Which Mesh Wi-Fi System Should I Buy?

If you’ve decided to make your next home Wi-Fi system a Mesh one, it’s worth knowing the pros and cons of each solution on the market. 

[Related: Mesh Wi-Fi vs Traditional Routers: Which Is Better?]

Here’s what you need to know before buying in:

TP-Link Deco

Credit: TP-Link

TP-Link currently offer three Whole Home Wi-Fi packages:

  • The TP-Link Deco M4 (2-pack)

  • The TP-Link Deco M5 (3-pack)

  • The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus (available either as a single unit or 2-pack)

Speed

  • The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus supports tri-band Wi-Fi speeds of up to 2134Mbps.
  • The TP-Link Deco M5 boasts dual-band Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1267Mbps.
  • The TP-Link Deco M4 offers dual-band Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1167 Mbps.

Coverage

A pair of TP-Link Deco M9 Plus nodes can deliver Wi-Fi to an area of up to 420 square metres. While a Deco M5 single pack delivers up to 140 square metres of coverage, the full trio offers up to 420 square meters of Wi-Fi coverage. Finally, The TP-Link Deco M4 two-pack offers Wi-Fi connectivity of up to 260 square meters.

The coverage of all three Deco units is also expandable via additional nodes.

Connectivity

  • The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus supports up to 100 concurrent devices.
  • The TP-Link Deco M5 supports up to 100 concurrent devices.
  • The TP-Link Deco M4 supports up to 100 concurrent devices.

Software Features

The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus features a built-in ZigBee smart hub plus integration with TP-Link HomeCare. Powered by Trend Micro, this software offers built-in antivirus and powerful parental controls that allow you to limit online time and block inappropriate content on a per-user (or per-device) basis. There are also several quality-of-service features that allow you to prioritise devices and applications for faster performance when needed.

The TP-Link Deco M5 and M4 feature most of the same functionality, minus the built-in smart home hub.  

Australian Pricing

  • The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus has a recommended retail price of $549.95.
  • The TP-Link Deco M5 has a recommended retail price of $349.95.
  • The TP-Link Deco M4 has a recommended retail price of $229.95.

Google Nest Wi-Fi

nest-wifi-primary-100818475-orig.jpgCredit: Google
nest-wifi-primary-100818475-orig.jpg

The Google Nest Wi-Fi is Google's second-generation mesh Wi-Fi solution, it was introduced alongside the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL in October 2019.

Speed

Like the original Google Wi-Fi, Nest Wi-Fi is a dual-band AC1200 router, so it offers speeds of up to about 1200Mbps.

Coverage

Google say that Nest Wi-Fi router has a range of approximately 200 square meters on its own with additional nodes increasing the possible range of the system by another 150 square meters.

Connectivity

The Google Nest Wi-Fi is ready to handle up to 200 connected devies on its own. Adding extra satellite units  increases that limit by about 100 connected device per node.

Software Features

The setup experience for the Nest Wi-Fi system is tightly tied into the newly redesigned Google Home app. In addition to letting you manage your smart speakers and other smart gadgets, this app now lets you easily manage your home network, share a guest password and even remotely control other Nest Wi-Fi networks remotely - so long as things are all neatly tied to your Google account.

Pricing

In Australia, pricing for the Nest Wi-Fi starts at AU$399 for the standard two-pack. There's also a larger three-pack that includes the router and two nodes available for AU$549.

You can read our full review of the Nest Wi-Fi here.

D-Link Covr

Credit: D-Link

D-Link currently offers two mesh Wi-Fi systems:

  • The D-Link Covr C-1203 Seamless Dual-Band Wi-Fi system

  • The D-Link Covr C-2202 Seamless Tri-Band Wi-Fi system

Speed

  • The D-Link Covr C-1203 Seamless Dual Band Wi-Fi system supports speeds of up to 1200Mbps.
  • The D-Link Covr C-2202 Seamless Tri-Band Wi-Fi System supports speeds of up to 2200 Mbps.

Coverage

The Covr C-1203 Seamless Dual Band triple-pack offers network coverage of up to 465 square metres.

By contrast, the more-powerful (and expensive) Covr C-2202 Tri-Band system offers network coverage of 560 square meters using just two nodes.

Software Features

Both the Covr C-1203 and C-2202 are integrated with the D-Link Wi-Fi app. This allows network administrators to use parental controls to see what devices are connected to Covr, schedule when devices can be used, create a guest login for when you have visitors, and block any devices you don’t know.

Pricing

  • The D-Link Covr C-1203 Seamless Dual-Band Wi-Fi system has a recommended retail price of $399.95.
  • The D-Link Covr C-2202 Seamless Tri-Band Wi-Fi system has a recommended retail price of $499.95.

Next Page: Netgear Orbi, Linksys Velop & Which Mesh Wi-Fi System Should You Buy

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Netgear Orbi

Credit: Netgear

Netgear offer one of the largest ranges of Mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market, with a total of six different mesh routers and four satellite / range extender units currently available.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the former:

  • Orbi Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System - AKA the RBK20

  • Netgear Orbi Home Mesh Wi-Fi System 3-Pack - AKA the RBK23

  • Orbi Wi-Fi System AC3000 - AKA the RBK50

  • Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi System with Orbi Voice Smart Speaker - AKA the RBK50V

  • Orbi Pro - AKA the SRK60

  • The Orbi AC2200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router - AKA the RBR20

Speed

  • The Orbi RBK20 is a tri-band Wi-Fi system that offers theoretical maximum combined speeds of up to 2200 Mbps.

  • The Orbi RBK23 is a tri-band Wi-Fi system that offers theoretical maximum combined speeds of up to 2200 Mbps.

  • The Orbi RBK50 is a tri-band Wi-Fi system that offers theoretical maximum combined speeds of up to 2200 Mbps.

  • The Orbi RBK50V is a tri-band Wi-Fi system that offers theoretical maximum combined speeds of up to 2200 Mbps.

  • The Orbi SKR60 is a tri-band Wi-Fi system that theoretical maximum combined speeds of up to 3000 Mbps.

  • The Orbi RBR20 is a tri-band Wi-Fi system that offers theoretical maximum combined speeds of up to 2200 Mbps.

Coverage

  • The Orbi RBK20 relies on two nodes out of the box, and offers coverage of up to 280 square meters.

  • The Orbi RBK23 uses three nodes out of the box, and offers coverage of up to 555 square meters.

  • The Orbi RBK50 is based around two nodes (one router and one satellite), and offers 465 square meters of coverage.

  • The Orbi RBK50V is a two-node system that offers 415 square meters of coverage.

  • The Orbi SKR60 is a two node system that offers coverage for up to approximately 465 square meters.

  • The Orbi RBR20 relies on a single node, and offers coverage of up to 185 square meters.

Connectivity

Regardless of the model, Netgear generally advise that their Orbi home Wi-Fi systems will offer the “best performance” for up to 50 devices concurrently. You can go beyond that, but individual device performance may be affected.

Software Features

Courtesy of a software update, almost every Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi router now features Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration. They also features smart parental controls (powered by Circle by Disney) via the main Orbi app and built-in cybersecurity via the Bitdefender powered Netgear Armor app (this feature is not found in the RBK20, RBK23 and RBR20).

Satellites

Netgear also allow users to expand an existing Orbi network through a range of Wi-Fi satellite / range extender products.

  • The Netgear Orbi Whole Home AC2200 Tri-band WiFi System Satellite (AKA the RBS20) is priced at an Australian RRP of $229. It supports maximum Wi-Fi speeds of up to 2200Mbps, and offers coverage of up to 185 square meters.

  • The Netgear Orbi Voice Add-on WiFi System Satellite and Smart Speaker (AKA the RBS40V) is priced at an Australian RRP of $499. It supports maximum Wi-Fi speeds of up to 2200Mbps, and offers coverage of up to 185 square meters.

  • The Netgear Orbi Outdoor AC3000 WiFi Mesh Extender & Add-on Satellite (AKA the RBS50Y) is priced at an Australian RRP of $499. It supports maximum Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3000Mbps, and offers coverage of up to 230 square meters.

  • The Netgear Orbi Pro - AC3000 Tri-band Mesh Ceiling Add-on System Satellite (AKA the SRS20) is priced at an Australian RRP of $549. It supports maximum Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3000Mbps, and offers coverage of up to 230 square meters.

Pricing

  • The Netgear Orbi RBR20 has a recommended retail price of $229.
  • The Netgear Orbi RBK20 has a recommended retail price of $369.
  • The Netgear Orbi RBK23 has a recommended retail price of $499.
  • The Netgear Orbi RBK50 has a recommended retail price of $599.
  • The Netgear Orbi RBK50V has a recommended retail price of $799.
  • The Netgear Orbi SRK60 has a recommended retail price of $849.

Linksys Velop

Credit: Linksys

In Australia, Linksys offers three Mesh Wi-Fi packages:

  • The Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh Wi-Fi System, 3 Pack (AC3900)

  • The Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh Wi-Fi System, Tri-Band, 2-Pack (AC4400)

  • The Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh Wi-Fi System, Tri-Band, 3-Pack (AC6600)

Speed

The Linksys Velop AC3900 is only a dual-band system, so it offers a maximum theoretical throughput of 1300 Mbps per node. Meanwhile, the Linksys Velop AC4400 system is a beefy tri-band system with maximum theoretical throughput of 4400Mbps.

Finally, the Linksys Velop AC6600 is a tri-band system that tops out the range with a super high throughput of 6600Mbps.

Coverage

  • The Linksys Velop AC3900 is a three node system that offers up to 420 square meters of coverage.
  • The Linksys Velop AC4400 system is a two node system that offers up to 370 square meters of coverage.
  • The Linksys Velop AC6600 system is a three node system that offers up to 555 square meters of coverage.

Connectivity

Linksys say that each Velop device can handle up to a maximum of 32 clients per node.

Software Features

Each Linksys Velop mesh Wi-Fi system comes integrated with the Linksys app. This application allows you to have control over guest access, parental controls and device prioritisation. You can also integrate your mesh system with Alexa, and to easily monitor your internet connection’s speed using the speed test function.

Pricing

  • The Linksys Velop AC3900 has a recommended retail price of $399.
  • The Linksys Velop AC4400 has a recommended retail price of $499
  • The Linksys Velop AC6600 has a recommended retail price of $649.

Google Wi-Fi

Credit: Google

Google's first mesh Wi-Fi system called Google Wi-Fi.

Speed

The Google Wi-Fi system is a dual-band AC1200 router, so it offers speeds of up to about 1200Mbps.

Coverage

According to the company, a single Google Wi-Fi node will offer up to 85 square meters of coverage. Adding a second node boosts that to 170 square meters.

Having a third node allows you to go beyond that. However, Google don’t explicitly state any sort of theoretical max range.

Connectivity

Google has not disclosed a specific limit for how many concurrent devices can connect to a Google Wi-Fi mesh system before they begin to infringe upon one another.

Software Features

Using the Google Wi-Fi app, network administrators are able to schedule a regular Wi-Fi pause on any connected devices, and for net-wary parents, block access to any explicit websites.

Pricing

A three-pack of Google Wi-Fi nodes is priced at $199, including GST.

Which Mesh Wi-Fi System Should I Buy?

The short version is that you should buy the Mesh Wi-Fi system that makes the most sense for your home network. However, our above breakdowns do reveal and highlight a few things:

  • Users focused on the best speed should opt for one of Netgear’s Orbi routers.

  • Users keen to get the widest amount of coverage should look at Linksys or D-Link’s offerings.

  • If you’re looking to tie together your local network with any ZigBee “smart things”, the Deco M9 Plus is the way to go.

  • Users who require a mesh system capable of dealing with more than fifty devices at once are best served looking at TP-Link’s Deco range.

  • Users who want to invest in mesh Wi-Fi at the lowest cost possible should look at Google Wi-Fi.