So, you’re looking to buy a mesh wireless system?
The two mesh networks we will look at today from Eero and Luma are both excellent products with different plus and minus points.
They both promise to give you a fast and reliable wireless network throughout your home, although they both do it in slightly different ways.
If you want to buy a mesh network system, take a look through our Eero vs Luma article to help you decide between the two!
What Is A Mesh Network System?
A mesh network system is an effective way of getting reliable wifi access throughout an area that is too large for just one router.
They promise to make setting up a wifi network an altogether less painful experience, compared to the traditional way of pairing wifi extenders to routers...in the home at least.
Let's take a look at normal home networks, then get on to mesh network setups...
Traditionally, wireless routers give you access to a wireless network. Any devices with wireless capabilities are able to connect to the network anywhere within range of the router.
This is great until you need to cover an area that is bigger than that provided by a standard router.
While you do have options, such as wireless repeaters, access points, MoCA, or powerline adapters, most of these will involve a bit of extra setup and might not work as seamlessly as when you connect to a standalone router.
This is where mesh networks come in. A mesh network has two main advantages in that it is easy to set up and extend a network, and each of the devices works seamlessly with each other to provide a more consistent wireless signal.
Let’s take a look at an example. When you buy a mesh network, you will usually get two or three devices. These devices can be spread out throughout your home and will give you a consistent signal anywhere within range. If you need to cover more area, you can simply buy another compatible device and connect it to your network.
The main benefit is in the way these devices communicate with each other. Say, for example, you are watching a movie on your laptop in your bedroom upstairs connected to the access point in your room. However, you want to go downstairs to continue watching the movie.
On a normal network (in most cases), even once you went downstairs, you would remain connected to the upstairs access point. This is the case even though you would have a much better signal connected to the access point downstairs.
This means that you will have to manually reconnect. While some devices do have an automatic network selector installed, this will still involve your device having to disconnect from one access point and connect to the other.
However, with a mesh network, when the network decides you will be able to get a better signal from the downstairs access point, it will seamlessly switch your connection to the other access point.
Of course, it isn’t all upsides. The major downside is that when you buy a mesh network, you will only be able to add access points made by the same company as your network. This will leave you slightly restricted in your choice.
Because of this, you should ensure you choose your mesh network brand carefully. To help you do this, we have taken an in-depth look at two great mesh network systems.
Eero Wifi Features
Eero were one of the first companies to start making mesh networks and they have just released the latest version of their product. How will it compare to other recent devices on the market? Let’s take a look now!
How Does It Look?
Eero products certainly stand out for their simple, white, design that could come straight from an Apple catalog. The only embellishment is the name of the brand written on the front of the product as well as a flashing light to tell you the status of the product. All ports are well hidden at the back of the device.
An Eero setup consists of an Eero unit and Eero "Beacons". You can think of the main Eero unit as the router (it’s where you will plug in your modem) and the Beacons as additional access points. The Beacons can fit directly into your plug socket which can help keep them out of sight.
The main Eero comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and also a USB type-C power jack. Unlike the first generation Eero product, and many other mesh wifi networks, there is no USB port at all.
While the Ethernet ports will certainly be useful for those people who need a particularly stable connection (for example, gaming) or for connecting devices without wireless capabilities, the lack of USB could be missed by people who like to add additional storage to their network.
The Beacons that you place throughout your home also don’t have Ethernet connectivity which could be a problem for some.
The Eero is now tri--band instead of dual-band with one 2.4GHz band, one 5.2GHz band, and one 5.8GHz band. This should allow for an even more consistent and congestion free connection that allows more devices to connect at once.
As well as this, you should have no problem with your wireless connection due to the MU-MIMO and Beamforming features on this device.
This is all complimented by 802.11ac wifi that will allow multiple devices to access your network, stream HD video, etc., simultaneously without any problems.
Eero also offer a new service (charged at $9.99 a month) that gives you more advanced parental controls for your network as well as anti-malware protection.
As well as this, the Eero app is well designed and allows you to monitor your network, run speed tests, as well as do some simple network management tasks.
The 2nd generation Eero is a great product that should allow you to easily set up an effective mesh network in your home.
Luma Whole Home Wifi Features
Luma is another fairly new company that focuses exclusively on mesh wifi systems. They formed in 2014 and put a specific focus on security.
Each Luma device comes in the white color that is favored by mesh wireless setups. It is differentiated from the other devices due to its hexagonal shape and the fact that its LED light is a large circle. It is a good looking device that will certainly have its fans.
Under The Cover
Like the Eero, one of the devices acts as the main router while the other devices act as access points. However, each Luma device is identical so it doesn’t matter which you choose. The good thing about this is that each device comes with 2 built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB port allowing slightly more wired connectivity than the Eero.
The Luma is a dual-band device with one 2.4GHz band and one 5GHz band. This is solid, although not as impressive as the Eero’s tri-band set up. The Luma also has a useful feature where it will automatically select the best band for each device that connects to it.
Like other mesh networks, the Luma also supports MU-MIMO to ensure multiple devices get a strong connectivity as well as Beamforming. It also uses the 802.11ac standard.
Any Other Features
One of the best built-in features is the security on offer and also the parental controls. While Eero charge $9.99 a month for their security and web filtering it is nice to see Luma provide it for free.
It is also worth noting that (at time of writing), the Luma is quite a lot cheaper than a comparable Eero setup, meaning that while the features may not be quite as impressive, it is still likely to have an audience.
Luma vs Eero: In Conclusion
In conclusion, the Luma is a slightly more dated product due to the fact that the second gen Eero was released a year later.
Because of this, the Eero has some funky new features such as tri-band that the Luma doesn’t have which can be a big positive when looking to buy a mesh network...especially if you have a large family and/or a lot of wifi gear.
However, because the Luma is a bit cheaper, along with the fact that it also offers free security software, will tempt some of you.
Do you own a wifi system? How are you getting on with it? Please tell us about it below...