The 5 Best Mesh Wi-Fi Routers (2021): For Many Homes and Small Budgets
Netgear Orbi’s large range has a solid reputation, but many of the company’s similar models make it difficult to choose the right one for you. The AX4200 RBK753 (I swear they just messed up the keyboard at this point) mesh system I tested fell somewhere in the middle of the range and proved to be suitable for a large home. Setup is surprisingly cumbersome, taking more than an hour and multiple restarts to complete, as the app continues to carve out a loading screen. The router and node are great, but I like the curved design. I also appreciate the LED light being turned off when things are working and showing different colors on flag issues; every router should work this way. There are three connected Ethernet ports on the main router and two on each node.
Once up and running, coverage, speed, and stability have proven worth the wait, and each node is able to deliver at the same speed as the main router. The speeds are a hair behind the Asus XT8, with some higher distance limitations for individual units. But at both nodes, this system offers wide coverage. The simple mobile app allows you to stop the internet completely or by device or profile, see what devices are connected, check speed, analyze Wi-Fi (see stability of connection while you’re on the go), setting up a guest network, and a few. more things. It is very good at identifying tools, which makes dividing them into profiles much easier. You need to access the web interface for advanced features.
Netgear Armor’s parental controls and security are powered by Bitdefender requires a subscription, and it costs $ 70 per year. This includes scanning for potential vulnerabilities on your network and the option to install Bitdefender on supported devices to avoid potential hacks. Parental controls are more comprehensive and easy to configure. Unfortunately, I noticed the Netgear Armor causing a slight lag in web browsing, and when new devices join the network it triggers an automatic scan and a notification to your phone, which quickly ages. These services start free in 30 days, but you have to pay afterwards, which can be annoying.
The mobile app is straightforward, but usually takes a few seconds to load. The settings are also limited; there’s no mixed mode for WPA2 and WPA3 security like TP-Link above, you can’t split bands, and there’s no option to prioritize traffic for specific activities or devices. It’s also an expensive system with a need for a subscription at the top if you want parental controls and more security (even if you don’t want to. must this). THERE is a free level for parental controls, however it is extremely limited.
To say all of that, the Orbi AX4200 delivers fast, reliable Wi-Fi over long distances, and I didn’t have a connection issue or dropout while testing it.
Vilo Mesh Router (3-Pack)
Best Budget Option