If you need to improve or expand your WiFi coverage, you have two options. The first is an extender; The second is a mesh router. An extender, also called a repeater, retransmits the data stream of your WLAN. A mesh router acts as a Wi-Fi hub in every room where you place it.
Both options improve a weak connection over a wide area, but mesh routers are better for a full exchange and are generally easier to set up. Here's a list of the best in the market today, starting with Nest's superb app-managed mesh routers.
Best mesh router
The Nest Wi-Fi system is a mesh Wi-Fi solution that offers aC2200 speed for large spaces. Two models can cover up to 400 feet when connected, and you can make the system bigger or smaller depending on the number of units you buy. We liked Google's first attempt at using mesh Wi-Fi because of its ease of use. However, Nest Wi-Fi makes it even easier to set up and manage the router, especially if you have experience with the Google Home app.
You are smart too. In particular, they have speakers and include Google Assistant so you can give them voice commands and use them throughout the day (unlike most routers that only sit there). The speakers aren't big enough for impressive music, but they're great for changing your schedule or getting updates and answers to your questions. If you have other Nest or Google Assistant devices at home, you can also control them through these routers. See our full review for more details.
Note that depending on the space you want to cover, you can buy between one and three units.
Samsung SmartThings Mesh Router
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Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi is a mesh router and a smart device controller in one. A single device can cover approximately 1,500 square feet, while three properly positioned devices can cover approximately 4,500 square feet. The Smart Hub home technology supports more than 100 devices and can be particularly useful for those who have a mix of different old and new smart devices in the home: It supports ZigBee, Z-Wave and cloud-to-cloud communication technologies.
Like Google Wi-Fi, the Samsung router also has adaptive channel switching to find the best connection for devices. However, the smart home controls require micromanagement of apps and some research. For example, while the router works with other SmartThings devices, it does not work with Samsung Connect Home devices, etc. Before you buy, make sure you know what is supported.
Eero Home Wi-Fi system
The Eero-Mesh router system uses a primary router hub and two “beacons” to expand the network over a larger area that is ultimately wide enough to comfortably cover a two to four bedroom home. You can also add additional beacons for even larger areas, which can even serve as night light if required. The second generation of the system also received speed increases and compatibility with other services such as Alexa for control (thanks to Amazon's current ownership of the company, an optional package comes with a free Echo Dot). The Eero app is also very easy to use and makes setting up child's play.
We also appreciated security features like one-time passwords for restricted app access, the ability to quickly pause the Internet for parental controls, and only the permissible WPA2 encryption. The package includes a free subscription year for Eero Plus, which offers even more security features such as browser filters. This is a nice family option, but it adds cost to the router if there are cheaper options for parental controls.
The set of three TP-Link Deco devices can expand a wireless network up to 4500 square meters and connect more than 100 devices at the same time, which can be a nice feature for a public or business environment. The control options also offer numerous customization options, including device prioritization, Internet content filtering, and Wi-Fi pause for children. If the Deco is left to its own devices, it uses adaptive routing to choose the fastest connection for devices, based on availability. You also get Trend Micro antivirus free for three years. All in all, it is one of the best packages for companies that want to offer their customers reliable WiFi.
Ubiquiti Amplifi HD Wi-Fi system
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Amplifi comes with a main router hub that has a very nifty round screen that shows your current router speeds and other useful information at a glance. Then two antenna-shaped “mesh points” are used to expand the network even further – up to an impressive 10,000 square feet for particularly large rooms. The network points use a very practical set of LEDs to indicate the signal strength so that you can choose the best places for placement. If you are a big fan of information on the device, this system has your back – but there is also a simple app that you can use for setup and management.
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Orbi's mesh network offers a variety of packages with a different number of router devices: three of them – a hub and two similar satellites – will cover an impressive area of 7500 square meters. NetGear also uses its router experience to load the mesh network with additional features. The tri-band router uses a dedicated backhaul connection to keep the speed high even when the network is busy. It has built-in free anti-virus and data theft prevention. You also get compatibility with Alexa and Echo devices. However, these features result in a higher price than other available systems.