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If there are frustrating dead zones in your home's Wi-Fi network, a mesh router can help. A mesh Wi-Fi system features range-extending satellite devices known as nodes that are placed around your home. It's the best bet to spread a strong, stable and wikipedia1.org speedy signal from room to room. While they're typically more expensive than single-point standalone wireless routers, the cost has come down quite a bit thanks to a flood of new options that have been released over the past year. A mesh Wi-Fi router also ensures that every device in your house connects to the same Wi-Fi signal with the same IP address, which wouldn't be possible when using multiple Wi-Fi routers to cover a lot of space.
Chief among the mesh routers available are new systems from Eero, which popularized mesh networking before getting bought by Amazon in 2019
, as well as new offerings from Netgear Orbi and Google Nest. Mesh wireless network systems regularly sold for as much as $400 or even $500 a few years ago, but now all of these manufacturers and others offer a multipoint mesh router system -- including the main router and nodes -- that costs less than $300, if not less than $200.
We've still got lots of routers and mesh systems we'd like to try out -- including some intriguing new mesh Wi-Fi router options that use next-gen Wi-Fi 6 technology to promise better performance and faster speeds. But with plenty of speed and coverage tests already under our belt, we're ready to make a couple of recommendations for best mesh WiFi system for anyone fed up with Wi-Fi network dead spots throughout their home.
Read more: The best Wi-Fi routers in 2020
To help you choose the best mesh Wi-Fi network system to meet your needs, here's a rundown of how your top options stack up, along with other Wi-Fi router options we tested them against, complete with test data for everything. Expect regular updates to this post in the coming months as more new Wi-Fi mesh routers come to market.
Read more: The best Wi-Fi extender for almost everybody
Nest WifiChris Monroe/CNET
A few years ago, the Google Wifi became a breakout hit thanks to its easy setup and its ability to spread a fast, reliable Wi-Fi connection throughout your home for all of your connected devices. Now, there's the Nest Wifi, a second-gen follow-up that adds in faster top speeds and a better-looking design, plus Google Assistant smart speakers built into each range extender. The price is a little lower this time around, too -- $269 for the two-piece setup above, with roughly the same area of Wi-Fi coverage as a three-piece, $300 Google Wifi setup from a few years back.
On average, the Nest Wifi notched the fastest top speeds that we saw from any Wi-Fi 5 mesh router (and faster speeds than the newest Linksys Velop system, which supports Wi-Fi 6 and costs more than twice as much). Plus, the two-piece setup offered enough signal strength to provide sufficient coverage at the 5,800-square-foot CNET Smart Home. It also aced our mesh tests, never once dropping my connection as I moved about my home taking speed tests.