Over the last four years, I’ve had ten different mesh systems in my house. Check out my power rankings to see each of the mesh systems that I've tested ranked in order from best to worst. Eero Pro is currently ranked first, while Orbi RBK50 is ranked third.

I’m not a networking expert and there are plenty of flaws in my testing methods. I suggest looking elsewhere if you want data-driven and spec analysis. My comparisons are focused more on ease of use, smart features, and a stable connection without dropouts. Speed and specs are nice, but once you hit a certain level of speed, it’s hard to notice a difference. Your network should operate so well that you forget you have a network. Your devices just work.

My testing process for measuring my download speed numbers:

  • For each test, I unplugged the modem and routers, waited, then plugged the modem and routers back in and waited 10 minutes for the system to configure. I did this to ensure a fresh start and to avoid devices downloading in the background.
  • I measured from ten locations in my house and backyard.
  • I used speedtest.net, with my MacBook Pro, and always connected to the Shrewsbury, MA server.
  • I recorded the download speed for ten different locations on my property.
  • I repeated the process three times per router set.
  • I also tested the range of ONE router (not mesh) to get a baseline of how powerful each router was.

Why your results might differ from mine:

  • Your home’s layout is not identical to mine. Replicating my download numbers would be difficult.
  • My house is 1,200 square feet. I was trying to cover about 3,000 square feet (backyard and deck included).
  • My maximum internet speed is relatively low at 117Mbps. I can’t test or see how the routers would perform on faster networks.

Frustrations:

  • Your devices won’t always connect to the closest node, which is frustrating. To my surprise, the device always makes the WiFi switching decisions, and there’s nothing your router can do.
  • Some iOS devices are even worse at switching properly, but you can fix this by toggling your WiFi on and off.

Placement Rules:

  • Test your WiFi with one router and find where your network starts to degrade
  • Place your second node on the edge of the area where you’re getting max speeds.
  • If you're not getting a great connection in the living room, putting a node in the living room won't help your connection. The nodes need to talk to each other and this signal needs to be as strong as it can be.

FAQs:

  • Mesh systems work with any internet service provider.
  • You can hardwire any of these systems together to create a wired backhaul.
  • If your internet provider gave you a router built into your modem, you'll need to disable the router part or buy a standard modem. As a last resort, you can put your mesh router in "bridge mode," but you’ll lose some functionality.
  • You can create a “guest network” and give it its own name and password that’s separate from your main network.

Ideally, you want the fewest number of nodes to cover your house. The chances of your devices connecting to the wrong node (one further away) increase with each node you add. However, there are exceptions where more nodes are preferable:

  • Tall and narrow houses.
  • Long and narrow houses.
  • Non-cookie cutter houses.