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Honestly, it’s even worse than that: Your Civic will at least break 100 mph, but your “AC3200” router won’t ever get close to a single gigabit per second, much less 3.2 Gbps.
Instead of looking at confusing and misleading AC speed ratings, look directly at the real hardware capabilities of the device.
I also checked Amazon reviews and Reddit threads, and I solicited the opinions of a few other network professionals.
Finally, I spent several hours per kit testing for throughput, latency, features, and general user experience in a challenging physical environment that cries out for multiple-access-point networking to solve its issues.
That’s something you can’t get just by adding another access point or wireless extender to your existing router.
In past versions of this guide, we tested absolutely every mesh kit we could find, bar none—but the number of mesh kits out there is growing, and we’re starting to get pickier.
An Eero kit with one second-generation Eero base station and two Beacons offers roughly similar performance to the Orbi RBK50.
We gave Orbi the nod for its slightly easier setup and placement and lack of dependence on the cloud, but if you’ve got a longer or taller house, are more interested in parental control and security filtering features, or just plain like Eero’s looks better, it’s a great pick too.
These ratings refer to theoretical maximum ceilings defined in the abstract specifications of wireless protocols, and they have less to do with real-world performance than the biggest number on a compact car’s speedometer does.
In this round, we dropped some of the poorest-performing kits from our first rounds of testing (Luma and Ampli Fi) and skipped one that had reviewed particularly poorly elsewhere (Lyra).
This left us with 12 kits from seven vendors (Netgear, Linksys, Eero, D-link, Plume, TP-Link, and Google) to test, in a total of 17 actual configurations.
The simple “put the router where the Internet is, put the satellite in the middle of your house” instructions are impossible to screw up, but for the tech-savvy, it is among the very few mesh kits that provides high-end router features, plus it lets you control your local network without an active Internet connection.
The two-unit setup means that your laptops or phones spend less time shifting from one access point to another—or, worse, not reconnecting when they should.