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Popular Home Mesh Brands in Brief: AiMesh, Deco, eero, Orbi, Velop, and More

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This post will give you an overview of how a popular home mesh brand differentiates itself from others. In other words, if you're wondering which fits your situation best among eero, Orbi, Deco, Velop, Nest Wifi, AiMesh, Synology, etc., you're at the right place.

While a specific mesh set's performance depends on its hardware, it generally shares common attributes available in all of the brand's variants. To make it easier to compare, there are also ratings for each brand with quick pros and cons.

By the end of this post, among other things, you will be able to determine which brand is the best to bring home.

Dong's note: I first published this post on March 24, 2021, and last updated it on September 6, 2023, with additional relevant information.

In my opinion, there are two types of mesh systems.

The first type is those built from the ground up, which I call purpose-built or canned systems. They tend to be easy to use but lack features and settings. You generally have to get these in a two-pack or a three-pack.

The second are those made from a standalone Wi-Fi broadcaster. You first get a single router and then add more hardware to scale up the coverage when needed. These are harder to use but generally give you more options in features and customization.

The list below is in chronological order based on the brands' initial release date, according to my memory and experience. This order has no meaning in terms of ranking or favoritism. Rather, it gives you a sense of how home mesh has evolved over the years.

Let's dive in.

1. The eero (Feb 2016): Ease-of-use trumps all, including consumers’ privacy

eero routers
Home Mesh Brands: The latest eero variants, the eero 6 (top) and eero 6 Pro.

The eero—all lowercase—is the mother of all canned home mesh systems.

First introduced back in February 2016 as a 3-pack of identical routers, the eero started what I called the home mesh revolution.

Hardware as a service approach: Big on ease-of-use, little customization, privacy concerns

The eero's idea was quite revolutionary when first launched. It was the first app-operated—via the eero mobile app—networking hardware as a service and has remained that way.

Specifically, despite paying the full, often rather expensive, price, you don't own the product outright. Instead, you use it via a constant connection with the vendor who supposedly takes care of your home network for you remotely.

As a result, the eero has always been super easy to set up and use—as long as you have a mobile device and a live connection to the Internet. But users have zero or little control over the system—you can't even set it up or make changes when there's no Internet. There's not much in customization, either.

eero offers parental control, VPN, and online protection features via the eero Plus add-on subscription.

From the get-go, eero has been big on collecting user data supposedly for performance optimization. Users have to trust eero on the extent of data it collects and what the company does with the information.

It's worth noting that in 2019, Amazon bought eero. It could have purchased a more established networking brand if its interest was purely in home networking.

eero: Hardware availability and general performance

eero is generally available in identical units. One works as the router, and the rest will be satellites.

Among Wi-Fi 6 models, you'll also find an extender unit, which can only work as a satellite. Generally, you want to use same-tier units together, but mixing them up will likely work out, too, especially in a wired setup.

In late 2022, the eero Pro 6E was released, which works best via wired backhauling. In early 2023, the company went full wiring and released the Amazon eero PoE Gateway, a non-Wi-Fi router, and the Amazon eero PoE 6. You can use a combo of the two to build a mesh system with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling.

As for performance, in the wireless setup, the eero has always been modest at best. All variants use relatively low-end hardware housed in fancy-looking chassis. But with wired backhauling, the mesh can be as fast as any other of the same Wi-Fi specs.

In early 2020, eero was integrated with Apple HomeKit, and Apple certified the Wi-Fi 6 versions in late May 2021. However, this support ends with starting with the eero Pro 6E and eero 6+

Who should get the eero

Generally, if you have wired your home or only need modest bandwidth, the eero can be an easy option with good to excellent performance. Just make sure you're OK with the data collection.

On the other hand, for those living in a home where wiring is impossible or wanting total control of their network, or privacy, it's as bad as can be.

Amazon eero Ecosystem's Overall Rating

6 out of 10
amazon eero
7 out of 10
4 out of 10
Ease of Use
9 out of 10
Privacy and Value
4 out of 10


Easy to set up and use

Generally reliable with scalable Wi-Fi coverage

Eye-catching design


Lacking standard features and settings

No local management; vendor login account to work; heavy on user data collection; useful features require eero Plus subscription,

Often middling-specced and overpriced

2. Netgear Orbi (Oct 2016): Dedicated wireless backhaul for the win

Netgear Orbi RBK860 Series Out of Box
Home Mesh Brands: The 3-pack Netgear Orbi RBK860 mesh set.

Netgear launched its first Orbi set, the RBK50, in October 2016, somewhat as the answer to the eero.

Netgear Orbi’s hallmark: Tri-band with dedicated backhaul

The Orbi's hallmark has always been the use of a dedicated 5GHz band as the wireless backhaul that links the hardware units.

This dedicated backhaul approach has its pros and cons.

To better understand the Orbi's permanent backhaul concept's drawback, you can liken the mesh system's router unit to a special 4WD pickup truck with a separate engine for the rear wheels dedicated solely to the job of pulling a trailer.

This extra engine makes sense and is great when the truck has a trailer attached (a mesh system) but becomes dead weight when the truck works just by itself (standalone router)—it's now a full-time front-wheel-drive vehicle.

It's probably not a good idea to consider such a truck unless you intend to use it to pull a trailer at all times.

The point is Netgear's Orbi only makes sense if you must use a fully wireless mesh Wi-Fi system. When you only need a standalone router or can use a mesh with wired backhauling, any Orbi would be wasteful in terms of hardware cost and energy consumption.

Tri-band mesh systems from other networking vendors might or might not dedicate one of the two 5GHz bands as backhaul, but they generally allow (users to program) all Wi-Fi bands to work for front-hauling. They are 4WD vehicles, whether or not there's a trailer attached.

In a way, you can say that Netgear is the champion in dedicated backhaul technology. It has focused on this so much that in the Orbi ecosystem, the dedicated backhaul band, which uses the upper 5GHz channels, only works as such—it's unavailable to clients.

Netgear Orbi: Full web interface, optional mobile app

What's also great about the Orbi is that apart from being an (optional) app-operated system—like the case of the eero—it also has a full local web interface. That's been the case with all Orbi sets.

Consequently, users can use it without being hooked to Netgear. They also get a standard set of network customization—stuff like Dynamic DNS, port forwarding, VPN server, QoS, and many other settings—found in most standalone traditional routers.

Starting in mid-2019, Netgear introduced Netgear Armor online protection as an add-on subscription for its Orbi mobile app. Since then, Netgear has slowly made once-free features part of the subscription and coerced users into signing up for a login account and using the mobile app.

Netgear Orbi: Hardware availability

The Orbi comes in many variants, with the majority being Tri-band or even Quad-band. They are all available in router + satellite combo, each with their exclusive role.

The RBK13, released in late 2019, is the only dual-band variant.

Netgear Orbi RBR860 vs. RBS860 Ports
Home Mesh Brands: The port side of an Orbi router and the Satellite counterpart in the RBK860 series. Note the WAN (Internet) port on the router.

The Orbi hardware is rigid. You can't use the router unit as a satellite and vice versa, nor can you use hardware of different Wi-Fi standards—Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6—together. This rigidity makes the Orbi a relatively expensive choice, especially when you want to upgrade.

Netgear Orbi: The wired backhaul issue

Initially, the Orbi didn't support wired backhaul. In late 2018, Netgear started to add this option (via firmware updates for older sets).

Unfortunately, even when you use wired backhaul, there's no way to make the dedicated 5GHz backhaul band available to clients.

My take is that Netgear has engineered this band using its proprietary technology to ensure the best range for the backhaul purpose. Consequently, it's not easy to make it work with clients.

That's also the case when you use an Orbi router by itself. In other words, there are no scenarios where the additional 5GHz band of an Orbi works for clients.

For this reason, Orbi is generally suitable only for those needing a fully wireless mesh system. You can use wired backhauling, but in this case, you'd pay for a hardware part you'd never use.

Extra: Understanding Orbi model numbers

Generally, though not always, an Orbi set's model number starts with RBK, like RBK50, RBK13, RBK752, RBK852, and so on. (Those supporting Wi-Fi 6E have an additional E, like the case of the RBKE960.)

Dissecting the Orbi’s model name

If you ever wonder how to interpret this naming convention, keep in mind that there are three telling things in one: The first letter, the third (and 4th) letter, and the last digit. That's because the 2nd letter (B) is for Orbi.

  • The First letter (often R, C, or N, but there might be more) means the character of the hardware.
    • R: It's a regular (standard) setup, be it a single router or a mesh system. So, for example, RBK852 means this one is a standard mesh system.
    • C: There's a cable modem involved. For example, CBK752 is a mesh system in which the router unit has a built-in cable modem.
    • N: This is when the router unit is cellular-capable. N here is short for NR, or "new radio," which is a fancy name for cellular Internet.
  • The 3rd letter (often K, R, or S) means the hardware unit's exclusive role.
    • K = Kit. This means you're looking at a multi-unit package. So RBK752 refers to a kit of more than one hardware unit. How many? See the last digit below.
    • R = Router unit. For example, RBR750 is the router unit of the RBK752.
    • S = Satellite unit. For example, RBS750 is the satellite unit of the RBK752.
    • The 4th letter (if any): The letter E stands for Wi-Fi 6E, like the case of the recently announced RBKE960 series.
  • The Last digit (often 0, 2, 3, etc.) shows the package's total hardware units.
    • 0 = Single hardware unit (either a router or a satellite.) Generally, it signifies the series.
    • 2 = A 2-pack (router + one satellite). For example, RBK752 is a 2-pack cable-ready mesh that includes a CBR750 gateway and an RBS750 satellite.
    • 3 = A 3-pack (router + two satellites). The RBK853 is a 3-pack mesh system that includes one RBR850 router and two RBS850 satellite units.
  • Extra: The middle digits (often 5, 75, 85, 96, etc.) are Netgear's in-house designations to show the hardware's Wi-Fi specs. They are a bit arbitrary. Specifically:
    • 5: This is for Wi-Fi 5. For example, the original RBK50 is a Wi-Fi 5 Orbi.
    • 75: This is for a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 with two 2x2 bands and one 4x4 band. Example: the RBK752.
    • 85: Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 hardware with all 4x4 bands. Example: the RBK852.
    • 96: Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E with all 4x4 bands. Example: the RBKE960 series.

If you're still confused, you're not alone, but generally, you get the idea.

Who should get the Orbi?

Generally, the Orbi is expensive, and for those who have gotten their home wired, it's a bit of a waste. Consider it only if you intend to use it in a fully wireless configuration.

Another thing to note is that Orbi, like most wireless systems, generally tends to have lag (latency) issues. So, it's not ideal if you want to play online games or use real-time communications (video conferencing, etc.). The lag issue is especially prevalent if you use three or more hardware units in a daisy-chain topology.

Netgear Orbi Mesh System's Overall Rating

7.6 out of 10
Orbi RBK852 New
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Ease of Use
7.5 out of 10
7 out of 10


Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with extensive coverage

Full web interface with all standard settings and features

Useful, well-designed mobile app

Wi-Fi 6 versions support WAN Link Aggregation and often have Multi-Gig support


High cost

No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization

No cross-Wi-Fi standard hardware compatibility

Bulky design

Mobile app and security/Parental Controls features require a login account

3. Google (Nest) Wifi (Dec 2016): The true eero alternative

Google Nest Wifi Pro Box ContentGoogle OnHub
Home Mesh Brands: The latest Google Nest Wi-Fi (left) and the original Google OnHub.

Google Wifi, nowadays known as the Google Nest Wi-Fi, is the search engine giant's answer to the eero.

Google debuted its first home mesh in December 2016 as the true counterpart of the eero. It's also hardware as a service with little customization, even worse than the eero. And it has been that way since.

The replacement of OnHub

Google had been involved with Wi-Fi much earlier.

In mid-2015, the company introduced its first home Wi-Fi router, the OnHub, which used TP-Link hardware and Google's firmware.

The OnHub was sleek and one of the first app-operated standalone routers on the market. Later, it morphed into the original Google Wifi, which became the now well-known Nest Wifi mesh that's been the biggest competitor of the eero.

Originally, the system was managed via the Google Wifi app. However, in mid-2021, after acquiring Nest, the company deprecated this app and made the Nest Wifi part of the Google Home app, which handles other smart home devices. This move has made things quite counterintuitive.

Who should get Google (Nest) Wifi?

My biggest issue with the Google Wi-Fi is that it can't work in the AP mode as a mesh—you can only do that with a single hardware unit. Consequently, you can only use it as the only router of your home or in a double NAT setup if you must keep your ISP-provided gateway.

Other than that, consider Google Wi-Fi a genuine alternative to the eero. It has the same level of ease of use and privacy concerns. It's a question of Amazon vs. Google, as in who you'd trust more with your data.

Google (Nest) Wifi's Overall Rating

6 out of 10
Google Nest Wifi Pro Includes a Cat6 cable
8 out of 10
6 out of 10
Ease of Use
7 out of 10
3 out of 10


Reliable and scalable Wi-Fi coverage

Compact design

Comparatively affordable

Integration with a Google account and other Smart Home devices


Middling hardware, slow Wi-Fi speeds, confusing Google Home app

A login account is required for setup and ongoing management

Minimum ports, no Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, or Multi-Gig

No access point (AP) mode as a mesh system

No web interface, spartan Wi-Fi/network settings

4. Ubiquiti’s AmpliFi (Oct 2016): Quirky but cool and effective

AmpliFi Alien Router Light
Home Mesh Brands: The AmpliFi Alien has an excellent color touchscreen.

Around October 2016, Ubiquiti Labs introduced the AmpliFi HD as a single router that can also work as a mesh system with two add-on plug-in satellites.

The HD at the time was the first Wi-Fi router with a color touchscreen. It was a novelty. You can use this screen to manage the router (or mesh), but you'll need the mobile app to do more.

AmpliFi: Limited hardware options

The AmpliFI HD, and subsequently the Wi-Fi 6 version of the AmpliFi Alien, are fun and effective as a single router and a mesh.

While they don't offer many customization and features, they are unavailable in any other system. One of which is the Teleport VPN, which makes using VPN a super easy option for home users.

So far, there are only two options. You can go with the HD (Wi-Fi 5) or the Alien (Wi-Fi 6.)

AmpliFI HD Touchscreen
Home Mesh Brands: The AmpliFi HD router and its novelty-of-the-time touchscreen.

Who should get the AmpliFi?

If you're into ease-of-use, performance, and cool stuff, either the HD or the Alien is a great choice. The latter also supports wired backhaul to build a fast-performing mesh.

AmpliFi Mesh System's Overall Rating

7.5 out of 10
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Wi-Fi Router
8.5 out of 10
7.5 out of 10
Ease of Use
9 out of 10
5 out of 10


Dead-easy to set up and manage

Excellent Wi-Fi coverage

Fast performance, wired backhaul supported in Wi-Fi 6 versions

Users can manage the backhaul link and virtual Wi-Fi networks

Useful VPN and ad-blocking features

Cool hardware design


The HD has no wired backhaul option, the Alien's MeshPoint has only one LAN port, and only works with the one router of the same Alien Kit

No dedicated backhaul band


5. Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh (Jan 2017): Flexible backhaul

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E network ports
Home Mesh Brands: The Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E

Belkin released the first Linksys Velop (model WHW0303) in January 2017 to answer the Orbi and the eero. The full name is Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh, with an emphasis on "Intelligent." The intelligent notion is subjective, but the original Velop is indeed more flexible.

Linksys Velop: A more flexible option

A Linksys Velop mesh has a "dynamic backhaul," meaning it'll use any of its three bands at any given time as backhaul or fronthaul, depending on the situation.

As a result, users will have access to all three bands. And if you use wired backhaul, you won't lose any band for the backhaul link, making it a better alternative to the Orbi.

Like the Orbi, the Linksys Velop has a full web interface and the Linksys mobile app.

Starting with Wi-Fi 6 hardware, Belkin has started to coerce users into using the mobile app via a login account. As a result, the Velop generally has fewer features and customization options than the Orbi. But it's still much better than the eero on this front.

Linksys Velop: Hardware availability

Apart from the original tri-band option, the Linksys Velop has also been available in Dual-band, including the Velop Dual-band and Velop Plug-in, both dual-band. Its Wi-F 6, the MX4200, or MX5300 hardware, has always been tri-band.

A Velop home mesh set tends to come in multiple identical routers. You can use any as the router role, and the rest will work as a satellite(s). The Atlas Max 6E is the latest in this ecosystem.

When to consider a Linksys Velop

A tri-band Linksys Velop is an excellent alternative to the Orbi, and a dual-band one is about as good as the eero in a wireless setup. In a wired backhaul configuration, the Velop is better than the other two.

Linksys Velop Smart Wi-Fi's Overall Rating

8.1 out of 10
Linksys Velop Pro 7 MBE7003 Top
7 out of 10
Design and features
8 out of 10
Ease of Use
9 out of 10
Value and Privacy
8.5 out of 10


Generally reliable Wi-Fi with good coverage; pain-free no-nonsense approach (starting early 2024)

Helpful mobile app, full web interface, optional vendor-assisted management

Flexible wired/wireless backhaul


Modest hardware specs, lack of innovation in features and performance; expensive

No Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, or VPN; no setting backup/restore; no pre-synced hardware

TP-Link Deco BE85 Wi-Fi 7 Mesh System on table
Home Mesh Brands: The TP-Link BE85 is the latest Deco variant and the first on the market that features Wi-Fi 7.

TP-Link introduced its first Deco set, the M5, in April 2017 as a better alternative to the eero.

While Deco also requires a login account and a mobile app to work and can also cause privacy concerns, TP-Link is a networking company and not a big data one like the case of Amazon.

The M5 was a dual-band 3-pack set that was more affordable yet came with many free features, including Antivirus, QoS, and others. It did, too, require a mobile app and a login account—it was also hardware as a service.

Over the years, TP-Link has gradually removed online protection and parental control from new hardware, offering them as part of an add-on subscription called HomeShield Pro.

Over the years, the Deco has remained the same in terms of features for the most part. All variants are app-operated.

Deco has been the most prolific mesh brand available in most hardware options, including Dual-band, Tri-band, and Quad-band of various performance grades and Wi-Fi standards.

In early 2023, TP-Link was the first company with Wi-Fi 7 hardware, including two Deco mesh systems.

Who should get a Deco?

Generally, Deco is balanced. This brand has a good combo of performance, features, and price without much standing out. But it's reasonably priced.

That said, if you want an easy-to-use canned mesh system that will give you decent performance (and not much else) for the money, pick a Deco set that fits your budget.

TP-Link Deco's Overall Rating

7.1 out of 10
TP-Link Deco BE85 Wi-Fi 7 Mesh System front on table
8 out of 10
7 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
5 out of 10


Affordable with lots of hardware options

Easy-to-use mobile app

Reliable Wi-Fi coverage



Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features

Limited port-related features

App and login account required, no real web user interface

Confusing HomeShield/HomeCare online protection and Parental Control features

7. Asus’s AiMesh (Feb 2018): The most versatile (and potentially temperamental) home mesh option

Asus RT-AX92U AiMesh
Home Mesh Brands: With AiMesh, you can put almost two Asus routers into a potentially powerful Wi-Fi system.

Asus introduced the AiMesh option as an add-on feature via firmware update in February 2018, together with the release of the RT-AC86U.

Since then, this has been one of the most significant home mesh developments, thanks to its versatility. You can create many mesh combos from more than a dozen (and counting) broadcasters and use them (almost) however you want.

In any case, you'll get a mesh with the most features, settings, and likely the best performance. But, most importantly, you can also use them without privacy risks.

In return, you need to tread relatively lightly with your choice of hardware since a wrong combo can be a headache. AiMesh is not for the faint of heart, but it's a gratifying option for those who are up for a bit of a challenge.

Asus AiMesh's Rating

8 out of 10
Asus RT-AXE7800 vs. GT-AXE11000 Port Side
8 out of 10
8.5 out of 10
Design and Ease of Use
7 out of 10
Value and Privacy
8.5 out of 10


The most flexible way to build a robust, scalable home Wi-Fi mesh system

Excellent performance, top-notch feature set

Built-in online protection

No vendor login is required, or other privacy risks

Comparatively affordable


Certain router combos can be buggy or have issues with new major firmware releases.

Rigid Wi-Fi management when mixing hardware of different Wi-Fi tiers, standards, or number of bands

Only one Guest SSID (instead of three) per band can be made system-wide

8. Synology Mesh (Oct 2018): The professional-grade home mesh

Synology mesh routers RT6600ax WRX560 and RT2600ac
Home Mesh Brands: A few main routers in Synology Mesh, including the RT6600ax, WRX560, and RT2600ac.

In October 2018, Synology released the MR2200ac and, with it, an add-on mesh feature that has turned out to be a formidable counterpart of Asus AiMesh.

You can form a robust mesh system with two or more supported routers. Thanks to an advanced firmware called Synology Router Manager (SRM), Synology Mesh is one of the best for those who need a pro-grade Wi-Fi system.

Unfortunately, Synology Mesh has a limited hardware combo. Currently, there are only routers, including MR2200ac, RT2600ac, RT6600ax, and WRX560, and you can only make specific combos out of them.

Synology Wi-Fi Mesh System's Rating

8.1 out of 10
Synology mesh routers RT6600ax vs. WRX560 vs. RT2600ac
8 out of 10
8.5 out of 10
Design and Ease of Use
8 out of 10
Value and Privacy
8 out of 10


Fast, reliable, and extensive Wi-Fi coverage

Advanced interface with high-quality add-on features

Highly customizable network and Wi-Fi settings

Effective Parental Controls and online protection

Advanced Guest network


Limited hardware and combo options, no satellite-only hardware, users have little control over the satellites

No 10Gbps or 5Gbps Multi-Gig option, no hardware with two or more 2.5Gbps ports

TP-Link OneMesh Archer AXE75 and RE700X
Home Mesh Brands: A TP-Link OneMesh made of an Archer AXE75 and RE700X combo.

In April 2019, TP-Link introduced its OneMesh approach somewhat as the answer to Asus's AiMesh. It's also an alternative to the company's popular Deco home mesh family.

The idea is you can get a standalone router and then use a supported extender—the first being the RE300 extender—to form a mesh.

At the core of it, OneMesh turned out to be similar to using a router and extender—the RE300 works with third-party routers, too.

As a result, OneMesh, while easy and affordable, is slow and far inferior to the alternatives. Since late 2022, TP-Link has slowly transitioned OneMesh into Wi-Fi EasyMesh.

Wi-Fi EasyMesh in a nutshell

Wi-Fi EasyMesh is Wi-Fi Alliance's certification program, first announced in early 2020, that aims to simplify the building of mesh systems by creating universal mesh protocols. The idea is any Wi-Fi EasyMesh-certified hardware from any vendor will work with one another to form a seamless Wi-Fi mesh system. Per the organization, here are the highlights of EasyMesh:

  • Increased network capacity: Supports more simultaneous services and higher realized throughput when operating in Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E
  • Flexible design: Allows for best placement of multiple APs to provide extended coverage
  • Easy setup: Delivers seamless, secure device onboarding and configuration using QR codes through Wi-Fi Easy Connect technology
  • Network intelligence: Advanced diagnostics for Wi-Fi 6 capabilities through Wi-Fi Data Elements facilitate service provider support and respond to network conditions to maximize performance
  • Effective service prioritization and Quality of Service (QoS) support: Capability to prioritize low latency applications when needed and guide devices to roam to the best connection and avoid interference
  • Scalability: Enables the addition of Wi-Fi EasyMesh APs from multiple vendors

The new program's adoption has proven slow. By late mid-2023, only Netgear and TP-Link had joined the movement. The former uses it in its Nighthawk purpose-built mesh family, first represented by the MK63 and MK83—none is a standalone router. TP-Link, on the other hand, started to transition its OneMesh—available in standalone routers—into TP-Link EasyMesh in August 2022. (In real-world trials, the EasyMesh hardware of TP-Link and Netgear, so far, has yet to work with each other.)

Understandably, both TP-Link and Netgear recommend their own hardware in an EasyMesh setup.

Generally, we need the hardware of at least two vendors working together to know Wi-Fi EasyMesh is universal. But then, things can get complicated in terms of liability or tech support. If a mixed Wi-Fi EasyMesh system is not working as expected, it's hard to know which hardware vendor is at fault, and consumers might be stuck between two networking companies that point fingers at each other.

TP-Link OneMesh's Rating

6.6 out of 10
TP-Link OneMesh Archer AXE75 RE700X
6.5 out of 10
6 out of 10
Ease of Use
7 out of 10
7 out of 10


Affordable and easy to set up

Reliable performance

Responsive web interface, useful mobile app

Supported in many Wi-Fi 6 routers


No dedicated or wired backhaul options

Modest Wi-Fi speeds

Routers can't work as satellite units

No high-end satellite hardware

10. Arris Surfboard mAX (Oct 2019): The new kid on the home mesh block

SURFboard mAX 6E Mesh System Box Content
Home Mesh Brands: The ARRIS SURFboard mAX 6E AX6600.

In October 2019, CommScope released its first ARRIS Wi-Fi 6 device, the SURFboard mAX PRO AX11000 mesh system. It's also the company's very first Wi-Fi router. Before this, ARRIS was a known brand for cable modems and gateway.

The mAX PRO is the top-of-the-line hardware that can deliver Gigabit speeds. Since then, the system has gone through a few changes, including a completely new app.

At the gist of it, the SURFboard mAX has remained the same. The canned mesh system has almost no feature or setting at all. It's also the only one on the market that, so far, has no support for wired backhaul.

That has been the case with all variants, including the latest SURFboard mAX 6E.

In all, the SURFboard mAX is a reliable system if you only care about expanding Wi-Fi coverage and not much else.

ARRIS SURFboard Mesh System's Overal Rating

6 out of 10
SURFboard mAX 6E Mesh System out of Box
7 out of 10
6 out of 10
Easy of Use
6 out of 10
5 out of 10


Decent Wi-Fi speeds, large coverage

Effective dedicated wireless backhaul band

Reliable performance

Good-looking hardware


Zero customization and feature

Fluctuating Wi-Fi speeds

Poorly designed SURFboard Central app; and vendor accounts required to work; no local web user interface

No wired backhaul, limited port-related features

11. Netgear Knighthawk Mesh (Mid-2020): Wi-Fi EasyMesh made for a wired home

Netgear MK63 AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System 14
Home Mesh Brands: The Netgear MK63 Nighthawk Mesh system.

In mid-2020, Netgear released its first Wi-Fi EasyMesh-based system, the Nighthawk MK63. (And in early 2021, it unveiled the MK83.) This mesh brand is an alternative to the networking vendor's Orbi family.

The Knighthawk mesh line shares the same feature set and mobile app as Netgear's Nighthawk routers. It, too, has a full web interface with lots of customization. Most importantly, it doesn't come with a permanently dedicated backhaul—it's excellent for wired backhaul.

On top of that, supporting the Wi-Fi EasyMesh concept, there's a chance it will work with hardware from other vendors of the same standard.

Netgear Nighthawk Mesh's Overall Rating

6.5 out of 10
Netgear MK63 AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System 3
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Ease of Use
6 out of 10
6 out of 10


Reliable Wi-Fi coverage at affordable pricing

Full web interface, optional mobile app


Wired backhaul support

Practice design


Web interface lacks some common networking settings

Limited number of ports, switches are required for the dual-band version to use wired backhaul

Lacks basic Wi-Fi settings, no 160 MHz channel width

No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation

Finicky QoS, online protection, requires a mobile app and is not free

Home mesh brands: The takeaway

Those mentioned here are all popular purpose-built home mesh systems in the market. There are others, but chances are they are not as significant.

You'll note that none of the brands above will give you everything. Ultimately, you must choose between ease of use, performance, features, and privacy. Find a combo you can tolerate and go with it.

If you're willing to spend some time figuring things out or are comfortable with networking, consider these do-it-yourself mesh systems.

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67 thoughts on “Popular Home Mesh Brands in Brief: AiMesh, Deco, eero, Orbi, Velop, and More”

  1. I’ve had an ongoing issue with many mesh systems I’ve tried – from Eero, Google, Netgear ORBI (even the supposed top-of-line RBKE963).
    Basically, I am told I may have “too many” IoT devices (wall switches, plugs, cameras, etc.) on my network.
    I have over 200 2.4GHz devices (most are low-bandwidth, like plugs), ~50 5GHz, and the rest are LAN.
    As you review systems like this, especially the Mesh ones, it’d be helpful to note their anticipated limits (which are becoming more commonly published), as well as what you might do to test them.

    Same for what features (besides accounts) they require. For example, I just returned a new Eero 6E system because I use my own DHCP server and the Eero required using theirs (except in Bridge mode, which sorta defeats the point). Same with the TP-Link XE200.

    Even with the ORBI RBKE963, they can’t get it to work with my network. This, after eight months of technical conversations – beyond their Level 2, 3, 4, to a Wifi engineer who was supposedly liaising with Qualcomm (chip maker) to try to figure out my issues.
    (I think most of my issues are due to their “beamforming” and similar technologies that can’t be turned off in newer ORBI models – didn’t have problems with the old RBR50.)

    I’m now waiting to try the Asus XT12, Tenda EX12 or MX12, ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro W133, Linksys Atlas Max 6E, Motorola Q14 Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System, trying the Ubiquiti soon, and some others, to see which allow me using my own DHCP server and support my ~300 MAC addresses.

    By way of perspective, house first floor is 58’x32′, second floor is smaller. So we’re not talking a huge place. The problem is I need the main router by one corner, so I often end up thinking I need two satellites (one middle second floor, one further away in garage to cover front-of-house cameras).

    Any thoughts on which can handle my quantity of devices?

    • Your problem will NEVER be solved by how you currently see things, Bruce. You make too many assumptions based on false information and marketing hype and then keep looking for stuff that doesn’t exist. Check out this post, read it *carefully*, and you’ll find the solution.

      Note that the number of devices you have is also very high and the default IP pool of your router might have already run out. You might need to use a double NAT to increase it.

    • The Synology routers allow you to offer larger than the standard 255 client addresses per pool if you use the correctly subnetted addresses.

  2. Hi Dong,

    I did disable the Motorola MG8702 combo unit and using it as a straight up modem, it’s working fine like that. I purchased two Asus RT-AX92U (in a two-pack configuration) and I’m using them as a whole house mesh system and the coverage is great. No complaints and a huge THANK YOU to you Dong for steering me in the correct direction.


  3. Hi anh Dong,

    Em có một vài câu hỏi liên quan đến setup router/wifi cho nhà của em. Hi vọng anh có thể hỗ trợ em được phần nào đó. Nhà hiện tại setup như sau:

    1. Nhà em khoảng 130m2/tầng x 3 tầng xây bằng tường gạch, bao gồm 5 phòng (cả phòng khách/bếp/ngủ), nhà em có khoảng 4 TVs, 8 điện thoại, khoảng 7-8 thiết bị thông minh.
    2. Hiện tại em đang setup các router nhà em như sau:
    – Modem ISP: chế độ router, tắt wifi broadcast, hiện tại có 4 ports em đang dùng làm switch để kết nối đến 2 routers: 1. asus rt-ac3200u và 2. netgear nighthawk R7000
    – Nighthawk R7000: hiện tại em đang để tầng 1 chế độ router cắm dây LAN từ modem isp vào cổng WAN của router này và broadcast wifi network tên như modem (tầng 1 em dùng khá ổn định, ít sảy ra vấn đề)
    – Asus RT-3200U: hiện tại em để ở tầng 2, cũng setup như Nighthawk R7000 như trên, dây LAN từ modem isp cắm trực tiếp vào công WAN, tên wifi như tên modem (tên wifi thứ 2)
    – Nighthawk EX7000: hiện tại em đặt tầng 3 để extend wifi network từ Asus router, hiện tại em đang gặp rất nhiều vấn đề với mạng tại tầng 3, cái repeater này thi thoảng treo không vào được, restart thì work được khoảng vài ngày lại treo, internet chậm và có thể k vào được.

    Em đang tìm cách để nâng cấp hệ thống mạng nhà em, em đang suy nghĩ nâng lên mesh wifi để dùng cho ổn định, hoặc quy hoạch lại hệ thống mạng hiện tại. Nếu anh có thời gian anh tư vấn giúp em nên làm như nào.

    Em cảm ơn anh.

  4. Hi Dong,

    What is the difference between having 3 identical access points with a wired back bone and a mesh network with a wired back bone?

    I used to have multiple access points and I used to try and keep the channels apart, but I have noticed that with my new ASUS XT8s with a wired backbone all the nodes are using the same channel! I don’t get it!

  5. Hi anh Đông. Em không biết là anh có thể nói tiếng Việt được nhiều hoặc có thể đọc hiểu tiếng Việt được không?

    Em có thể hỏi anh 1 chút về loại Deco X60 được không? Vì hiện tại nhà em đang dùng Giga plan và Deco M9 (3 packs).

    Sơ đồ hiện tại của em là Modem Frontier ==> Switch 5 port ==> Deco M9 (wired). Em có đi dây ra cho main router và 1 dây cho cục extend của M9.

    Giờ thì em muốn upgrade lên Deco X60 cho wifi 6, theo anh thì nó có đáng để upgrade không? Hoặc là em nên mua mesh của Orbi.

    Hiện tại thì em đang dùng M9 cho công việc, gaming, và nhà em thì tầm 20 thiết bị khi cao điểm.

    Cảm ơn anh.

    • Theo sơ đồ thì cách cài đặt hiện thời là không ổn, Bao. Đúng thì là: Modem -> Deco router -> Switch -> Deco vệ tinh / cách thiết bị khác . (Xem thêm ở đây.) Nếu nhà mình đã có dây cáp mạng (và switch) rồi, thì nên dùng bộ Asus XD4 hoặc một bộ dual-band tương tự. Deco X60 cũng ổn nhưng rất thiếu các tùy chọn hoặc các đặc tính khác. Không nên dùng tri-band. 🙂

      • Cảm ơn anh đã trả lời thắc mắc của em.

        Nếu theo sơ đồ của anh thì em phải tính toán đi lại dây cáp mạng cho nhà. Vậy nên theo em thấy em có thể tận dụng được Modem 4 port của nhà mạng.

        Anh nghĩ thế nào nếu em chia trên Modem của Frontier theo sơ đồ như thế này ạ:
        Port 1 -> Main router
        Port 2 -> Switch
        Switch -> Deco vệ tinh

        Vì hiện tại em đang dùng port của main router Deco để đi thẳng vào PC. Nên nếu theo sơ đồ của anh thì có vẻ rất khó để em có thể đi lại toàn bộ dây cáp mạng trong nhà.

        Em đang dự tính upgrade X60 vì thấy Costco đang có đợt sale cho nó anh ạ. Nếu theo anh review thì em cũng đang phân vân với Asus đây :'(

        Cảm ơn anh.

          • Có vẻ khá phức tạp nếu như em dùng thêm switch để cắm trực tiếp vào modem.

            Anh có nghĩ Modem sẽ chịu tải tốt nếu như em dùng trực tiếp 4 port của modem cho X60 (main rounter and setterline).

            Nhà em là single house tầm 2500 sqt nên em thiết nghĩ là nên dùng mesh wifi và X60 thì chỉ có 2 port (wan và lan). Vì đa phần là phone và smart tv, camera, themorstat. Chỉ có 1 PC duy nhất để em control tất cả các thiết bị trong nhà.

            Vậy theo anh nghĩ, em có nên để thêm switch để giảm tải cho modem hay là không cần switch và để modem tự cân bằng cho tất cả các thiết bị.

            1 sơ đồ nữa của em là như này:
            Internet -> Modem
            Port 1 (modem) -> X60 main router -> PC
            Port 2 (modem) -> X60 set (1)
            Port 3 (modem) -> X60 set (2)

            Cảm ơn anh.

  6. Very helpful article. I have the original Linksys Velop triband mesh with the parent and 3 children in a 3600sf home (2500 sf on the main level and the rest upstairs). I have 1gig speed internet with Comcast. We have a lot of devices – multiple computers, 20+ cams (mix of Arlo and Abode), a couple of tablets, many Amazon Alexa devices and many TPlink plugs, switches and bulbs. While the Velop had issues early on they all seem to be ironed out and I get very good Wi-Fi. My only issue is when we have a power interruption. Most times all nodes reconnect, but on occasion one particular node will not reconnect (usually when I am on vacation) without unplugging and plugging back in. So I am basically pleased with the system. Is there any reason to upgrade the system (Wi-Fi 6??) or should I just leave well enough alone? Thanks for all of the information you provide. It is much appreciated.

  7. Hi Dong
    Its refreshing to see reviews from someone who seems to know these products technically as opposed to an IT journalist

    Re the Highthawk you say “Most importantly, it doesn’t come with a permanent dedicated backhaul — it’s excellent for wired backhaul.” I have a home thats wired so does this mean the Nighthawk is a good choice for me? I also note you didn’t think its performance was great, should i werry about this much?

  8. Hi Dong,

    Great posts. I live in a 3800 sq foot single family home with three floors built in 1990, basement and two stories. My Motorola MG 8702 combo modem/router, purchased January 2021, is located in the far side corner of the house in my office and I cannot move it. The house is not wired for internet use and I use Comcast as my ISP provider. The wifi coverage is weak to non-existent in corners of the house. I have tried Netgear extenders, the latest was the 7500, all without success even though it was placed within 35 feet from the router. I completely agree that extenders are not a solution.

    Any recommendations on a mesh system? Cost is not a huge factor.

    Thanks for all you do to help us out.

      • Thanks Dong, I’ll give the 2-pack Asus RT-AX92U a try. I am looking for a mesh system that will serve me well now and grow in the future and hopefully the AX92U can fill that need. I’m in the process of converting the house to become “smart” and adding more smart devices all the time.

        I presume I will need to convert the Motorola combo unit to become just a modem and disable the routing capabilities? do you believe the Motorola combo unit acting as just a modem will be sufficient to handle all of the Asus requirements?

        I read you “placement” article and will try to comply as much as possible but the main router must remain in my office at one end of the house as that’s where the Comcast cable is installed.

        Is there anything else I need to know before moving forward with the purchase?

        Thanks again for your help.

        • Barry, a year removed from your post what did you end up doing?

          I hope you definetly disabled the wifi combo part on your modem.

          Budget not an option must be nice. Pay or do it yourself to have Cat 6e wired to the other nodes of a mesh system and get them most out of your Gig service from Comcast.


  9. Thanks for the frank input Dong. I’ll have to try some more smooze and hopefully she won’t respond “Negative Ghostrider!” Thanks again.

  10. Hi Dong,

    I greatly appreciate what is clearly a labor of love as reflected by your website and you’re a tremendous fount of knowledge. Thank you.

    I’m considering a WiFi 6-type mesh setup as we don’t have any high-quality ethernet wiring installers available in our location; and I’m certainly not going to start punching arbitrary holes in walls to string it myself (she’ll kill me!). So…

    I like the idea of the Orbi RBK853 or 854 but in checking myriad reviews it seems to work out either really well or quite poorly, in terms of long-term, consistent signal reliability at range. In addition, AiMesh seems to be kind of hit-or-miss for more than a few as well. Given this, would we be better served by a RAX200 and a ‘mesh-like’ extender such as the EX8000 or EAX80?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and guidance and all you do in providing your readers with all the amazing content!


  11. HI Dong,

    Thank you for your realy helpfull post. I have a question. I live in a concrete/stone house with 3 floors. I want to set up a mesh network for the whole house. In the hallway I will connect the “mesh router” next to my ISP modem. To reach the back of the garden, about 35 meters removed from the ISP modem, I want to place the first satellite in my living room, between the garden and the hallway. This satellite will be wired.

    On the 2nd floor I want to place another satellite, non-wired. My ISP download speed is 600mb/40mb.

    I want to try and stay with a 3pack for now. In the future I would like to replace my excisting (wired)network set-up on the attic.

    Because of the wired/non wired set-up I would like to know what you would recommend.

    Kind regards from the Netherlands

  12. Hello, Dong.

    I read your recent review of Eero where you say you don’t recommend it. I also read the 6/15 article on mesh products, where you talk about pros and cons. I’m hoping you might give me an outright recommendation or two.

    Q: What would you recommend for a large house (stucco walls) with WIRED backhaul?

    I agree: I don’t trust Amazon vis-a-vis privacy … I tend to trust Google more.

    I think I want WiFi 6 (or even 6E).

    Ease of setup is secondary.

    Would be a plus to have a built-in VPN like my current TP-Link AC2300.

  13. Hi Dong
    The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know…..however I have established from reading your material and others’ (for real time range testing) that I need 4 to 5 broadcasters, each separated about 30 to 45 ft apart with 2 or more brick walls between them; but all connected via cat5e wiring/GB switches, except one. Each broadcaster/node ideally has a range of 2500 sq.ft. (Or more practically speaking ~25ft radius from node.
    The above knocks a lot of the mesh units off the perch (so to speak), leaving the longer range stuff like: orbi, Deco, D-Link (the Asus units that have a good range are prohibitively expensive when 4 to 5 units are needed).
    So here’s my question. Out of the following short list:
    – Netgear RBK50 AC3000 (25 ft radius range);
    – Velos (25 ft radius range), how would you rate them in terms of:
    – roaming reliability for speeds <100Mbps, seamlessly switching between nodes;
    – use of wired backhaul for most, but also one node possibly using a PowerPoint link;
    – reliability over several or more years?
    I’m not that fussed about speed…..happy with 100 Mbps. Also run a NAS, but that works fine just off the wired network.

  14. Hi Dong
    Been looking at Apple Linksys Velos mesh wifi sets AC6600 tri band released late 2020. But, it looks like these are the 4 year old original sets revamped. They have the Ethernet etc cables coming out of the bottom corner. Do you know anything about these mesh sets? Your review doesn’t appear to cover these.

  15. Dong,

    I was curious of your thoughts on using MoCA as a wired backhaul for a dual-band mesh system vs using a Tri-Band Mesh system with a dedicated backhaul channel. For my specific case, my main router is on the middle level of a three level home on one side due to where service comes in. The whole house is wired for cable into each room but I am currently using DSL provider due to cost effectiveness of the speed/service. I understand MoCA is inferior to a wired CAT 5e/6 backhaul, but is it in any way better or comparable to just using Tri-band Mesh system?

  16. Hi Dong
    Very informative. I like your coverage about privacy and being locked into vendor cloud, etc. services, which helped me remove some brands from the short list for a new mesh system.
    Looked at asus mesh units, but when reading through the manual, I found it hard the read past all the typo’s and grammatical errors……it was quite riddled with errors. That made me think if that’s all asus cares about their user manual, what’s the software going to be like.
    Your comment about software updates that break setups that work also rings alarm bells for me.
    So based on the two above points, I’m not to keen to buy into those issues.
    Also looked at Netgear, who don’t seem to suffer from these issues. So keen to see your full review of the MK8x.

    • Look into the firmware problems that Netgear has been having for the last few years. The Netgear community forum is a good place to start.

    • Asus is a Taiwanese company so Engish is definitely not their forte, Rudi. The issue with firmware happens in all vendors. It happens more with Asus, if so, likely because Asus releases firmware updates more frequently.

      • The difference that I found between Netgear and Asus firmware was that Netgear forced me to take the next firmware version, whether it worked well or not. With Asus, there’s always a working firmware version that you can revert to. Big difference…with the Netgear Orbi’s that I had, when I got a bad firmware release (too frequent), I was stuck with it until the next release. Asus is much better about arming the user with the tools to make things work.

      • I bought an RT-AX89X about 16 months ago for WiFi 6 and for the latest and greatest. It’s been an unpleasant ride of regularly dropped connections, etc. However, in July 2021 it started to become pretty stable. They screwed things up a couple of times since then, but as of now, it’s working perfectly (as far as I can tell) and performance is excellent. Despite the previous headaches, I’m glad I purchased this beast especially now that WiFi 6 products (like new Macs) are being released. I was planning to add an AI mesh router, but the single router seems to be providing all the coverage I need in my 2000 sq’ house plus large garage. Signal in grounds outside and around the property are very good as well. The multiple 1G ports as well as the pair of 10G ports put this router in a class by itself.

        • Your experience is about right, Thomas. I had a better one but mostly because I took into account that the earlier firmware versions were buggy. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  17. My next mesh is Synology, both units, simply because I’ve never heard of them and they’re not any of the big gorillas, so to speak. Write-ups from Dong are great and that’s good enough for me. My Portal mesh has served well for 5 plus years but I’m on to the next.

  18. You know what? You should look up the eero Pro, and you’ll find that the eero Pro 6 is simply the next tri-band version of the eero, with wifi-6 added. So your statement that the eero Pro 6 is the first eero tri-band router is simply not true. The eero Pro 6 also has more up-to-date hardware, and is generally more capable than prior models. But that’s pretty much okay, you have most of the rest right. The accent is on ease of installation and use. I find the performance to be fine, not exciting, but fine. If you just want to use your network, and not spend time fiddling with it, then the eero is a fine choice. It will serve user needs with little attention.

    Catching eeros on sale is the way to buy them…they are on sale occasionally, and the bundles go on sale as well. I got two eero pro 6’s on Amazon during the last holiday season for about $320, not a bad price.

    • You’re, right, Roger. For some reason I got confused between Pro and Wi-Fi 6, etc. Gonna correct it. Thanks.

  19. What would be the best performance (fastest connection speeds) option to cover a 3000sq home and 1/2 acre of land, if my only option is a wireless backhaul? From what I can tell it seems that Velop would be the best, but I’ve always had TP-Link routers….

    Usage patterns are lots of streaming (3 users), 30+ smart devices, full time at home office, and a teenager doing virtual learning (covid times).

    Router is currently upstairs, gaming systems in basement 35 feet from router, and I often sit outside with laptop to work.

  20. Hi Dong,

    I’ve got an Arris TG3452A router/modem from my ISP that doesn’t seem to be able to fully cover our 2k sq ft house (weak signal at the opposite end of the house). Our house is prewired with Cat 5e cable, so I was hoping to use that and a switch to connect the router and a mesh system to improve the wifi coverage. I don’t have much technical experience, so I am looking for some guidance on how to best achieve this – replace router/modem with full mesh system or add on to it. If there is a system that is relatively easy to setup/use that would be great. For what it’s worth, our internet comes into the router/modem by cable, so I would have to consider that as well I suppose. Also, I was hoping to use PoE, to the extent possible, as it would make it easier to locate the devices based on the cat 5e outlets.

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

  21. Hey Dong, great post. My Orbi Rbk50 router just died after 4 years. I have gigabit and I’m looking for full wireless with no backhaul for about a 2500 sq foot property with outdoor cameras. Orbi served me well but stuttered at times. Looking to spend around 300 plus tax. I like the idea of wifi6 and tri band future proofing. Any suggestions.

  22. 2 Costco specials- which to choose:
    Velox AX4200 2pack for $229 or netgear MX63 3pack for $200?
    The house isn’t big enough that I really Need additional units and I would prefer to go wired back haul.

    • Your call, Jim. Either will do with wired backhaul. If you’re sure 2 are enough, though, go with the Linksys.

  23. Dong, I see you mention AiMesh as a versatile system for mixing and matching ASUS’s line. Is TP-Link’s OneMesh comparable?

      • Thank you for the response Dong!

        I have a wired backhaul set up too. they are very similar except the xt8 has usb port.

        • Sure, Jeremy. If you haven’t gotten one yet, with a wired setup, I’d recommend a dual-band set. More here. But the TP-Link will work out fine, and yes, an Asus set will give you a lot more features, including those relating to the USB port.

          • i’ve got my place fully wired up actually.

            Which would you go for within the price range of a pair of xt8?

            it’s a new place so i’d like to “future proof” it if possible 🙂

            Thanks again Dong!

          • I don’t keep tabs on the pricing, Jeremy. But the post I linked in the previous reply will help.

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