Original post – January 2019
April 2020 Update highlights:
- Updated review and price data
- BT improved in rating & increased in price
- TP-Link has jumped in reviews- likely merged pages
- Linksys reduced the number of reviews and increased rating – either changed pages or removed bad reviews
- Netgear – a big drop in the number of reviews – looks like they have separated products across different Amazon pages. Price has gone up
- Ubiquiti Amplifi – a huge jump in number of reviews – looks like US and UK review data has been merged
- Huawei Q2 is replaced with the now cheaper Q2 Pro
- In general, most products have increased in price, likely due to the increase in demand from work from home.
- Added new routers from Asus and the Netgear Wi-Fi 6 router
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
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The best Mesh Wi-Fi options available in the UK – Mesh Router Comparison
Amazon reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, apart from fake reviews, some companies pool up products together which increases the review count. They can also do the reverse, separating products. This can result in review number jumping up or down, and also the overall scores.
Since originally writing this post, most companies have pooled their products together, allowing you to select different products from the same page. From my experience, companies like TP-Link and Netgear offer the same app, set up experience and software features. The quality of the hardware seems to stay the same too, so the different prices will normally only affect the Wi-Fi performance, ethernet ports and a few other features.
The below options are all for the 3-pack mesh systems if you only need 2 devices you can select a 2 pack option in Amazon.
|Price||Amazon Links||Reviews||Avg||1-star %||Ethernet|
|BT Whole Home||£179||N/A||1403||4.3||9%||1|
|TP-Link Deco M5||£149.99||Spain|
|Linksys Velop Tri-Band||£282||Spain|
|Netgear Orbi RBK852 |
|NETGEAR Orbi RBK23||£299||Spain|
|Zyxel Multy X||£445||Spain|
|ASUS ZenWiFi AX||£399.99|
No applicable for USA
I have based the recommendations on Amazon reviews in the past which indicated that Netgear Orbi, BT Whole Home or Linksys were the best options.
It has become increasingly difficult to choose just one Wi-Fi mesh system. There are a growing number of options at various price points, you have 2 and three pack systems and the new Wi-Fi 6 standard offering ultra fast speeds but at a premium price.
The Deco P series user powerline so they transfer data back to the main router via your home wiring, this therefore allows it to provide a bit more flexibility in the location of access points and is good for homes with thick brick walls.
Generally, from my experience, anything from TP-Link and Netgear Orbi are superb.
Overall Best Premium Wi-Fi Mesh System for 2020
Overall Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System for 2020
The Asus RT-AX92U AX6100 Wi-Fi 6 mesh system has somehow slipped through my net until now. I have not reviewed it, but it is the best-reviewed Wi-Fi 6 system on Amazon.
If money is no object then the Netgear Orbi RBK852 is a fantastic option, offering unparalleed levels of performance and a price to match
Not many reviews, because it has only been out 4 months, but the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) looks like an excellent option, offering a similar sort of performance you find on the expensive Netgear, but at a more attractive £399.99 price point. It swaps out the 10Gbe port for 2,5Gbe though, but this should be more than enough for most users.
Overall Best Mid-Range Wi-Fi Mesh System for 2020
The Deco M5 is just £149.99 for a three-pack and I don't think anything comes close to it at this price so it is the best mid-range and overall option.
Alternatively the TP Link Deco P9 is just £188.70 for a three pack and this uses powerline for the backhaul, so ideal for big old houses.
Overall Best Budget Wi-Fi Mesh System for 2020
The TP-Link Deco E4 is worth considering but it is only £25 less than the much better M5.
The Tenda Nova MW3 series is the cheapest you are going to find, it works perfectly well and is good to extend your Wi-Fi across the house at the same speeds you get on a sub 100Mbps connection. So most people that are on VDSL or even ADSL should be fine with this option assuming you don't do big file transfers between devices in the house.
New Mesh Wi-Fi systems for 2020 using 802.11ax / Wi-Fi 6
At CES this year many vendors announced new products or updates for existing products. Most of these incorporate the latest Wi-Fi 6 / 802.11ax protocol which improves the overall performance of the network in congested environments rather than focussing on raw speed. This means that more users will be able to connect at the same time while retaining a high data throughput. So this will be great for households that stream a lot of 4K content, or with homes that have invested heavily in Wi-Fi enabled smart home devices such as home security cameras, and AI smart speakers such as Amazon Echo.
Netgear is updating their RBK50 Orbi systems which claim to offer up to gigabit speeds using MU-MIMO and the available streams for this has gone up to 12. It will be available in the middle of 2019 and will likely come with a premium price tag but it will be the most future proof option so it could be worth the extra cash.
Similarly, TP-Link is updating their Deco system with the X10 which will be available in Q3 of 2019.
In the near future the only devices that will be able to work with this new standard are Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 based phones, though expect laptops to launch this year plus USB adaptors.
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Last update on 2020-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API