Best mesh Wi-Fi 2019: banish dead spots and boost your broadband

Tired of patchy Wi-Fi? Maybe it's time to upgrade to a mesh system

Despite being a brilliant, ground-breaking technology, Wi-Fi can easily be disrupted by thick walls or even objects placed in front of the router. Something so basic can cause you lots of problems if you need an internet connection to work from home.

Solid objects, such as the aforementioned brick walls, are known to reduce the effectiveness of a Wi-Fi signal and the way to get around this is by getting some extra tech to bump up your network. But, it may cost you a few quid, because right now the best tech on the market doesn't come cheap.

But, which is best for you and your home or office? Wi-Fi boosters could give you the added hassle of having to manually disconnect and reconnect to different networks around the building, which isn't ideal when you have an office full of employees needing to move around just to find an extended network that offers decent speeds.

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Maybe an extender could help you out, but, due to their varying degrees of success, instead, you could try a mesh network. This is arguably the better choice for those looking to strengthen their network.

This will reduce the need to keep reconnecting to different networks as your device automatically switches from access points when they come into range.

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Another benefit of mesh is that it's a modular setup, which is especially useful considering the price. With modular configuration, you can start small, with one or two mesh nodes and upgrade at an appropriate time.

There is a range of brands that offer mesh networking solutions, including Google and TP-Link, but it's important to buy the best one for you and the number of users or devices that are on your network. Below we've put together a guide to help you pick the right one.

Zyxel Multy Plus

Two Zyxel Multy X nodes

Zyxel's Multy mesh Wi-Fi system has long been an IT Pro favourite. It comes in packs of two and your mesh network can comprise up to six stations. It's ideally suited to smaller businesses, according to our review, and the fast speeds and simple setup just add to the appeal. However, there is a  lack of PoE support and a maximum limit of six nodes per network that make it a lesser option for more larger enterprises.

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That said, for small offices and retail outlets, the Multy Plus is a superb wireless mesh solution that's fast, well-featured and easy to install and expand.

MIMO Channels2x2 on each band
MU-MIMOYes
Ports per node4 x GbE

Price when reviewed: £368 exc VAT 

Read our full Zyxel Multy Plus review for more information.

Draytek VigorAP 903

DrayTek's VigorAP 903 is quite a head-turner, according to our review, because it isn't just another Wave 2 802.11ac AP. Instead, it brings self-healing mesh technology persuasively down into the SMB price bracket, at just £114. If you want to start small, there's no need to spend any more than that. It's a cinch to deploy, offers seamless self-healing and beats the competition hands down for value.

The VigorAP 903 will happily function as a standalone AP, with 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios concurrently presenting up to four SSIDs each. At the side, you'll also notice five Gigabit Ethernet ports; the first accepts a PoE source, the next three can be used to connect PCs or other network devices and the fifth can be employed to create an isolated LAN with its own wireless services.

MIMO Channels2x2 on each band
MU-MIMOYes
Ports per channel4x GbE

Price when reviewed: £114 exc VAT 

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Read our full Draytek VigorAP review for more information.

Google Wifi

As with many of its other products, Google's mesh Wi-Fi offering is simple and user-friendly on the surface, but surprisingly versatile once you dig a little deeper. Although it's not the fastest, it's speedy enough to satisfy, and the seamless setup and management options are enough to elevate it above the competition. 

It features outstanding network monitoring tools, device prioritisation options and even a built-in app for testing the speed and strength of your connection.

MIMO channels2x2 on each band
MU-MIMOYes
Ports per node2 x GbE

Price when reviewed: £190 exc VAT (twin pack)

Read our full Google Wifi review for more information.

Zyxel Multy X

Two Zyxel Multy X nodes

When the Zyxel Multy X first launched, it used a 'star' configuration, rather than being a true mesh system. Thankfully, an update has now added the ability to daisy-chain nodes together, adding an extra layer of functionality to what was already a very speedy and attractive product.

MIMO channels2x2 (client bands), 4x4 (backhaul) 
MU-MIMOYes
Ports per node4 x GbE

Price when reviewed: £224 exc VAT

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Read our full Zyxel Multy X review for more information.

TP-Link Deco M5

TP Link's Deco M5 system is one of our favourite mesh Wi-Fi systems for aesthetic appeal, eschewing functional minimalism for something that actually looks rather attractive and eye-catching.

It backs this up with capable long-range speeds and a good amount of extra features, including three years of Trend Micro antivirus coverage. TP-Link hasn't specified what the renewal price will be when this runs out, but after three years, your Wi-Fi will likely be due an upgrade anyway.

MIMO channels2x2 on each band
MU-MIMOYes
Ports per node2 x GbE

Price when reviewed: £192 exc VAT

Read our full TP-Link Deco M5 review for more information.

Tenda Nova MW3

If you want a solid mesh Wi-Fi system at a rock-bottom price, you can't get much better than the Tenda Nova MW3. Yours for less than £70 before tax, the package includes three nodes, meaning you can get a six or even nine-node network for less than the ticket price of some of the others on this list.

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The trade-off, though, is that it isn't as fast or as versatile as some of its competitors, but it can't be beaten for value.

MIMO channels2x2 on each band
MU-MIMOYes
Ports per node2 x 10/100 Ethernet

Price when reviewed: £68 exc VAT

Read our full Tenda Nova MW3 review for more information.

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