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Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

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

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Old 09-14-18, 05:01 PM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

So... after moving from an apartment to a house (ironic, given my exact comments in this router recommendation thread, i'm looking at improving wireless coverage over my trusty Netgear R6400 router.

Anyone have new or additional feedback on mesh products? I'm leaning towards Amplifi HD, although a little surprised that there hasn't been any new hardware from them in a couple years so I wonder if anything is coming down the pipe from Ubiquiti.
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Old 09-14-18, 07:48 PM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

About two months ago I bought the NETGEAR Orbi Home Mesh WiFi System | 3-Pack Wall-Plug Version (RBK33):

Amazon Amazon

I love this thing. It solved all my WiFi problems. I get about a 95% signal throughout the entire house. And the software is very easy to use.

It's cheaper than the RBK50 model, and there's a $30 coupon at Amazon. I think I paid around $260+tax. I was worried that the RBK33 doesn't have ethernet ports on the satellites. But the WiFi signal is so strong, I don't need it.
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Old 09-14-18, 08:34 PM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Orbi is the other leading candidate for me, with it leading in performance in most of the reviews i've read with just people reporting random firmware bugs. I also like the dedicated wireless backhaul, ability to do a wired ethernet backhaul, and management with a traditional web GUI rather then a phone app.
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Old 09-15-18, 10:02 AM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

I've had the Orbi for about a year and before we got it there would be dead zones all over the place and the complaining was rampant . Now we have coverage everywhere and I've heard no complaining at all. Was well worth it for me
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Old 09-15-18, 11:48 AM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

I have had a two-unit Linksys Velop for a year now. Set-up is easy, and speed and coverage are good (two-story home, main router in a remote downstairs closet).

Keep in mind that there are tri-band and dual band mesh routers, and a big price difference, around $100, between the 2 types. It's easy to get confused between all the different models these companies sell. Get tri-band if you want to make a safe choice, but I really think it's overkill for most people.
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Old 09-17-18, 09:51 AM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

I did install an Orbi like I said I was a few posts up.

I love it!!!

My 3000 sq ft house now has strong enough coverage to stream HD video everywhere without any pauses or hesitations, etc. Also signal falls into the backyard nicely from the upper level Orbi. (I am not worried about neighbors and signal, I don't have many neighbors)

I have had it installed for about 8 months now. It is flawless and invisible to me and my needs, it just always works.

In Power Outages it recovers perfectly without having to touch it
In cable provider / ISP type service outages, it notifies via pink ring on top that service is down, then immediately reconnects when the ISP restores service.

Both of these have happened to me multiple times while the Orbi has been in use. My old router (which I think was a Netgear 6400) would not always reconnect properly.

This is great when I am away from home, my wife and kids have no clue about how to fix anything, even a router power on / off is a painful phone call.
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Old 09-17-18, 10:29 AM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Originally Posted by General Zod View Post
I've had the Orbi for about a year and before we got it there would be dead zones all over the place and the complaining was rampant . Now we have coverage everywhere and I've heard no complaining at all. Was well worth it for me
Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
I did install an Orbi like I said I was a few posts up.
Which versions did you guys get?

I'm now debating if i should get the RBK33 version that TheBigDave mentioned or just get the RBK50. I have Cat5e ran in the house to various rooms, so I was thinking about doing the RBK50 since the Orbi now supports an ethernet backhaul and I can use the integrated ethernet ports in both the main router and satellite for wired connectivity to a bunch of my devices and avoid using switches while still boosting wireless coverage, but I also don't do that much internal traffic other then basic streaming and some smart home devices so I can probably get by with something cheaper/simpler like the wireless plug in satellites.

And yet... the Amplifi HD is so small, sleek, and pretty that I could just tuck it away...

Last edited by fumanstan; 09-17-18 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 09-17-18, 01:07 PM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Hardware Version RBR50
Satellite RBS50

Router Firmware Version
V2.1.4.10

I know there is newer firmware, but everything is working so perfectly, I don't want to mess with it until I am sure I have a couple hours free just in case.
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Old 10-02-18, 11:57 PM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Ended up getting a refurbished Netgear Orbi RBK50 when EBay had their 15% off coupon last week, getting it for just over $200. I set it up today, used the same SSID as I had before so most of my smart home devices automatically reconnected. The router and satellite are much taller then I expected, which kind of makes me wish I got a smaller/sleeker device just for aesthetics, but that's a small complaint.

So far so good, as mentioned before my satellite is using a wired backhaul for more stable and maximum throughput, and helps me keep my desktop and game consoles using wired connections. My office, which previously had poor wireless connectivity now has the satellite in it and I get max bandwidth from Spectrum.

Hopefully everything remains stable, but happy so far.
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Old 10-03-18, 11:17 AM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

did you end up with just the router and one satellite? Its enough to cover your entire house? Is your house 2 story?
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Old 10-03-18, 12:42 PM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Originally Posted by DaveNinja View Post
did you end up with just the router and one satellite? Its enough to cover your entire house? Is your house 2 story?
Yeah, the standard RBK50 system with 1 router and 1 satellite. I have a 2 story ~2200 square foot house. Did speed tests in various areas of the house, and rooms that previously dropped to under 20 Mbps are basically getting my full 100 Mbps ISP bandwidth over WiFi now.
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Old 10-04-18, 11:08 AM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Cool. We're adding a second story bedroom to our house so maybe I'll get an Orbi and put the router on the second floor, back of the house and the satellite in the first story living room in the front of the house. They will be connected via ethernet to my fios box.

my brother in law has a Ubiquiti router with a couple access points set up in his house. the interface for the router on the phone was pretty cool. it could tell the amount of traffic from each device on the network to and from websites.
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Old 10-04-18, 12:15 PM
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Re: Best mesh Wi-Fi router system?

Yeah, I dig a lot of the Ubiquiti stuff and was tempted to go that route, since I have a background in networking. I decided my house didn't need the complexity and part of the reason I liked the Orbi was getting additional wired connections on the satellite versus just standing up access points.
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