be sensitive information. Parental controls and a partner app with integration to other smart home devices are also attractive, as they give you greater control.