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Old 06-10-17, 12:09 PM   #1
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Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

While I like my Asus RT-AC68U router, I am interested in getting a "mesh" router system so I can roam all over the house without loss of signal quality.

Right now, I'm down to two choices: Netgear Orbi or Linksys Velop, since both are highly rated and are relatively easy to set up. I would consider the mesh systems from Google, Eero and TP-Link, but I'm not sure if I want to be completely reliant on a phone app to make everything work. And I've heard some mixed reviews of the Amplifi HD mesh system, too.

So any suggestions?
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Old 06-10-17, 08:14 PM   #2
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Orbi seems to be the winner, I also like the Amplifi HD.
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Old 06-10-17, 09:20 PM   #3
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

One of the complaints about the Orbi is that it doesn't have an app for set-up.
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Old 06-11-17, 12:20 AM   #4
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psi View Post
One of the complaints about the Orbi is that it doesn't have an app for set-up.
According to the Netgear Orbi setup guide, you need to install the Netgear Orbi app on your iPhone or Android Phone and follow the instructions on the app once you connect up the first router box.
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Old 06-11-17, 01:51 PM   #5
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

I went back and re-checked. You are correct. There is a phone app, but it is very basic. For more detailed configuration and monitoring of your system, you would have to go to the web site. Here is a youtube discussion of it:


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Old 06-11-17, 03:02 PM   #6
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

I plan to put an Orbi in my new house, I will let you all know in about a month how it works out
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Old 06-12-17, 09:34 AM   #7
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

I've been using the Luma system for a few months and haven't had any major issues. My brother runs the eero system.
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Old 06-12-17, 10:11 AM   #8
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

One thing is clear, the names these companies are coming up with are terrible
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Old 06-13-17, 04:58 AM   #9
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

You've got an RT-AC68U, so that's plenty of power output at each antenna chain (up to 770 mW on 2.4 GHz and up to 960 mW at 5.8 GHz). What I did with mine was get a Y cable with RPSMA connectors threaded on 2 of the antenna ports, connected that to a 4 way splitter operating between 2.4 GHZ and 6 GHz, and then send the WiFi signals over my condo's coaxial cables to each room with an outlet. There I use F adapters for WiFi antennas to thread the antennas on the outlets. So that basically turns the whole house into a distributed antenna. I haven't had any problems with dead zones since.

Some reviews of meshes like Eero and Google Wifi say they're "not fast enough for bandwidth-heavy local tasks" and say the satellite units have slower ping speeds. For $300, $400, $500, you're paying way too much to not get full throughput. And the other problem with meshes and extenders is that the command channel between the AP units gets severed all the time. You shut a door and the channel drops; your neighbor switches from channel 6 to 11 and the channel drops, etc. Then you need to resync the whole setup. For $300-$500, I'd want it to be effortless.

So what I did, reusing my RT-AC68U and just picking up a few components on eBay, cost me around $80 at the time. I see there's a kit called Coaxifi (WiFi over coax) that has everything included for $59, so that's what, maybe 7 times less than what the average mesh costs. Maybe you could try that out and also try out a mesh (within the return window, of course) and see what works better. I'm happy with my setup and haven't needed to fiddle with it once.

I do suspect that the companies making these mesh systems (and their precious, trendy names) decided that they needed a way to pitch home WiFi gear to women to really make money hand over fist. Case in point is Plume - yes, they make little Faberge egg-style repeaters that come in different colors ("champagne," "silver," "onyx"). It's like popping pills: "Still doesn't work? Buy a half dozen more!" Never mind the fact that passing off a WiFi signal between five APs like the Harlem Globetrotters is a surefire way of causing packets to drop, and won't help at all if the coverage problem has to do with obstructions between the walls of a house. Comcast just invested millions in Plume, so now that whole project sounds a bit like Skynet from Terminator.

Last edited by kaniel; 06-13-17 at 05:09 AM. Reason: More info
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Old 06-15-17, 08:17 PM   #10
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Kaniel, that's why I'm favoring the Netgear Orbi. With good reason: the communication between the units are done on a dedicated channel separate from the standard 2.4 and 5.0 GHz WiFi channels, which means very close to full performance.
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Old 06-16-17, 12:23 PM   #11
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Looking at SmallNetBuilder's tests, Orbi outclasses Amplifi, eero and Luma in backhaul between the extenders by a wide margin for the reason you point out. It still attenuates fairly rapidly over distance (as the RBK50 has a huge aluminum heatsink under the hood), but makes a good choice in lieu of using distributed antennas over cable. The only other improvement Orbi could benefit from would be 802.11r for seamless roaming from AP to AP as you move through the house.
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Old 06-16-17, 03:23 PM   #12
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

I like the idea of the Orbi but Netgear firmware is always a mess. I bought the system as a house warming gift for a family member. Damn thing keeps kicking devices offline. Apparently it's a known issue for months.

Last edited by Kdogg; 06-16-17 at 05:39 PM.
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