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It’s not a tech­ni­cal is­sue, but price is im­por­tant when putting the net­work­ing techs head to head, par­tic­u­larly be­cause it’s mesh net­work­ing’s big down­side. For all the “just grab an­other node” ar­gu­ments, that’s rarely a cheap so­lu­tion. In fact, it’s of­ten as hard on the wal­let as pick­ing up a whole new wire­less router, be­cause in a sense, that’s what you’re do­ing. If you’re in a smaller home, a sin­gle stan­dard Wi-Fi router is prob­a­bly enough, so you can steer clear of more ex­pen­sive mesh pack­ages any­way, and if you’re lucky, your broad­band con­nec­tion comes with a router. It might be shoddy, but you’re pay­ing for it any­way. That’s a sunk cost.

Eth­er­net can be cheap, par­tic­u­larly if you’re pre­pared to wire it your­self, but in­stalling it with professional help is far from in­ex­pen­sive. That said, a good back­bone will last you; line up Cat 6 cable, and you’re pre­pared for fu­ture speed up­grades ei­ther end of the wires, some­thing that isn’t true for ei­ther of the wire­less so­lu­tions. With 802.11ax on the hori­zon—ex­pect early hard­ware this year, and re­al­is­ti­cally adopt­able gear in mid-2019—a big in­vest­ment in mesh right now might soon sting if you’re try­ing to stay cut­ting edge. Win­ner:


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