The Nighthawk’s huge size may rival that of your router itself, but it holds two internal Wi-Fi 6 antennas, providing a strong signal and mesh-like blanket of coverage. The EAX20 had no impact on the speed of our control router and combined its Wi-Fi coverage under one network name. Plus, its four ethernet ports allow for multiple devices to hook up to the wired connection. A regular or standalone router is just that, it stands alone, and sends data packets (streaming videos, music, Slack messages, etc.) from a central location in your home to all your wired and wireless (Wi-Fi) devices.
A CNET editor since 2013, Ry’s beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, and home networking. WiFi Your Way™ Home, powered by Plume® HomePass, blankets your entire home with fast, reliable WiFi coverage. The best are often built and produced by the country’s most renowned firms, which is why they frequently have good brand names behind them. These companies devote their time and effort to constantly improving their goods so that customers may be pleased with their performance. It is no surprise that well-known brands are trusted when it comes to buying anything. Customers who have previously purchased a product can provide you with valuable information about what it is like. Customer reviews may be an excellent approach to learn more about a product’s usefulness and quality before spending your money on it.
Not only does the Orbi system offer 6Gbps of total bandwidth, but we found it’s able to maintain these impressive speeds even at the edges of its range. Since a two-unit system will give you 5,000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage , you’ll be sure to see consistently fast speeds anywhere in your home. Each unit also includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports, letting you hardwire in non-Wi-Fi devices. Netgear’s Orbi strikes an almost perfect balance of performance, price, and features among mesh Wi-Fi systems. With only two units, Orbi can provide fast and stable Wi-Fi over an area of up to 5,000 square feet.
For our next testing session, we will be looking at router-sized extenders such as the Asus RP-AC1900 with Wi-Fi 5 support and the Netgear EAX80 with Wi-Fi 6 support. We placed the extender in the converted attic, on the third floor of our test home. It’s about 40 to 45 feet vertically from the base router, through two floors and at least two interior walls, well within the “bubble” of the Wi-Fi signal from the Archer AX50.
When I tested the Eero 6, those two sets of tests produced hugely different results. Part of that is simply because it didn’t happen quite so often, but you can also thank the new support for 160MHz channel width, up from 80MHz last time around. That’s the key part of the Plus pitch, and it means that the system can now move data twice as efficiently to 160MHz-compatible devices, of which there are many. Even without devices like that on your network, you’ll still benefit from the faster connection between the Eero devices themselves.
Another similarity we have found with Google OnHub is the lack of functionality from the USB 2.0. You may ask yourself, how is it better than the classic system of routers, repeaters and access points? Surprisingly, not by much, but it does have a major advantage that may surpass the classic system, and that’s simplicity. The main purpose of the Eero Home WiFi System is to negate those pesky blank spaces in your home where the router WiFi signal just can’t reach, whether because of some thick walls or any other type of interference.
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For past versions of this guide, we tested absolutely every mesh kit we could find—but these days the number of mesh kits is growing, and we’re getting pickier. We researched dual- and tri-band mesh kits from each of the major router manufacturers, including Asus, D-Link, Eero, Netgear, and TP-Link.
- We tested the pack of three and found that since all three nodes have the same processing power, throughput is ultimately faster on an Eero 6+ network compared with the Eero 6.
- So many hotels advertise free WiFi but deliver very slow connections.
- Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, began increasing the load shouldered by our routers — and were quickly joined by Internet of Things devices, ranging from security cameras to smart appliances.
The Eero 6 is an excellent choice for setting up a lag-free Wi-Fi network in a sprawling home. We tested the Eero mesh system all over a three-story house, where it outperformed kits costing two or three times as much.
The web interface is basic and doesn’t add much, so I preferred using the easy-to-use app. However, it’s a little slow to update, and settings are still limited. It didn’t recognize many devices and listed obscure hardware manufacturer names, making it tough to figure out which devices to add to my kid’s profiles. Most of us are stuck with placing a router in a less than optimal spot, depending on where the internet connection comes into the home. By placing a second or third node, you can extend Wi-Fi coverage where you need it. Whether you want to fix a dead spot, deliver a stronger signal into the back bedroom, or have great Wi-Fi in the backyard, a mesh system could be the answer. This is incredibly useful if you have a lot of devices connected to your mesh network, as it can help ensure that everyone stays connected and that your network remains stable.
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We determined our recommendation using the 10 criteria below, drawn from research and extensive testing. We tested for speedy throughput , good coverage in spots around the house, and short latency . We repeated each test set six times and averaged the results to smooth out spikes.
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