I’m moving soon to a 2-story 2700sf house. Unfortunately there are very limited internet options and we are going to try to see if we can get on with the 50mb plan from AT&T. The only other option is about 5x the price from Cox. To maximize our chances of success I’m willing to invest in a mesh system.
I’m wondering what is considered the best bang-for-the-buck mesh system. I’ve never had one, but I remember EERO was the new kid on the block a few years ago. Open to any recommendations. Thanks!
I use a Synology RT2600ac with a MR2200 mesh thing and it works well. The MR2200 fixed network issues with my downstairs Apple TV when I was using the RT2600ac alone.
Tangentially related: have you checked for StarLink availability in your area?
Eero works out quite well — from having connection trouble if two people were on video calls at once to having no issues if four people were.
It also makes it really easy to see who’s connected, get IP addresses (useful for SSHing into devices) and so on. You can also pay a monthly fee for some sort of security service (not sure how useful that really is), parental controls, etc.
The app is quite intuitive, and I’ve had success setting it up for other people. The only glitch I’ve run into, with someone else’s setup, is that it became impossible to fix an incorrect email (fixed) address; but it didn’t hurt functionality, and support was incredibly helpful, even on a (US) holiday.
No experience with other mesh networks. But it is worlds better than mucking about with WiFi extenders and so on
I have set up and used (in different homes) two versions of the eero system and the Synology RT2600ac router + additional WAP (wireless access point). Both have worked well.
It would appear that you would have two goals - 1) install enough wifi access points so that wifi signal is adequate throughout the home and 2) maximize available wifi bandwidth among multiple users.
#1 involves physical location of the wifi access points, accounting for distance, obstructions to signal (walls, metal structures, etc.) and interference (neighbors’ wifi signal, microwave ovens, etc.).
#2 (wifi bandwidth) is related to the wifi protocols and number of radios and transmit/receive antennas in your WAPs relative to the number of wifi clients (phones, iPads, laptop computer, IOT devices, etc) in use. Look for specifications such as 2x2, 3x3, Mu-MIMO. Google these if you want to become thoroughly confused
Whichever system you choose could be optimized by connecting the wifi access points by ethernet cable. That way, the backhaul (network traffic back-and-forth between router and WAPs) does not use wifi bandwidth that would otherwise be available to your wifi clients.
Note to add, I don’t use wired backhaul, and my setup works fine. If I were able to wired backhaul, I would have just wired the AppleTV
Running Ookla speed test apps on each device:
|Device / Location
|AppleTV downstairs with MR220ac right behind it
|AppleTV upstairs, closer to RT2600ac
|iMac Pro wired to RT2600ac through 1Gbps switch
Take away: no problems.
Email address, sorry. Eero asks for a phone number and email address, and you can log in with either. In the case I referred to, the email address had a typo, but the phone number still worked.
Yes, agree. Eero network can work well regardless of wifi-connected or ethernet-connected access points, especially if your network is not constrained by overall wifi bandwidth.
I apologize that my point about overall wifi bandwidth was not clearly stated. Three years ago my older v1 eero network appeared to be working well with good wifi signal everywhere in a large home. During the holiday season my four adult children and their families visited. This added greatly to the number of wifi client devices (over 40 total devices, 30+ on wifi). My son complained of slow access for his favorite interactive game, a problem not present during previous visits. The problem was saturation of my wifi bandwidth due to the number of wifi devices active simultaneously. I later upgraded my v1 eero system to v2 (eero Pro) and connected the 3 eero Pros by ethernet. The v2 eero Pro devices contained tri-band radios (two 5-Ghz radios and one 2.4-Ghz radio), compared to the 2-band radios of the v1 eero system. The locations of the eero devices remained the same. The increased available wifi bandwidth due to the tri-band radios and change to wired backhaul dramatically improved network performance when 40+ devices were present.
Bottom line: 2 ways to add wifi bandwidth: Add more radios/antennas or change backhaul to ethernet. Even better, do both if possible.
I’ve used the Eero system for a while, and I’m happy with it. My house is large and dates to the 1800s, so we don’t have a wired backhaul. I have the base station on Ethernet and three wireless beacons, and have no issues with speed or reliability.
I’m installing a similar system for my father-in-law over the holidays. He has a wireless extender from his cable company, and it’s terrible.
I like the data availability that @tf2 mentioned, but I also appreciate how simple the app can be. You can dig deeper or just access it to reset the network.
I will agree with the other postings regarding Eero; it has been, for me, very reliable and it is easy to set up and maintain.
However, I am not sure how mesh or any other internal networking system addresses your internet access situation. If you have 50MB service from ATT, then that is the pipe that controls all internet access from within your house, and you aren’t going to do better regardless of how you establish the internal connectivity. Yes, having a good mesh system in that size house, especially if the house is oddly shaped (eg an L shape with internet coming in at one end of the L so that the far end is a long distance from the router) will help you internal bandwidth and avoid any lags therein, but you are still limited to an aggregate 50MB for your total house download speed.
Although I am now using Eero, I did have a Synology RT2600 at one point for a similar sized house (2600 sq ft plus finished basement) and it worked pretty well as well, but I would agree that at this point its work while going for mesh.
The Eero+ service includes a 1Password Families subscription, a Malwarebytes subscription, and Encrypt.me - an ok VPN. That’s in addition to the extra security you mentioned. The 1Password subscription just about pays for the service.
I upgraded from the 1st gen Eero to the Pro 6. Download speed on the Eero connected to my cable modem went from a max of 700mbps to 950mbps. Wasn’t able to use the speed I was paying for. Currently using the wifi backhaul as we’re doing some renovations and don’t have all cabling run yet.
Eero is having a sale. Been using eero.for several years and has been great.
Netgear Orbi base station + satellite with WiFi 6 has amazing in our home. FWIW, I think your real issue is the 50mb plan. Depending on how many devices are pulling data it won’t matter what WiFi system you use. Spend the money on more bandwidth.