**Updated 28/04/2018 with new prices and new options**
Added backhaul and ethernet port data.
**Updated 11/04/2018 with new prices and new options**
- TP-Link has shot up in price since I first posted this. Average review score dropped from 4.3 to 4.1
- Linksys has gone down £40. Gained 100 reviews and maintained the 4.2 score.
- Netgear has dropped nearly £100! Average user rating dropped from 4.2 to 4.1
- Number of Asus reviews has shot up but it has a low average score of 3.6
- BT Whole Home Wi-Fi got 100 new reviews, the average dropped from 4.1 to 4.0
- Added Zyxel Multy X Tri-Band – based on price and low user reviews it probably isn’t worth it just yet.
- Added Tenda NOVA – low review count, and low claimed speed, but competitive pricing so could be worth looking into
In the past couple of years, we have seen a growing number of Mesh-based WiFi routers released. While some brands chase after the absolute fastest WiFi speeds via a single router, mesh technology aims to eliminate the biggest problem with WiFi – Range.
Traditionally if you live in a large house you would have to resort to repeaters or additional routers. However, if you did not set up the Wi-Fi correctly, you would get issues. Most routers are not intelligent enough to know which router you are accessing when you are on the same SSID.
Mesh Wi-Fi routers eliminate this issue and employ multiple access points that work on the same SSID. Unlike the problems stated above, they have the intelligence to know what router is best based on your location, and pass off the Wifi to that router. Quite a lot of the systems available only have single ethernet ports, so they can only provide WiFi and no wired router options.
If you live in a small flat, a router such as this will likely be irrelevant, but most UK hoses, especially brick built ones, would benefit from them.
At the moment, all these routers are just routers; there is no modem built into them, so you would still need to use the ISP supplied device to connect
The best Mesh Wi-Fi options available in the UK now include:
|Name||Price||Number of Reviews||Review Average||Pack Size||Speed||Ethernet Ports||Dedicated 5GHz Backhaul Channel||Wired Backhaul||Comments|
|BT Whole Home Wi-Fi||£189.00||397||4.0||3||AC2600||1||No||No||Multiple options on one page|
|TP-Link Deco M5||£230||87||4.1||3||AC1300||2||Yes||Yes||Multiple options on one page|
|Linksys Velop Tri-Band||£330||455||4.2||3||AC6600||2||Yes||Yes||Multiple options on one page|
|NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home||£199.99||448||4.1||3||AC3000||4||Yes||No||Multiple options on one page|
|ASUS Lyra||£379.99||148||3.6||3||AC2200||2||Yes & optional||Yes|
|Ubiquiti Amplifi||£363.60||12||4.4||3||AC1750||5 (base unit) 0 on satellites||No||No|
|Google WiFi Mesh||£399.99||21||4.1||3||AC1200||2||Yes||yes|
|Zyxel Multy X Tri-Band AC3000 Whole Home Wi-Fi ||£249||5||5||3||AC3000||4||Yes||No||One a 2 pack option, additional extension is £129.99 making this quite expensive|
|Tenda NOVA Mesh WiFi System||£159.99||7||4||3||AC1200||2||Yes||Yes|
Scouring the internet for reviews and the Netgear Orbi is the one system to get the most consistently positive reviews, this is also seen in the Amazon reviews. It doesn’t have the same rated speed as the Linksys, but these numbers seem to vary a lot depending on the page you read. The critical part of a WiFi network is getting a strong connection. A fast router with a poor connection will likely be slower than a slower router with a strong connection.
Most of the routers listed have just one ethernet port, whereas the Netgear has 4, this should allow it to replace all the standard routers primary functions.
Many of the systems come in 2 or 3 packs, and this includes the Netgear if you have a smaller house you can pick up a dual pack for just £159.99.
Overall Recommendation (updated April)
Amazon reviews are not the most accurate things but based on that data both the Netgear and BT Whole Home are almost neck and neck in terms of cost and user reviews at £199 and £189 respectively for a 3 pack they are great buys. If you have a smaller house you can get the Netgear 2 pack for £175 but the BT pack costs just £79.99 – so in this case, the BT option is definitely the way to go.
If you want the best performance, then the Linksys Velop Tri-Band seems to be the way to go, it is very expensive but has the best reviews and the top claimed speed.