Best Mesh wifi Router and Access Point
Everybody is searching the best wifi router, or the best mesh wifi system to create a solid wifi network in home or they search the best wifi access point for wifi network for businesses such as in offices or industries building.
Many people make mistake in buying the correct wifi devices for building the wifi network in home or small offices, either to purchase a wifi access point or a wifi router. They frequently make mistake by purchasing the wifi access point instead of the wifi router to share the internet connection in home.
The wireless access point and the wireless router are two devices with different main role in wireless networking.
What is the main difference?
You cannot share the internet by connecting the wifi access point directly to the native modem such as Cable modem or DSL modem. Why?
The main difference between the wireless access point and wireless router lies on the NAT feature (besides many security features the routers have). Typically the wireless access points do not have the NAT or firewall feature, but the wireless routers do.
What is NAT?
First thing you need to understand is the basic concept of network address translation (NAT). NAT is a feature that must exist on all types of routers. NAT is the primary method to translate the unregistered IP addresses behind the firewall which is your private (home/ office) network to a single (or more) registered IP address provided by your ISP to access the internet. NAT functions as an intermediary between a client computer on an unregistered network (private network) and the public Internet network.
We are not discussing deep more detail about this NAT, at least for home users we know that with your cable modem you need to add a wifi router or a mesh wifi router to create a wifi network in home or in offices.
Best wifi router
When should you decide either to buy a wifi router or one set of a mesh wifi system? of course we must know in advance how wide the wifi coverage you need, what size is your home (small, medium or large), and also how big is the constraints of the wifi signal being blocked to reach the furthest corners of your home.
As an illustration for the small to medium-sized houses and only one floor, you can start with a wifi router, and when you need to extend the coverage you can add a wifi range extender. If there are many rooms with thick wall constraints, or houses with basements and attics you may consider to buy one set of mesh wifi system. search which best mesh wifi system is suitable for you.
Netgear, TP-link, Linksys and Asus are few vendors in producing wifi network devices, and we find that those vendors offers various models of wifi devices.
We start with a small one-story house with a small to medium size home so you only need a wifi router.
Best for small to medium size home
For the needs of a small house or a small apartment, and not for very heavy duty wifi tasks such as online gaming and 4k video streaming, you might consider TP-link Archer A6. This product is very affordable, if only to share the internet for some of your mobile devices, this wifi router is very adequate.
- Dual band simultaneous wifi ac1200 (900Mbps @5Ghz + 300Mbps @2.4Ghz)
- MU-MIMO technology
- 5x Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Can be switched to work as a wifi access point
- No USB port
This product is very sufficient for the needs of a small house even you can play online games and 4k streaming, but if you need a USB port to share the storage this router doesn’t come with USB.
The competing product is Netgear R6230 wifi ac1200 router. All the spec are the same except this router comes with USB port to allow you share the printer or the storage. These two products are best wifi router for small size homes with affordable price under $50.
Best for medium to large size home
If your wifi router needs is for medium to large sized house, it is a good idea to buy a three band wifi router that is also suitable for online gaming and 4k video streaming. One of the best wifi router today is Netgear R8000-100NAS Nighthawk X6.
- Simultaneous tri-band wifi ac3200 router with total speeds of up to 3,200Mbps (1300 @5Ghz 1+ 1300 @5Ghz 2 + 600Mbps @2.4Ghz)
- Large coverage up to 3,500sq ft, up to 50 connected devices
- 5x Gigabit Ethernet Ports plus 1x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 2.0 ports
- Netgear Armor for network treat protection
This product was released at the first time in mid-2014, and up to now end of 2019 and probably up to 2020 will be one of the best wifi router for three band network segment. The price is drop by time and now you can get around $180 in Amazon.
Best wifi router for gaming
For your large home needs while there are special needs for online gaming and 4k video streaming with large number of connected devices you may consider TP-Link Archer C5400x. This product is specifically designed for gaming with three band WiFi technology.
- Wifi simultaneous tri-band total bandwidth up to 5400Mbps (2,167Mbps @5Ghz 1 + 2,167Mbps @5Ghz 2 + 1,000Mbps @2.4Ghz) specifically designed for gaming
- QoS engine prioritized for gamers in mind with RangeBoost technology
- MU-MIMO, beamforming and Airtime fairness for multi-tasking data throughput
- Powered by quad core 1.8GHz 64-bit processor and three co-processor and 1GB RAM
- Comes with 1x Gigabit Ethernet WAN; 8x Gigabit Ethernet LAN with aggregation link; and 2x USB3.0
The original price (MSRP) when this product was released was around $400.00, and today the price is dropped up to $290 in Amazon (Dec 2019). This product becomes one of best wifi router for gaming in 2018 ~ 2019, probably in 2020.
The competing product for Archer C5400x, the best wifi router for gaming is Netgear Nighthawk XR700 wifi gaming router.
If you compare TP-link Archer C5400x and Netgear Nighthawk XR700 you can find that the wifi technology is different. With Archer the wifi technology is AC5400, while XR700 is based on wireless AD7200 with total bandwidth is up to 7200Mbps three band.
Best mesh wifi system
When do we use mesh wifi system or whole home wifi system? if your house is spacious and hope that the wifi signal covers from the basement to the attic with the same network name, then you should switch to using the mesh wifi system. With mesh wifi system you can roaming from one room to another from one floor to the next floor without worrying about dropping the wifi signal or switching from one wifi name to another, then use the whole home wifi system.
There are two types of mesh wifi system, the dual band and the three band mesh wifi system. which one is the best mesh wifi system?
If your budget is limited, while your house is large enough and there are lots of devices (technically up to 60 devices) that need to connect to the network, you can consider Meshforce M3s consisting of 3-set M3s that can reach up to around 4,500 sq ft. The performance of the Meshforce M3 is amazing as a newcomer to the whole home wifi system, while the price offered is quite competitive compared to similar products from large vendors such as Orbi or Velop.
- 3-set of Meshforce M3 mesh wifi system based on AC1200 (867Mbps @5Ghz + 300Mbps @2.4Ghz) dual band with MU-MIMO technology
- Cover up to 4,500 sq ft from basement to attic, allows you roam seamlessly with single SSID name
- 2x Gigabit Ethernet port each node
- No USB port, only 2x Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Meshforce M3s is tagged with affordable price around $215 in Amazon, and is becoming one of best mesh wifi router in dual band model whole home wifi system.
A tough competitor from Meshforce M3s is the TP-link Deco M4 three-pack, which is offered at around $50 cheaper than M3s. What about the performance?, from the first Deco M5 he affordable model and gets top rated on Amazon, M4 now also gets high appreciation from customers by contributing high rated 4.8 out 5 so far.
When compared with Meshforce M3, technically Deco M4 provides a wider range of around 5,500 sq ft compared to Meshforce M3s which is only 4,500 sq ft.
Both Meshforce M3 and TP-link Deco M4 are dual band mesh wifi system you may consider to try. When wider bandwidth is required, you may consider three band model of whole home wifi system.
One of the best three-band mesh wifi routers today is eero pro, one of the flagship products from Amazon digital LLC. This Eero Pro is a three-band successor model from the previous dual band model eero mesh whole home wifi system.
- Eero Pro is a three band mesh wifi system with TrueMesh technology to assure the fastest wifi connection and the best coverage
- Eero Pro works with global research community to automatically updates at least once a month to eliminate any kinds of bug to keep your device performance improved.
- Comes with 2×2 MU-MIMO, beamforming; Bluetooth LE 4.2
- Wifi speeds up to 600Mbps @5Ghz and up to 300Mbps @2.4Ghz band
- Powered by 700Mhz quad core processor with 512MB RAM and 4GB Flash storage
Like its first generation of eero whole home wifi system, this Pro version becomes one of the best three band mesh wifi system in the market so far. And the rated is excellent 4.5 out of 3.1K reviewers.
The competitor of this Eero Pro is the Gryphon mesh wifi system. When compared with Eero Pro, both are based on three bands, but Gryphon has a higher speed. The total bandwidth of the Gryphon three-band mesh wifi systems is 3,000Mbps.
Eero Pro vs Gryphon
Technically there are significant differences in terms of the wifi technology used, Gryphon provides speed that is almost double as offered by Eero Pro. Although on the other hand Gryphon uses one of its 5 GHz bands as a dedicated backhaul link between nodes.
Another strength of gryphon is in terms of very strong network security protection against any internet attacks including the intrusion detection system from ESSET technology, free for the first year. After that you are subject to a service protection plan of $ 10 / month. This price is cheap because it provides special protection for all connected devices behind your router. Compare with internet protection software in general that is usually charged per connected client.
Table 1 Eero Pro vs Gryphon
|Wifi technology||Tri-band WiFi radios, simultaneous 2.4GHz, 5.2GHz, and 5.8GHz wireless 2×2 MU-MIMO||AC3000 Tri-band with 4×4 MU-MIMO|
|Wifi speeds||600Mbps @5Ghz band 1 600Mbps @5Ghz band 2 300Mbps @2.4Ghz||1300Mbps @5Ghz band 1 1300Mbps @5Ghz band 2 400Mbps @2.4Ghz|
|Coverage||Up to 3,300 sq ft||Up to 3,000 sq ft|
|Ethernet Ports||2x Gigabit Ethernet Ports (WAN/LAN)||3x Gigabit Ethernet ports|
|Backhaul link||N/A||Yes, dedicated backhaul link @5Ghz band|
|Security||Standard parental control||Advanced Parental control and comprehensive network security, intelligent intrusion detection, with ESET technology free for 1 year. Then $10 / month|
|Price (Dec 2019 in Amazon)||$375.00||$399.00|
Both of these products are sold at prices above most mesh wifi routers from other vendors. See that if you expect strict protection of your network security, the Gryphon should be your choice.
Click the product link below to learn more detail and shop in Amazon including current rating which is so far the rated is excellent 4.4 out of 650 reviewers.
Best Wireless AC Access Point
Now we turn to the WiFi AP, and it has been discussed in advance that we deploy the WiFi AP for business or industry needs.
For the needs of industry / business where your wifi network should be able to easily scale up in large numbers and can be manage centrally. Even your wifi network at a remote office can be managed from one centralized IT department easily.
Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO is one of the best poe wireless ac access points today for the needs of your business who wants a low budget without having to sacrifice the performance of your wifi network. This product comes with Unifi controller software to help you ease of deployment on a large scale even spread across several remote sites.
- Simultaneous dual band wireless ac access point with 3×3 MIMO technology, band steering, and Airtime fairness
- Wifi speeds of up to 1,300Mbps @5Ghz plus up to 450Mbps @2.4Ghz bands
- Comes with3x internal 3dBi dual band antennas
- 2x Gigabit Ethernet Ports and 1x USB 2.0 port
- POE support
- Up to 200 connected devices
Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO is one of best wireless access point for businesses, affordable price not to break your bank and is getting top rated in Amazon.
The competing product for Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO is TP-link EAP-225 V3 which is tagged with lower price than UAP-AC-PRO. What is the difference between the two products? Take a look at the following spec comparison table.
Table 2 Ubiquiti vs TP-link
|Model||Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO||TP-link EAP225 v3|
|Wireless technology||802.11a/b/g/n/ac wave 1 with AC1750 network segment with 3×3 MIMO technology||802.11a/b/g/n/ac wave 2 with AC1350 network segment with 2×2 MU-MIMO technology|
|Wifi speeds||1300Mbps @5Ghz 450Mbps @2.4Ghz||867Mbps @5Ghz 450Mbps @2.4Ghz|
|Antennas||3x 3dBi dual band antennas @ 2.4 GHz: 3x 3dBi, 5 GHz: 3x 3dBi||3 Internal Omni *; 2.4GHz: 4dBi; 5GHz: 5dBi|
|SSIDs #||4x SSID each band||16x SSID (8x SSID each band)|
|Ethernet Ports||2x 10/100/1000Mbps||1x 10/100/1000Mbps POE supports|
|USB port||1x USB 2.0 port||N/A|
|Concurrent users each unit||~ 200 users||Unspecified|
|Network management||Unifi central management controller software||Free Controller Software for centralized management hundreds of EAPs|
|Price in Amazon (Dec 2019)||$145.00||$65.00|
TP-link EAP225 v3 has been upgraded to the newer wireless ac wave 2 technology with MU-MIO support and the price is half of Ubiquiti.
Click the link below to learn more detail and shop in Amazon.