5 Best WiFi 6 Whole Home Mesh Network Systems in 2022
Updated: Apr 14
It's taken six iterations, but those promoting wireless networking have finally realized that many of the people buying it do not understand, or want to, the differences between IEEE 802.11n and IEEE 802.11ax, or any other designations like that.
Their solution is to rebrand the latest wireless standards to be ‘Wi-Fi 5’ and ‘Wi-Fi 6’ so that the non-technical consumers have a better understanding of why they might buy the latest equipment. What this entirely ignores is that some of the wireless networking standards have a specifically different purpose, and it is not about them being a bigger or smaller number at all.
What's the advantage of having mesh systems?
Not everybody needs to extend their Wi-Fi network. Even if you live in a huge, three-story home, you may find that a good midrange or high-end router will cover your entire house. That said, if your dwelling has dense walls (like plaster, steel, and cement), long hallways, and/or lots of air-conditioning ductwork, your Wi-Fi may become obstructed to the point where you can't get a strong signal (or any signal at all) in certain rooms.
Before mesh routers, if you wanted to extend your Wi-Fi coverage to areas of your home that your router couldn't reach, your choices were limited to setting up an access point or purchasing a range extender. For some, setting up an access point is out of the question, as it requires running cables. Range extenders are wireless and fairly easy to configure, but their signal output is typically half as strong as the signal coming from your router.
The latest crop of mesh routers utilize mesh networking to extend your Wi-Fi signal. In a nutshell, a mesh router communicates directly with clients in the same way as a traditional router, but it uses nodes (or mesh points) that communicate with each other to provide coverage throughout your home.
The biggest advantage of using mesh nodes rather than an extender is that the nodes are all part of the same network and provide seamless connectivity as you roam around the house, and do not need any configuration or management. Most range extenders, on the other hand, create a secondary Wi-Fi network that requires some degree of management and must be logged into for Wi-Fi access.
We looked at all the whole-home mesh network systems that work with Wi-Fi 6 and listed out the best ones. These devices all work very fast with each Wi-Fi connection and are ideal for domestic as well as office use. We've looked at several good gaming routers in the past - how do you think they will compare to these mesh systems?
Netgear Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6
But for those that realize that ‘Wi-Fi 6’ is also known as IEEE 802.11ax, the reason that Netgear might want a new version of its previously launched Orbi Pro networking router will make sense.
Netgear likes to make available a basic model and then bundle peripherals with its routers to provide a complete out of the box solution. That includes the router SXR80 router and a single SXS80 satellite, plus mounting plates and power adapters, etc.
This tri-band mesh system comes with business-grade security and the ability to set up 4 parallel SSIDs connected to 4 different VLANs, with 4 independent DHCP servers to manage IP addresses for complete network segmentation. That's a feature that is ideal for home and even office use cases. To avoid congestion, it can also dedicate any of the SSIDs to 2.4GHz devices. It also goes without saying that it boasts massive speeds - up to 6Gbps on Wi-Fi 6.
TP-Link Deco X20
Like several mesh products, the Deco X20 devices have LED indicator lights that cast a glow from underneath. When it’s solid yellow, the system is starting up, followed by a pulsing blue light to show it is ready to be set up. When the light is green, everything is OK, but if it blinks red, the device has lost its Internet connection.
The Deco X20 may be small but it’s a big value for Wi-Fi 6 mesh networking. The three-device kit can cover 5,800 square feet, according to TP-Link. The two-piece Deco X20 kit costs $200 and should be good for about 4,000 square feet. The company doesn’t sell individual units but the price of two is roughly the cost of a single Orbi satellite, making the Deco X20 one of the best mesh networking bargains.
Each Deco X20 unit is set up as the host or satellite in the installation process, and each have four internal antennas. As is the case with its competitors, none can be aimed or replaced. Based on Qualcomm’s Networking Pro 400 chipset, the Deco X20 is powered by a 1GHz quad-core processor. It carries 4GB of RAM and 1GB of solid-state storage of its firmware and commands. Able to connect up to 150 devices, the Deco X20 has an AX1800 rating, meaning that it's rated at a peak throughput of 1.8Mbps.
Linksys Velop AX4000
We reviewed the MX12600 system, which consists of three identical nodes that cover a total of 8,100 square feet, but you can purchase a single-node MX4200 ($249.99) if you only need to cover up to 2,700 square feet.
The Velop AX4200 is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and 512MB of flash memory. It's a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 system that can reach data rates of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, 1,200Mbps on one of the 5GHz bands, and 2,400Mbps on the second 5GHz band. The system supports dynamic wireless backhaul as well as wired backhaul, and uses the latest 802.11ax technologies including WPA3 encryption, 1024 QAM, Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) data transmissions, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, and direct-to-client signal beamforming, but it doesn't support 160MHz channel bandwidth.
You can manage your Velop network using a web portal or with the Linksys mobile app for Android and iOS devices. When you launch the mobile app, the home screen will display the name of your network, its status (online/offline), and tabs for connected devices and nodes. Tap the devices tab to see a list of clients, and tap any client to assign bandwidth priority, view IP and MAC address information, and enable parental controls for that specific client.
Ubiquiti Amplify HD
It's safe to say that the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD mesh network system is one of the fastest and most stable of all. It’s tri-band frequencies, great data speeds and large range give it's competitors a run for their money.
There are almost no gaps or buffering issues. The range covered is about 10,000 square feet, and it does this with a significantly low power consumption. The user interface is extremely easy to use - almost too easy at times. In fact some advanced users may find the simplicity a little restrictive. The packaging is exquisite, and it comes with a great instruction manual that lets you set up the system in a matter of minutes.
There are a lot of aspects of the Ubiquity Amplifi HD mesh system that make it seem like it was designed for gaming-intensive environments. If you're looking for a whole-home system that's also a good gaming router - this would be our recommendation. In fact, if you are a hardcore gamer, you might want to take a look at Ubiquiti's Amplifi Gamer's Edition - which is an absolute beast of a mesh system and will blow your mind with the incredible speeds it offers.
Asus ZenWiFi XT8
It might not set any speed records but the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) lives up to its name with an elegant looking mesh kit that uses a tri-band design to help fill a home with Wi-Fi-6 data. It not only includes extra security to keep your family safe online but comes with a two-year warranty.
The ZenWiFi AX creates a tri-band mesh network that moves data on 2.4- and 5GHz channels and reserves the second 5GHz band for the backhaul duties of moving data from the satellites to the host. This can potentially reduce congestion and data packet collisions.
The devices can be set up to use a wired backhaul connection. Instead of Netgear’s practice of having preset routers and satellites, both ZenWiFi AX devices are exactly the same. Pick one to be the router and the other to be the satellite and the changes are made during installation.
Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems have a lot of advantages over regular Wi-Fi 6 routers. Most users move to mesh systems to reliably expand their Wi-Fi coverage and make sure that there are good internet speeds in every nook and cranny of their home or office. Gaming is another big use case. Good gaming routers might get you great speeds, but good gaming routers with mesh system capabilities also provide additional stability and reliability.