Best mesh network 2021: get the best mesh Wi-Fi for you

Wave goodbye to poor network connection misery with one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market today

The Netgear Wi-Fi 6 Orbi RBK353 mesh network router shown on table next to books and a glass jar holding flowers
(Image credit: Netgear)

Get one of the best mesh networks in 2021 set up in your home and you can say goodbye to Wi-Fi range and coverage problems: mesh networking beams Wi-Fi to parts of your home that standard routers cannot reach, and can improve speed and connection quality at the same time. They're particularly good for larger homes or for places where a single router really struggles.

We've put the best mesh Wi-Fi networks in the UK in 2021 to the test to see which ones really deliver the goods. We're not just interested in how far they reach: we're also looking at the quality of connections they deliver, how easy they are to set up and expand, and whether they represent good value for money compared to other Wi-Fi options.

For many of us, recent events have meant we're more dependent on our Wi-Fi than ever before: with so many of us learning, working and socialising online, Wi-Fi setups that were acceptable in The Before Times are often inadequate for the lives we're leading now: a Wi-Fi network that was okay for the odd Netflix binge might not be up to the challenge of the kids' Teams classrooms, the office's Skype calls or your Friday night Zoom catch-ups. 

A mesh network can help with that, ensuring that wherever you need a connection for your computer, console, laptop or tablet you can get a strong signal – and it can also ensure that you don't suffer any drops or quality issues when more than one person in your home needs to be online.

If you're looking into a mesh network while building a home office, then also take a look at T3's best webcams, best office chairs and best NAS drives buying guides.

Scroll down to discover T3's curated list of the very best mesh Wi-Fi systems you can buy, followed by some useful information about how they work, what to watch out for and which mesh network features really matter.

The best mesh networks you can buy today

Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 mesh network routerT3 Awards 2021 winner badge

(Image credit: Netgear)

1. Netgear Orbi WiFi 6

The best premium mesh network

Specifications
Connection: Tri-band AC6000
Reasons to buy
+Excellent coverage and speed+Quick and easy setup+Plenty of wired ports available
Reasons to avoid
-It's going to cost you-App could be better-Units are big and chunky

There are cheaper Orbi options (see below), but the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 is the latest and greatest mesh network system from Netgear – with full Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, it's able to reach blazing fast speeds, and uses a dedicated backhaul channel to make sure the connection between the router and its satellites is always rock solid.

It's certainly on the expensive side, but with a total of 6Gbps of bandwidth available to up to 100 devices, the kit will create a network that it's very hard to get the better of. Whether you want your Wi-Fi to reach right into the attic, or you need to connect up a slew of new smart home devices, the Orbi WiFi 6 can help.

Add in a straightforward setup process, an intuitive and easy to use app, and support for Google Assistant and Alexa voice commands, and you can see why the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 not only makes it on to our best mesh network list, but even won Best Home Networking Tech at the T3 Awards 2021.

Eero 6 mesh networkT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Eero)

2. Eero 6

The best mesh network for most people

Specifications
Connection: Dual-band
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6
Max speed: 500 Mbps
Reasons to buy
+Strong and stable Wi-Fi+App is polished and professional+Cover up to 460 square metres
Reasons to avoid
-Security extras require a subscription-No Ethernet ports on extenders-Lacks advanced customisations

Eero is a company with a strong tradition in the mesh Wi-Fi networking game, and that heritage is definitely on show with its latest offering: the Eero pack isn't quite the fastest option out there, nor does it offer the most advanced features, but it's a compelling blend of performance and features at the right price.

The system is incredibly easy to set up and use, and it has one of the most intuitive and polished apps we've come across in all our years of mesh Wi-Fi network testing. You can pause internet access, set up a guest network for your friends and much more, all with a few taps on your phone. It's now Wi-Fi 6 compatible for connecting up to the latest gadgets you've got in your home, too.

If you're looking for something that can be configured in minutes and that 'just works' – and we expect that most of you are – then you can't do very much better than the Eero 6 system. For a faster and more expensive option, have a look at the Eero 6 Pro set.

TP-Link Deco P9 Wi-Fi mesh networkT3 Awards 2020

The TP-Link Deco P9 offers very good value for money.

(Image credit: TP-Link)

The best budget mesh network

Specifications
Connection: Dual-band AC1200
Reasons to buy
+Excellent mesh Wi-Fi performance+One of the more affordable options+Adds Powerline tech capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-Apps are occasionally clunky-Not the best-looking system out there-Your existing setup might be enough

One of the reasons we like the TP-Link Deco P9 mesh networking kit so much is because it gives you the flexibility of using mesh Wi-Fi alongside Powerline networking – so internet signals can travel through the existing wiring in your home, as well as through the air.

That gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to trying to get wireless internet into every corner of your house, and the Deco P9 3-pack really does impress when it comes to blanketing your whole home with a Wi-Fi signal.

The accompanying app is simple and straightforward to use, and lets you prioritise devices as well as cut off the kids' connections to the web when it's bedtime. It's an all-round solid package, and definitely worth a place on your best mesh Wi-Fi shortlist – especially considering the competitive price.

The TP-Link Deco P9 has won the Best Home Networking Tech Award at the T3 Awards 2020, too, with the judging panel bowled over by its style and quality.

To see how this system stacks up against our number one choice, be sure to check out T3's Eero vs TP-Link Deco P9 comparison feature.

Google Nest Wifi mesh networkT3 Approved badge

Google Wi-Fi is a great mesh Wi-Fi system.

(Image credit: Google)

4. Google Nest Wifi

Google's mesh networking kit is getting better and better

Specifications
Connection: Dual-band AC2200
Reasons to buy
+Fast and reliable connection+Built-in Google Assistant
Reasons to avoid
-No Ethernet ports on the nodes-No support for the incoming Wi-Fi 6 standard-Google Assistant built into the nodes

As you can tell from our Google Nest Wifi review, we're quite taken with this upgrade on Google's Wi-Fi networking kit – it's faster, it's more reliable, it offers more coverage, and the satellite nodes now come with Google Assistant built in (so they're really mini smart speakers).

The app is as polished as you would expect from Google, enabling you to do everything from measuring signal strength to stopping the kids from staying on the internet for too long. Setup is very easy too, which is always something we like to see.

While you might get faster speeds from other kit, and there's no Wi-Fi 6 support here, there's no doubt this is one of the best mesh networking kits in the business – especially if you're already heavily invested in the Google ecosystem.

According to Google, a two-pack Nest Wifi hub is good for 210 square metres (2,260 square feet) of coverage, and in our testing we found it had very impressive reach as well as very low latency. It can even work alongside your existing Wi-Fi network to add a second network.

To see how this unit stacks up against our number one choice then check out T3's Amazon Eero vs Google Nest Wifi comparison feature.

Tenda MW6 Nova mesh networkT3 Approved badge

Tenda MW6 Nova blankets your home in high-speed Wi-Fi and is simple to install.

(Image credit: Tenda)

5. Tenda MW6 Nova

An excellent mesh network kit for wide coverage on a budget.

Specifications
Connection: AC1200, dual-band
Reasons to buy
+Wide Wi-Fi coverage+Very attractive price+Alexa support

The white cubes that make up the Tenda MW6 Nova system are undeniably stylish, and they'll do a great job of getting Wi-Fi coverage all around your home – even if the top speeds don't quite match the very best that the competition can offer.

Even if the speeds aren't the maximum that the market can offer, this is still one of the best mesh network kits in the UK: you get a simple to use guest mode (to keep visitors away from your key equipment), straightforward parental controls, and support for Amazon Alexa control.

All that and the sort of reliable, far-reaching Wi-Fi that you've come on this page to find out about. To seal the deal, you can pick up a pack of three router nodes for a very decent price too.

Netgear Orbi mesh network


6. Netgear Wi-Fi 6 Orbi RBK353

The best mesh networking system for a lot of people

Specifications
Connection: Dual-band
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6
Max speed: 1,800 Mbps
Reasons to buy
+Wi-Fi 6 support+Easy to set up+Smaller Orbi units
Reasons to avoid
-Only dual-band-Very white and plastic-Slightly clunky app

There are numerous Orbi packages to pick from when it comes to choosing the best mesh networking system for you, and this is the most affordable: you do miss out on some advanced features (it's dual-band rather than tri-band, for example), but there is support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard.

The units in this pack are smaller than they are in other Orbi systems as well, so they're easier to place around the house. As usual with Netgear hardware, everything is very straightforward to set up and configure – basically all you have to do is plug the boxes in, install the app, and follow the instructions.

With total speeds of 1,800 Mbps possible (though your broadband will probably fall far short of that), and coverage for around 488 square metres (with the three-pack option), this is a mesh networking system that you can rely on for getting dozens of devices online.

BT Whole Home mesh networkT3 Approved badge


7. BT Whole Home

The best mesh network for BT customers

Specifications
Connection: Dual-band AC2600
Reasons to buy
+Reasonably priced+Wide coverage

The BT mesh network takes the approach of sitting alongside your router rather than replacing it, which makes it a bit of a bargain as well – you can currently get three satellites devices for £199, which will only get you a single unit with some of the other solutions. This is well worth a spot on our best mesh networking kit of 2021 list.

This setup suits homes where you're locked into using the router that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has given you. If you've signed up with Virgin Media for internet and television services, for example, you can't get at the router (it's inside the main TV box) – BT Whole Home solves that problem.

BT has nailed the price then, but the design of these satellite notes isn't necessarily something we're going to be basing our interior design plans around. These white dishes on little metal stands aren’t exactly ugly, but do look like networking aerials, and that clear BT logo in the middle really doesn't help the aesthetics either. 

Other solutions are a little faster but the sheer square footage you can cover with three receivers is mammoth. BT also sells the Whole Home with two units or just a single one these days, so there are solutions to suit just about any living setup and budget, and the app includes plenty of smarts for monitoring and controlling internet access.

See how this mesh network stacks up against our number one choice in our Amazon Eero vs BT Whole Home comparison feature.

TP-Link Deco X60 mesh networkT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: TP-Link)

Say hello to Wi-Fi 6

Specifications
Connection: Dual-band AX3000
Reasons to buy
+Top speeds+Simple setup
Reasons to avoid
-Software is a bit clunky-On the expensive side-Plain design

If you want the very best speeds that modern-day wireless internet can offer, then you want Wi-Fi 6 – and the TP-Link Deco X60 fits the bill (it's a bit more powerful and a bit more expensive than the other TP-Link option we've featured below). Throughput of 3,000Mbps is possible, in theory, though note that your other devices will need to support Wi-Fi 6 to get the fastest speeds.

As usual with TP-Link, performance is impressive and rock-solid, and you won't have any problems setting up this mesh network around the home. The setup app even tells you whereabouts in your house or flat you should be putting the various satellite nodes, based on your current layout (you can pick up the TP-Link Deco X60 in either a two-pack or a three-pack).

Not only do the four antennas in each unit ensure a fast connection, they also mean you can connect more devices without any drops in speed and stability. No matter how many laptops and smartphones you need to hook up, the Deco X60 will be able to cope – and your connection will stay strong even as you move around the home.

It's hard to fault the TP-Link Deco X60, although it'll cost you a fair bit, and the software isn't quite as polished as it is on some of its competitors' systems. If you want the best speeds when looking for the best mesh network of 2021, then we'd say that this is a system that's well worth getting on your radar.

Linksys Velop mesh networkT3 Approved badge

Linksys Velop, the best mesh network for advanced use.

9. Linksys Velop

The best mesh network for experts and patient users

Specifications
Connection: Tri-band AC2200
Reasons to buy
+Scorching speeds+Huge range+Looks perfectly alright

With its vaguely Bluetooth speaker-like looks, the Linksys Velop networking gear doesn't score many points in terms of its design, but the satellite nodes do have a small enough footprint that you can effectively hide them away around the home. 

We found performance to be very good indeed during our testing: we barely saw any speed loss even with a fast 100/150Mbps optical fibre home internet connection. It was a shame then that setup was more fiddly than with the Vesop's competitors – we needed a factory reset and a bit of troubleshooting to get everything working properly.

Also in the negatives column, the Linksys Velop gear lacks a few extras that the likes of the Netgear boxes include, and you only get two Ethernet ports on the bottom of each box unlike the four on the Orbi nodes. You can however set priority devices in the app, and customise your Wi-Fi access in a variety of other helpful ways.

As far as buying choices go, you can pick up the Linksys Velop hardware in a bundle of one, two or three units. If you want to start off with just one router node, we're happy to report that it gave us just about the best wireless range we've seen from one of these mesh setups – even just one satellite is able to cover a very wide area, so you might not even need a mesh at all.

Zyxel Multy X Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh SystemT3 Approved badge

Zyxel Multy X Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh System, the best plug-and-play mesh network option.

10. Zyxel Multy X Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh System

Best plug-in mesh network boxes

Specifications
Connection: Dual-band AC1750
Reasons to buy
+Very fast connection speeds+Generous number of ports+Can be used with Alexa

There's a lot to like about the Multy X system from Zyxel, including the 3,000 Mbps maximum speed and the rock-solid strength of the connections. Oh and it works with Alexa too, so if you've got a few Amazon Echo devices dotted around the home then you can control your internet with your voice.

As well as excellent speeds, you get extras like three Ethernet ports on each of the nodes, plus a USB port – it's only USB 2.0, which is a shame, but it should be speedy enough to use a printer or external hard drive and share it around the network.

From the software angle, the supplied Zyxel app is a little rough around the edges but just about does the job. Other apps are friendlier and more intuitive but we got there in the end with the Zyxel app – and at the end of the day you just want fast, comprehensive Wi-Fi first and foremost from the best mesh network hardware, don't you? You don't even have to use the app if you prefer telling Alexa to turn off the internet instead.

On the downside, the kit is a little on the expensive side and isn't the most compact or well-designed system we've ever seen. Overall though, the problems are minor and the pluses are major, and we'd recommend putting this any shortlist of the best mesh networking gear in 2021.

Netgear XRM570 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router and Mesh Wi-Fi SystemT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Netgear)

11. Netgear XRM570 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router and Mesh Wi-Fi System

A mesh network designed specifically for gamers

Specifications
Connection:: Dual-band AC2600 (router) / Tri-band AC2200 (extender)
Reasons to buy
+Optimised for the busiest games+Express lane for priority traffic+Very, very fast

Gamers have very different requirements to most other network users: a slight bit of network congestion or lag might not matter very much if you're updating a spreadsheet or chatting on Zoom, but it's pretty significant if you're in the middle of a Battle Royale against elite opponents. 

This package combines two strong products: Netgear’s gaming-focused XRM500 router and its EX7700 range extender. They’re pre-paired for quick setup.

The XRM500 is a dual band AC2600 router with four gigabit ethernet ports, a 1.7GHz dual core processor and the ability to create an “express lane” to prioritise a specific device and reduce congestion, lag and jitter – three things that can mean life or death in fast-moving games. It also has geofiltering to identify the closest servers and has been optimised specifically for Fortnite, COD: Black Ops 4, Overwatch, PUBG and other big names. The range extender is tri-band with the same FastLane tech, smart roaming for seamless connectivity and a 2.2Gbps ethernet connection.

What is a mesh network?

Rather than having one router serving up Wi-Fi to your home, these mesh network routers and nodes give you several access points, blanketing all the rooms in your home with the wireless internet connectivity you need – Netflix need never be interrupted by the buffering symbol again.

What's more, now is a great time to be shopping for one of the best mesh networks, as hardware manufacturers continue to introduce price drops and deals, even on newer systems. Before we get to our list though, let's first take a look at what mesh networks are, and how to choose the best mesh network for your home.

Best mesh network map showing coverage between nodes

Mesh networking helps you eradicate connectivity dead zones in your home.

How to buy the best mesh Wi-Fi system for you

Bear in mind that there are other ways to extend your Wi-Fi and get rid of dead zones around the home, including Wi-Fi extenders and Powerline adapters. Before you start splurging cash on the best mesh Wi-Fi network gear, make sure a mesh networking kit is definitely the right choice for you.

It's easy to see the appeal of mesh networks: they're fast, reliable, and easy to set up (it's almost as if tech companies are waking up to how easy home Wi-Fi should be). Even if you've never had to configure your own wireless network before, the best mesh networking kits make it all very straightforward.

On a technical level, these mesh networks are made up of little Wi-Fi 'nodes' that talk to each other and get as a strong a signal as possible out to all your devices. As far as your devices are concerned, it's just one consistent wireless network.

Look for the speed, often written as something like AC2200 – that's the type of Wi-Fi (AC) and theoretical maximum speed (2,200 Mbps), though you probably won't get that in reality. You'll also need to decide on a number of nodes: two should do most homes, but bigger places might need more.

David Nield
David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.