When one WiFi router isn’t enough – Top mesh networking winners

When your wireless router from your cable or phone company is having trouble reaching all of your house reliably, it’s likely a signal to upgrade your home internet router. Adding a WiFi Extender may sound like an easy fix to help your internet signal reach all around the house.

 

Avoid older WiFi extenders

While a WiFi extender can work to do that, the complications and failures that come with it are not worth the hassle. The more home-connected devices we add to a home wireless network, the greater the demand for managing speed and keeping things quick.

Newer mesh networking systems can be the easiest solution to getting strong, reliable Internet throughout your home. Instead of one big wireless router, wireless mesh systems use a few access points spread around your home to share the love of high-speed internet evenly.

If you live in a tiny house featured on HGTV, this is not for you. For larger homes that struggle to get the WiFi signal in every room,  a mesh system may be the best option  for solid internet everywhere.

 

Why Get a Mesh Wireless Network at home

Each mesh access point plugs into a regular AC outlet without needing to run any other cables

  • Easy to setup
  • Good range for those who live in a home >2,000 sq feet
  • Good for older homes with thicker walls, brick and stone
  • When you want solid internet signal everywhere at home, quicker connections
  • Remotely manage with app
  • Easy to expand by adding additional access points

Many network gear companies are now pushing an upsell into subscription-based security for the router. Instead, you are better off in most cases with choosing an overall security solution from one of the leaders of security protection software for all of your devices here.

 

Newer Mesh WiFi systems are better at connecting to all of your devices

What you really want when your Internet wireless signal isn’t as strong in certain parts at home is more likely a wireless mesh router system that works with a couple to a few or several units plugged in around your home. What you’ll notice after upgrading to a good mesh system is reliable internet signal everywhere at home and seldom ever a bump in the road with all your connected devices.

Easier to setup

I had one of the original mesh systems that I replaced now that we are using multiple cameras outside for security and I noticed it was taking a long time to switch from one camera to the next. The new mesh system took all of about 30 minutes to completely install and needed no special knowledge in advance. Boy, am I glad I did the upgrade.

The cameras come on instantly, streaming video from anywhere is flawless and the management of the network is super easy with the system automating a lot of tasks such as safety and automatically downloading updates which keeps the router safe from outsiders. Here are the three best choices for upgrading your home wireless internet to a smart mesh WiFi system.

Key factors: Ease of use. Fast speed. Wide Range. Price.

 

My favorite pick – best for most

eero 6 dual-band mesh WiFi system

This 3 pack is perfect for most people and my favorite pick for mesh wifi systems.  It has one eero 6 router and two eero 6 extenders to plug in around your home that offers up to 5,000 sq feet of coverage.  The larger your home, the more extenders you can add if needed at a later time.  For example, we run a lot of outdoor wireless security cameras so I added one more in our garage to reach distant outside areas for total WiFi coverage.

The downloaded free eero app is spectacularly easy to use and will let you check signal strength at any point.  If you have kids, there are some parental features to help manage who has access and when.  Since Amazon bought eero, there is a heavy upsell push for the added security subscription which I did not opt into since I already use world-class anti-virus security protection across all devices.

I love that you can set this up and forget it.  eero will fine-tune itself and automatically keep its software updated without you lifting a finger.  This is why we have installed this eero system at our home and also can remote manage the same system at our parents’ house without ever hearing about an internet dead spot or glitch.

Recently, eero announced that with eero Built-in, you can connect compatible Echo Dot and Echo devices to serve as eero mesh Wi-Fi extenders and improve coverage in your home.  This means if you have these devices, you’ll have even more coverage.

How to use your Echo devices to extend more coverage through your home

To use your device as a range extender, you’ll need to have a compatible eero mesh Wi-Fi router.

Note: Before you connect your Echo device with your eero network, complete the following tasks:

  • Download the eero App from Apple App Store and Google Play
  • Install Your eero Network (see video above)
  • Set Up Your Echo Dot:
    • Plug in your Echo Dot device.
    • On your mobile device, open the Alexa app .
    • Open More  and select Add a Device.
    • Select Amazon Echo, and then Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus and more.
    • Follow the instructions to set up your device.

    To connect your Echo Dot 5th Generation device with your eero network:

    1. Open the eero App.
    2. Select Discover.
    3. Select Amazon Connected Home.
    4. Select Connect to Amazon, and follow the instructions for signing in with your Amazon account.
    5. Once you’ve set up Amazon Connected Home with eero, you can now configure your device.
    6. In the eero app, select Discover > Amazon Connected Home > eero Built-in. Turn on the eero Built-in option.
    Note: eero Built-in is compatible with Echo Dot (5th Generation) devices, and Echo (4th Generation).

     

    Get the eero 6 dual-band mesh WiFi system

     


     

    Good pick
    ASUS ZenWiFi AC3000 Tri-band Mesh WiFi System 2 pack

    This is the best runner-up to my top pick for Mesh WiFi Systems.  These two units that come with the ASUS ZenWiFi AC3000 Tri-band Mesh Wifi System are advanced enough to cover up to a 5,400 sq foot home.

    On the pros, it includes lifetime internet security unlike competitors that upsell that option.  Easy setup with the Asus Router App helps guide you to picking the best spot to place them.

    The performance is in the top 5 mesh systems offering fast speeds, a low latency meaning that it’s quick so you will not wait long for video to start streaming for example.  The ASUS ZenWiFi AC3000 Tri-band Mesh Wifi System is available in either White or Charcoal colors is easy to setup and less expensive than most high performing mesh systems.

    Get the ASUS ZenWiFi AC3000 Tri-band Mesh WiFi System 2 pack

     


     

    Low-cost pick

     

    TP-Link Deco S4 Mesh WiFi System 3 pack

    This is a great pick for small families in a large home. The TP-Link Deco S4 Mesh WiFi System covers up to 5,500 sq feet and works with Alexa.  The parental controls are easily controlled on the app.

    This is ideal for a 3 to 5 bedroom home but has some limitations making this better for smaller families since it starts slowing down when the number of connected devices reaches to 50 devices.  That may sound like a high number, but in our home we have over 140 connected devices that range from smart light bulbs, switches, cameras, speakers, doorbells, Peloton bike, TVs etc.

    To setup the TP-Link Deco S4 Mesh WiFi System, download the Deco app and follow the on-screen instructions.

    Get the TP-Link Deco S4 Mesh WiFi System 3 pack

     

    When your home is small, keep it simple with a standard router

    Mesh WiFi routers are more reliable across a large area of space.  When all you need is a simple, single, super fast standard router, these are the top 5 routers picks.


       

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    5 comments

    Peter December 2, 2021 - 1:56 pm
    Thanks for all your great info! My oldest son is also a subscriber to your newsletter. Just wanted to let you know i appreciate all your great info. Peter
    Peggy November 6, 2023 - 3:17 am
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    Kurt Knutsson November 6, 2023 - 10:51 am
    Hi Peggy, please take a look at our tips on how to safeguard your social security number here
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