The next generation in consumer WiFi hardware is here with a few big players like Google and Netgear going up against smaller brands such as Luma, and Eero.

A Wireless mesh network - Wikipedia (WMN) is fundamentally different than a traditional WiFi router. With a mesh network, you connect one or more nodes to your modem, which will blanket your space with a single network. Say goodbye to switching between access points or jumping between frequency bands.

Why go mesh?

My experience over the past few months with my own WMN has been very positive. The WiFi dead zones that had plagued parts of our living space are gone and overall network performance is noticeably better and more reliable. Having a solid network becomes ever more important as we connect more of our home and lives in general to the Internet.

Key benefits

  • Can handle larger number of wireless devices
  • Network speeds can be comparable to a hardwired LAN
  • Excellent alternative if you can’t install ethernet
  • More performant and reliable than WiFi range extenders
  • Simple setup and configuration via Apps

Hardware Options

After deciding which brand meets your needs best, it’s just a matter of determining how many hubs you want to start with. Every brand sells individual hubs for a modest price, but unless you have a small studio apartment, personally I’d recommend buying a 2 or 3-pack and going from there.

Helpful Reviews

Why Luma?

After much reading and consideration I determined the best hardware for my needs was a Luma 3-pack. Luma has a compelling product with all of the features I was looking for.

Our home has an L-shaped floor plan and my goal was to have network coverage throughout for connecting all of our devices, smart home accessories as well as a Plex media server and NAS.

Luma, Orbi, Eero and Google WiFi all offer similar features and use the exact same Qualcomm silicon (AC1300). However, the features that make Luma stand apart are related to initial setup, device prioritization, security, and Alexa integration.

Netgear’s Orbi is the only offering in the mix that has multiple ethernet ports and a usable USB 2.0 port, which was an initial concern I had with Luma, but found it to be a non-issue after some use.

Likes

  • 24/7 phone or chat support
  • Elegant hardware design & form factor
  • Regular OTA firmware updates
  • Security / malware notifications
  • iOS app for network management

Dislikes

  • Unusable USB 2.0 port
  • Inability to set custom DNS servers