WiFi routers that will smarten up your entire home

Don’t settle for lag times just because your gaming system is in the basement.

man on phone outside with drink
Get speedy internet through your entire house.Rohit Tandon via Unsplash

WiFi has become just as much of a household necessity as electricity, and it only ingrains itself further as more “smart” products and devices enter your domicile. Forget trying to work or do homework without WiFi; soon you won’t even be able to cook or adjust your lights without it.

With that comes the need to have a strong, reliable signals that can juggle multiple devices. New routers are offering what’s being called “mesh” systems (also known as Whole Home WiFi) that use satellite modules placed around the house to create a stronger web connection than a single wireless router and modem. Here are some systems from the biggest names in the router business.

eero Mesh WiFi Router

eero Mesh WiFi Router
The most powerful thing in your house that you won't even know is there.Amazon

Offering quick set up with any internet service provider, the eero is based around simplicity, an intuitive user interface, and adaptability. Covering up to 1,500 square feet, the system installs in minutes and has an app that lets you control settings, searches for updates, and doubles as your initial walk-thru tutorial, too. The router and extender are both small (3.86 inches by 2.36 inches) and can be stashed in your house without drawing attention to themselves. The eero system also adapts to your usage: For example, it will notice if the room with the gaming devices is experiencing heavier workloads and will reroute traffic to avoid buffering or dropouts.

Netgear Nighthawk AX4

Netgear Nighthawk AX4
The router you’d expect to see in the Batcave.Amazon

A four-stream router with WiFi 6, the Nighthawk looks like it means business—and it does. It gives you more capacity to balance multiple devices, with up to 36 bps available for HD streaming, gaming, phones, and tablets. The Netgear app allows you to easily check internet speed, gain remote access to your network, and even gives you the option to “pause” your internet. Nothing gets everyone off their devices faster than a sudden “outage” around dinner time.

TP-Link Archer 7 AC1750 Smart WiFi Router

TP-Link Archer 7 AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
Armed and ready...Amazon

This powerful system can cover up to 2,500 square feet with three high-gain antennas and strong amplifiers, allowing for crystal-clear signals throughout the house and even out into the yard. The Archer 7 is compatible with Alexa and boasts high-speed internet, which reduces buffering and is ideal for 4K streaming. It’s a powerful option for people with a lot of space to cover.

Linksys Tri-Band Mesh WiFi Router

Linksys Tri-Band Mesh WiFi Router
Standing at attention.Amazon

With tri-band wifi speeds up to 2.2 Gbps—two 5 GHz bands and one 2.4 GHz—the Linksys system spans up to 2,000 square feet and is designed to completely (and easily) integrate all internet and smart home services. Offering coverage for up to 20 devices, the master node sends direct signals to the source rather than dispersing the signal. It’s also equipped with four ethernet ports, which allow you to easily connect shared storage devices, printers, and other smart gadgets to your network. Overall, Tri-Band is a great introduction to the mesh WiFi system and a big step towards creating a wall-to-wall “smart” home.

Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi System

Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi System
Node doubt, you need to amp up your wifi.Amazon

If you are looking to amp up your home wifi, consider this your entry point into the mesh system. Or, more accurately, entry points. The Velop system main set comes with three very light nodes that you can position around your house as relay points. One hooks to the modem, and the other can be placed strategically to ensure total coverage (up to a whopping 6,000 square feet). The nodes are non-invasive, and the Linksys app walks you through the process step by step, making installation ridiculously easy. You can also add more nodes if needed (but for most homes, three should be plenty). Strong signals, easy install, and inconspicuous nodes make this one of those “why didn’t we do this before?” kinds of things.