AmpliFi HD Wi-Fi System
Last updated date: October 27, 2021
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We looked at the top Mesh Routers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Mesh Router you should buy.
Update as October 27, 2021:
Checkout The Best Mesh Router for a detailed review of all the top mesh routers.
If you need only two access points, the AmliFi HD Wi-Fi System will work well for your home. You can control your children's access through the app, as well as use your router in bridge mode. An LED screen that lets you know signal strength makes it easy to find the perfect place to locate it within your home.
In our analysis of 31 expert reviews, the AmpliFi HD WiFi System placed 10th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
The AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Home Wi-Fi System includes a Mesh Router and 2 MeshPoints for Wi‑Fi coverage throughout your home. The AmpliFi HD system delivers maximum throughput to meet your streaming and gaming demands with lag-free performance. The Mesh Router features an innovative and simple design with an intuitive touchscreen display so you can easily check your performance and network status. The MeshPoints provide enhanced coverage to eliminate dead spots in your home. Download the AmpliFi app (iOS and Android) for instant setup and easy management.
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Our Expert Consultant
Tech writer for Digital Addicts, avid PC/console gamer
Overall Product Rankings
An Overview On Mesh Routers
In-home Wi-Fi works great unless you have an unusual layout or multiple floors. For those homes, there seems to always be at least one dead spot. Sure, you can avoid that part of your house, but why? You may as well enjoy every square foot.
Once you notice certain telltale signs that your router configuration doesn’t have a strong enough signal to cover your entire home, it’s time to consider a mesh network.
“If you’re experiencing Wi-Fi dead zones or notice slower internet connection speeds when you’re further away from your router, you might want to consider upgrading to a mesh network,” says Doug Brennan, an avid gamer and writer for the Digital Addicts blog.
Mesh networks have grown in popularity in recent years. Once used by businesses, these special routers can be easily placed throughout your home to extend your network. Since these devices will need to be in a fairly accessible area of whatever room you choose, it’s important to consider how they look when you’re making your purchase. Today’s home mesh networking devices are built to blend with any décor.
In the early days of home Wi-Fi, the single-router setup had the ability to penetrate walls and other barriers within a home. However, as networking evolved, there was an unfortunate byproduct; the higher 5GHz frequency used by today’s Wi-Fi routers has difficulty making it through those same obstacles, leading to dead spots, especially in larger homes. Mesh routers can help remedy this issue.
Brennan notes that the increased signal strength from a mesh router can be influenced by a number of factors, including the size of your home, the specific router you choose and the number of satellite routers you connect to it.
It’s important to note before you buy that you likely won’t get the same speed and performance you’ll enjoy with your main router. The signal always degrades with a secondary router since the device has to both receive your main router’s signal and rebroadcast it. Generally, you can expect about a 50 percent loss.
To give yourself the best advantage possible, pay close attention to the specs on any system you’re considering. Since your speed will be reduced, you’ll want to go with the fastest performer possible. The NETGEAR Orbi uses patented technology to keep your network moving along smoothly, even when multiple devices are active.
Coverage areas can also be an issue. Although some mesh routers are limited in reach, they’ll also allow you to set up additional routers on the same network. This lets you customize your setup to your own unique environment. If you need to add only one to make a three-router mesh network, you can do that with many systems.
As when you’re shopping for modems, though, it’s important to make sure any equipment you buy is compatible with your internet service provider. Some routers advertise which ISPs they work with, but it still can’t hurt to call up your provider and ask before spending your hard-earned money.
Lastly, consider the controls your mesh router will give you. Some brands include an app with your purchase. Simply link to your network, and you’ll have access to features like prioritizing some devices over others and locking your network down during the hours you don’t want your children online. You can also use apps like these to take a look at the speeds you’re getting from your network, pinpointing performance issues that might indicate you need to make some changes.
The Mesh Router Buying Guide
- With any networking device, speed is a priority. The NETGEAR Orbi offers speeds of up to 3 Gbps, due in large part to a dedicated connection with the main router. It also uses patented tri-band technology to ensure that numerous devices can connect to the network at once without affecting performance.
- There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mesh networking. Coverage areas can vary from one setup to the next, so look for one that fits your own unique environment. Some models are designed for a two to four-bedroom home, while the NETGEAR Orbi covers up to 5,000 feet. If you have a smaller home, you may find the NETGEAR Orbi doesn’t provide the same strong performance due to its proximity to the main router. You may want to look for a system that can be customized to your own space. If you have up to 1,500 square feet, for example, you can set up one unit, but a 4,500-square-foot home may require three routers, so look for a model that comes with the number of routers you require.
- Before you buy, you should also check to make sure the mesh network you choose is compatible with your internet service provider. For example, some systems advertise compatibility with Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon Fios. Other systems also promise to work with AT&T and Spectrum.
- At one time, you pretty much needed to be a tech expert to set up routers throughout your house. Today’s mesh networks make it easy, with some even providing an app to put you in control. The NETGEAR Orbi, Google Wi-Fi System features easy setup and, once your unit shows up on your network, an app to help you manage it all.
- The NETGEAR Orbi’s app lets you create a guest network, set up parental controls, perform speed tests and more. With other systems, you’ll get an overview of your network so that you can see what’s going on.
- When you set up any type of network, you’ll want to make sure you can someday link additional routers to it.
- Some home users like to connect electronic devices directly to the router. If this is something you want to do, steer toward the NETGEAR Orbi, which includes four ethernet ports. Other units bring two ethernet ports, while some models have only one.
- One unexpected benefit of a mesh network is that some allow you to set up a guest network. While staying in your house, friends and family members will be able to enjoy fast, secure internet access with their own separate passwords. This helps protect the password you have set on your main account, while also giving them their own separate space. The NETGEAR Orbi has this feature. Other systems also make it easy by letting you share access with guests without having to give out your password.
- Since you’ll be placing these routers around your home, appearance is an important consideration. There are systems on the market that are inconspicuous, as small white round cubes that are only 4.2 by 4.2 by 2.7 inches. The NETGEAR Orbi has a much higher profile, even though it’s slimmer than other models, with dimensions of 6.7 by 3.1 by 8.9 inches.
- Although it may not be as easy to tuck into a corner as other mesh routers, the NETGEAR Orbi has a very sturdy build.
- A mesh networking setup will likely cost more than general routers, so it’s important to make sure you need it first. You may find a Wi-Fi extender will do the same job, especially if you’re just trying to fix one dead spot in your home.
- Access points are an important consideration while you’re shopping. The NETGEAR Orbi comes with only two mesh points, which limits how far you can extend your network. Other systems give you three, but allow you to purchase additional access points in sets of only one.
- If you have children in the house, parental controls can come in handy. The NETGEAR Orbi allows you to set those controls using an app.
- If you have an Amazon Alexa in your home, consider a model that will let you pause your internet through a voice command. You will also be able to use your Alexa speaker to find a connected device and manage your network’s settings.
- One benefit of certain systems is that you can set them up to work in bridge mode, turning it into an access point on your network rather than a router.
- Security is a concern with any home network. While strong passwords can keep your data safe, some systems add to that by only allowing WPA-2 compatible devices on your home network.
- The truth is, some devices are more important than others in your household. If your teen is gaming while you’re trying to work, for instance, you may not appreciate the general slowdown. Some systems let you pick which devices have top priority in your household. Only one device can be prioritized at a time, and while this feature is in place, other household members may experience slower performance.
- Placing your routers can be tough. Look for a model that makes it easier with a built-in LED screen that shows signal strength.
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