Ban­ish black spots

Mesh net­work­ing is the new hot­ness in Wi-Fi. Are you ready to take your net­work to the next level?

Australian T3 - - TESTED -

The days of the tra­di­tional router may be num­bered. We all live in com­plex homes. We all have those cor­ners that stub­bornly refuse to give up a de­cent sig­nal. And most of us have to put up with an awk­ward­ly­lo­cated cen­tral ac­cess point, which just makes solv­ing the prob­lem more dif­fi­cult. There are op­tions out there like pow­er­line and Wi-Fi re­peaters, but mesh net­works do it bet­ter: they send sig­nal be­tween in­di­vid­ual nodes, usu­ally us­ing a ded­i­cated ra­dio chan­nel, mean­ing you can place them in those murky ar­eas of your home that re­ally need the boost. Still got black spots? Then you can seam­lessly add an­other. It’s eas­ier, it’s faster and it’s all app-con­trolled.

ONE FOR RAW POWER NET­GEAR ORBI RBK50 $620 (router and node), net­

Net­gear’s high-end kit gets pretty much ev­ery­thing right when it comes to mesh net­work­ing. Per­haps its most no­table ad­van­tage is its tri-band sup­port. Where most mesh kits use the same ra­dio chan­nel for com­mu­ni­cat­ing be­tween mesh nodes as they do for reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the Orbi RBK50 has a chan­nel de­voted en­tirely to re­lay­ing data be­tween the satel­lite(s) and router. That’s a big deal, and it shows. Here, the router and satel­lite both have a gen­er­ous col­lec­tion of Eth­er­net and USB ports, and setup is very sim­ple.


Google’s mar­ket­ing mus­cle fired up the mesh Wi-Fi revo­lu­tion, and the prod­uct it­self doesn’t dis­ap­point. Im­mensely sim­ple to set up, it’s USB-C pow­ered for max­i­mum flex­i­bil­ity, looks cute and fea­tures two Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net ports. Google Wifi does a great job at shap­ing traf­fic for top speeds while stream­ing or gam­ing, and ef­fec­tively filled our home de­spite its rel­a­tively low­power AC1200 sig­nal. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing app is a mas­ter­work, mak­ing keep­ing tabs on your net­work and con­fig­ur­ing in­di­vid­ual de­vices an ab­so­lute breeze.

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