Are TP-Link or Google mesh Wi-Fi systems best?
A single router sitting in the middle of your house or apartment can easily lead to Wi-Fi dead spots, even in adjacent rooms. If you want a frustration-free Wi-Fi experience, a mesh Wi-Fi system should be on your list. They consist either of a single router and additional extenders or any number of identical access points that can each function as stand-alone routers.
Google, on the other hand, has only released a few home Wi-Fi solutions, which have focused on user-friendly setup and management rather than cutting-edge hardware.
TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi systems
TP-Link has been a major player in-home wireless networking for over a decade and competes with some of the most popular brands worldwide. It’s even one of the few to actually design and manufacture its products in-house, instead of outsourcing production to other engineering firms and simply rebranding the results.
When you buy a TP-Link router, mesh system or smart home device, you can be reasonably certain you’re getting something of high quality. But, since it releases a large number of products on a regular basis, it can take a little extra research to figure out which are most advanced and offer the best price-to-performance ratio.
TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi system pros
- Advanced components: TP-Link regularly updates its router and mesh Wi-Fi system lineups. It always offers something that can take advantage of the most cutting-edge laptops, phones and other connected devices.
- High performance: Partly due to components and partly due to talented design, a number of its mesh Wi-Fi systems are usually found near the front of the pack in real-world speed testing.
- Low latency: For use cases like fast-paced gaming that require near-instant communication, TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi systems are among the best.
- In-depth configuration: If you want to set up guest networks or access advanced features like port routing, TP-Link’s mesh Wi-Fi routers and their configuration portals allow you to do that with relative ease.
- Wide variety: TP-Link offers some of the fastest and most advanced home wireless networking solutions. It also provides cost-effective models that should still satisfy most users despite being less technically impressive.
- Reasonable prices: Particularly in the midrange and on the low end, TP-Link wireless solutions offer very good value.
TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi system cons
- There are a lot of models to choose from: As a consumer, it takes a little extra care when looking for a TP-Link wireless solution to make sure you’re getting the best one. Unfortunately, some of its offerings don’t quite hold up in terms of latency and consistency, so it’s important to avoid those models.
- They are slightly bulky: Some mesh Wi-Fi systems consist of small pucks that are easy to hide around the home. TP-Link modules aren’t exactly huge or ugly, but they’re not quite as compact as some competitors.
- They’re not ideal for novices: If you have little to no technology experience, you might not be able to get the most out of a TP-Link networking device.
Best TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi systems
Based on the next-generation Wi-Fi 6 protocol, the Deco X20 delivers enough bandwidth for gigabit-class internet connections and the low latency needed for online gaming. It’s also surprisingly reasonably priced for a premium system.
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If you want consistent whole-home coverage but don’t want to spend a fortune, no other mesh Wi-Fi systems offer this kind of performance for the dollar. Despite being based on the somewhat older Wi-Fi 5 standard, it’s a great choice for most home networks.
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If you can’t get a consistent Wi-Fi connection in every room no matter what you try, consider this hybrid option. It uses your home’s existent power lines to ensure a strong signal, even through thick masonry.
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This one’s perfect for users who demand peak bandwidth and rock-bottom latency but don’t need several thousand square feet of coverage. As you’d expect from such a high-performing option, it’s relatively expensive.
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Google mesh Wi-Fi systems
Google has made inroads to nearly every aspect of home entertainment and wireless communications. One reason its products are so successful is they’re incredibly user-friendly. Even though Google doesn’t update its mesh Wi-Fi lineup very frequently, both current models perform well with modern computers, smartphones and smart home devices.
Google mesh Wi-Fi system pros
- Extremely easy setup: The biggest selling point of Google’s mesh Wi-Fi systems is their ease of configuration. Even if you’ve never set up a wireless network, you shouldn’t have any problem.
- Good performance: Their effective design combined with reliable components mean all but the most demanding users should be satisfied by Google mesh systems’ bandwidth and ping times.
- Compact and unassuming construction: When you first look at a Google mesh Wi-Fi module, you might not even realize what you’re looking at. Their soft lines and small stature allow them to fit in with nearly any home decor.
Google Mesh Wi-Fi system cons
- Lack of cutting-edge releases: Since Google doesn’t update the current models or develop new ones very often, they often lag behind other mesh Wi-Fi systems in terms of the most advanced features.
- No Wi-Fi 6 support: One feature that Google Wi-Fi clearly lacks is support for the Wi-Fi 6 protocol. While that’s not a huge deal at the time being, it does somewhat cut into their long-term effectiveness. It also keeps the latest smartphones and laptops from getting the most out of the highly efficient new protocol.
- Below-average customization: In an effort to simplify the setup and management process for the average consumer, Google has stripped away some of the more intricate features that other manufacturers continue to offer.
Best Google Mesh Wi-Fi systems
This base model is ideal for the consumer who doesn’t want to hassle with any confusing settings and wants to save as much money as possible.
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Equipped with more powerful hardware than the standard Google Wi-Fi, the Nest is great for larger homes, faster internet connections and greater numbers of connected devices.
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Should you get a TP-Link or Google mesh Wi-Fi system?
Many TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi systems incorporate the newest Wi-Fi 6 technology and boast above-average to excellent results in real-world testing. There’s also a great variety of TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi systems available to suit your specific needs. If you have even the slightest experience setting up a home Wi-Fi network, TP-Link offers the best bang for your buck.
The only reason you should consider getting one of Google’s current mesh Wi-Fi systems is if you’re generally averse to configuring electronics. The Google Nest system remains one of the easiest high-performance mesh Wi-Fi systems to set up. While it’s not the absolute fastest setup on the market, it will still satisfy quite a few users.
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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