The 5 Best WiFi Mesh Systems for 2022

Having an excellent WiFi connection, no matter where you are in the home, has become a near-essential fact for modern life. It is especially true if you have a large home, have quite a few smart home or internet of things devices installed in the home, or regularly use your laptop or phone in your upstairs bedroom.

And while there have been solutions for this for some time now in the form of extra routers or WiFi range extenders, they are sometimes not enough to provide a truly equal WiFi experience throughout the home. Fortunately for you, if you are having this trouble, there are a wide variety of WiFi mesh systems to choose from that should allow you to get precisely what you want and not have to worry about WiFi for years to come (so long as you have a good ISP and service deal to work from).

How does a WiFi mesh system work? You install a single router in your home, but also have a series of nodes (the number is variable based on your package and needs) that act as relays and effectively create a "mesh" network that ensures the entire home is covered, reducing loading times and ping rate in the process. They are also easily adjustable and expandable if you find you want a bit more coverage.

Here are our top five choices for a system, each filling a niche and priority that some readers will fall into:

1. Best All-Around WiFi Mesh System: Netgear Orbi

If you don't want a specialized WiFi mesh system, want a balanced choice, or simply want to go with our all-around recommendation, we advise you to go with the Netgear Orbi. It is one of the most popular models in the industry with a reputation for excellent speed and reliability. Not only does it use the best technology available (at least at the time of its production), it also uses smart handling of information which makes the most of that technology to provide your home with the best possible experience

Yet there is one other reason we picked it as our all-around option: it is easy to set up and use. In most cases, the process will take you a matter of minutes, and you will be able to control everything from either your phone or browser, just like you can any other smart device. When you get into it, WiFi can be technically complex, but the Orbi makes it easy for you.

So, what does the Netgear Orbi have working inside of it? The router (there are usually two paired devices to start with) will have six antennas, a top performance speed of 552.1 Mbps (more than enough for most homes), a Quad-core ARM 710 MHz processor, four LAN ports and a USB port for wired connections and devices.

Pros:

  • An extremely easy setup and configuration compared to some WiFi mesh systems. You can use either an app or just your internet browser.
  • This is a relatively powerful system to be using, and it is hard to find better specifications for the price.
  • Add-on options and specialized units (for example, outdoor units for backyard coverage) greatly increase the system's versatility.

Cons:

  • The main issue some people might have with the device is that it is larger than most of the competition, and you may struggle to find a place for it in cramped spaces.
  • If you have an extreme need, such as making sure it is low cost or wanting WiFi 6 functionality, there are more specialized options, either within or out of the Orbi line of products, that will be a better fit.
  • It is on the slightly more expensive end for a quality mesh system.

Recommended For:

  • The average user or homeowner who simply wants an equal internet experience throughout the home.
  • People who have a somewhat larger home but do not feel the need to dedicate their entire search around that concept. The two default Orbi devices cover about 5000 square feet (assuming no unusual obstacles to the signal, and an additional device can add another 2000 square feet to that for an added cost.

2. Best WiFi Mesh System for Larger Homes: Linksys Velop

Often the need for a WiFi mesh system in the first place comes from having a larger home that a basic router cannot cover. Yet there are still homes that might need a little something extra, perhaps to minimize the number of nodes or reach additional areas outdoors (maybe a small study shed in the backyard). For these circumstances, we recommend the Linksys Velop, which uses three default units (with additional units available for expansion, of course) to provide coverage of over 6000 square feet, which will be more than most people need.

Compared to the Orbi and other mesh systems listed here, the router does not need to be in a central location. Each device can relay clearly to the next one, allowing for a much wider array of configurations and removing some potential problems with setup and configuration.

The Linksys Velop has a quad-core ARM 710 MHz processor, 512 MB memory, and 4GB of storage. It can provide download speeds of at least 500 Mbps. It has six antennas inside of it and uses an 802.11ac/tri-band router-extender kit.

Pros:

  • For what you are getting, the price is low by today's standards (the set was originally on the more expensive side), making additional units more feasible.
  • It does not matter so much the shape your home is, you should be able to configure the mesh network so that you have coverage wherever you need it.
  • A low falloff rate which is precisely what you need from a long-distance focused mesh network.

Cons:

  • It isn't necessarily as fast or reliable as some of the other (although notably more expensive) choices on this list. However, it should still make most families perfectly happy with their choice, particularly if they are upgrading from an older router.
  • There are no USB ports on any of the devices, making connecting some devices more difficult.
  • Some households, especially smaller ones, won't need everything on offer and wouldn't need all three devices.

Recommended For:

  • People who have a lot of land to cover and don't want to use many extensions of one of the other systems to make up the difference in providing their property with internet coverage.
  • People who do not mind sacrificing a little bit of performance for a consistent experience across a larger area than usual.
  • People who, for most of the time, won't be using devices right next to the router.

3. Best High-End WiFi Mesh System: Netgear Orbi 6

While you might get sick of hearing about variations of the Netgear Orbi on this list, we nonetheless find that the company often has the best mesh system routers available, and has truly established itself as a dominant force in the industry. What we are talking about here is their most advanced and modern model, the Netgear Orbi 6. If you are looking for one of the best routers you can get without considering price or necessity, you do not need to look any further.

The sturdy yet sleek design of the device lets it have 4 LAN ports for easy access. Naturally, its main attraction is its use of WiFi 6 technology (802.11ax), the cutting edge, and the fastest option available. So much so that many devices aren't even equipped with it yet.

As of writing this, it costs most consumers about $700 for the modem, with additional costs for mesh network nodes and any additional setup costs. The wireless speeds can reach over 750 Mbps depending on distance (more than your household will likely ever need.) The device has 1GB of RAM, a Quad-Core 2.2GHz processor, and 512MB NAND Flash Memory, all of which are far above the average router or mesh system.

Pros:

  • The mesh system is simply the best option if you have WiFi 6 enabled devices and want to make the most of the new generation of technology. The hardware is a generation beyond anything you might be used to.
  • Like all Netgear Orbi model variations, the setup and configuration are extremely easy.
  • By default, it is a two-device system that can handle the needs of most larger homes. It is unlikely you will need additional nodes.

Cons:

  • It is obviously expensive, and most households probably won't get too much added value from it beyond what they could get from our all-around or even low-cost recommendations.
  • The Netgear Orbi 6 will not be able to get the most out of many internet connections. It will not magically make a 25 or 100 Mbps service package any better. It also does not have as much use if you do not have any WiFi 6 devices.
  • It lacks a few functions or ports, such as USB ports (unfortunate for those who would like to connect a printer directly) or built-in parental control options that might come standard in other mesh routers.

Recommended For:

  • People who want their households to be on the cutting edge or have an internet setup that requires the absolute best home network they can get working. This is the mesh system you get to future proof your setup.
  • Power users who do not want their system ever to fail and want it to provide the best possible experience.
  • Households who do not mind spending nearly $1000 on a mesh network, if you include extra nodes in the package.

4. Best Value WiFi Mesh System: Google Nest

It was actually a tough call between the Google Nest and Netgear Orbi for our all-around recommendation. However, even though there are some cheaper options for a mesh router, we still think the Google Nest is the best option for the money given its functionality, ease of use, and ability to connect to additional services. Lauded at release for being one of the best options available when it first came out, it remains an excellent option for many households.

And naturally, being a Google product, it comes included with Google voice assistant and can easily hook you up to other Google services and features. If you already have Google as a major part of your life, choosing Google Nest might make things even easier for you on top of the value you are getting.

Google Nest WiFi comes in packages of different numbers of nodes (on top of the main router). It will be able to automatically choose for you whether your device would do best with a 2.4GHz connection or a 5GHz connection. Speakers and voice assistant features are included, but the sound quality is not as good as dedicated or more specialized devices. There is a LAN port in the router, and the system can handle up to 100 connected devices. Google Nest has 1 GB of ram and 4 GB of flash memory.

Pros:

  • Connectivity and integration with Google services and devices.
  • More coverage with fewer devices than previous models and systems would be able to offer.
  • Excellent coverage and consistency even throughout a larger home.

Cons:

  • When compared to absolute low-cost options, it is still relatively expensive. Still, some more expensive range extenders and routers might do better than cheaper or minimalistic mesh systems sold at a price point below Google Nest.
  • While remaining excellent, Google Nest is not necessarily the most cutting edge mesh system available, which means it may get outdated faster (although this won't be a concern for years).
  • There is no WiFi 6 support.

Recommended For:

  • People who want one of the simplest and easiest mesh systems to integrate into their lives.
  • People who want a great all-around system but were not interested in the Netgear Orbi mesh system.
  • People who want to have a cheaper system but also want to have lasting value from it.

5. Best Multipurpose WiFi Mesh System: Netgear Orbi Voice

There are many reasons to want a mesh system, and for the most basic needs, most systems on the market will do the trick. But what if you want something more, or do not want too many extra devices cluttering up your home despite your love of the high-tech? In that case, we recommend the Netgear Orbi Voice for your household. It provides all the functions of the Netgear Orbi (although perhaps not those of the more advanced models) while also adding speakers and a microphone to the system and Alexa voice control.

This, of course, adds many possibilities, making it an internet access point in its own right and making it easy to get. If you do not have a device like the Amazon Echo or Google Home already, then the Netgear Orbi Voice might kill two birds with one stone for you.

In terms of specs, the Orbi Voice has a peak 802.11ac performance of 607.2 Mbps, a router range of 105 feet (naturally expanded by the number of nodes you use), and six antennas. It is a somewhat larger device (8.6 x 6.5 x 4.8 inches), so you'll need to make sure to give it a dedicated space.

Pros:

  • More functionality, and thus for much more value than most other WiFi mesh systems available, at least for the price point.
  • A better choice for those used to perhaps more complicated setups and smart homes that can get the most out of the voice controls.
  • The Orbi line, in general, has developed an easy setup process in itself, and the voice controls only add a few minutes to that process. Online configuration with additional nodes and setting up your network is similarly straightforward.

Cons:

  • It is not a particularly useful device or good choice for any household that already has a smart home or smart speaker setup.
  • The speakers are not as high quality as you would find from a more dedicated device or sound system.
  • There are no jacks or ports to connect wired sound systems to the device.

Recommended For:

  • Those who want some multifunctionality in their WiFi Mesh system.
  • Those who might use their mesh system for entertainment purposes.
  • Any household that is open to experimenting with something a bit different who have not already dived into this trend.

Conclusion

Selecting and installing a WiFi mesh system can be a major investment of both time and money for some families, so we want to make sure that you do not have any doubts about your selection. We hope that one of the above selections is a good choice for you, and we hope that you also note that the market keeps changing and the technology keeps getting better, so even if you decide that a mesh network isn't for you at the moment, it might be great for you next year or beyond.

InternetAdvisor Team

We are passionate about aggregating large, accurate data sets and providing it all to our users in an easy-to-use format. Simply put, shopping is easier for the consumer when he/she knows all available options. We are not beholden to any single provider and therefore are dedicated to transparency and giving you unbiased information on all providers.

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