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Comparing mesh networks  



How important is it that my mesh network has 3 radios?  The Eero Pro gen 2 has 3 radios, while the new lower cost Eero only seems to have 2 radios.  I'm wondering how important this is...

With this in mind, can you suggest a mesh network system for home that has an auto update feature?  I can't expect regular home users to actually update their own firmware, so auto upgrade is extremely important IMHO.  


First Question. What is your broadband connection speed?
Second Question. Do you do a lot of bulk data transfer inside your home.
3rd question. Do you have a lot of WiFi devices in your home that are competing for bandwidth?
A 3rd radio allows the mesh units to use 1 of the radios to talk between them (the back-haul), and transfer data between them, the other 2 radios can be used for the devices in your home.
If you use Ethernet as the back-haul between, then you do not need the 3rd radio for back-haul.

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I'm asking these questions for a customer mesh install.  Which means....

  • Broadband speeds are typically 150/30 or somewhere around that range, give or take a bit.  But could be as high as 1000/30 if the customer spends for Cox Gigablast service.  
  • Customer does NOT have a server in their house, so "bulk data transfers" are probably limited to internet traffic.  
  • Customers typically do NOT have Ethernet for backhaul.  So a 3rd radio is important, as the mesh system will be responsible for its own backhaul.  
  • Wifi is probably used for ring video doorbell, streaming services on TV's, email, web surfing, youtube and Facebook.  Primary complaint from customer was ring video doorbell not working properly with his current setup and wireless had too many dead zones.  

He went ahead and bought a tri band Linksys Velop system.  I have never set one of these up before (previously only installed Orbi, Google Wifi, and Eero), but it appears to be a good system (ie. auto updates, tri band)  I don't care for Linksys because of their lack of security in the past, but we will see how this one works out....


I'm sure DaveH would give a more informed opinion, but I think the 3rd radio is most useful when there are either lots of bandwidth needs or lots of devices that need concurrent service.
If low bandwidth and not many concurrent devices using the network, a less expensive (but still good) 2-radio mesh would be perfectly OK.
You have worked with far more mesh networks than I have. I have the eero 2 in my home and I've built several roaming networks from different WiFi access points (both my own and for friends).

@lagreca I would agree with @datafornothinandbitsforfree here on the dual-vs-tri radio design. Many happy mesh customers use Wi-Fi backhaul over a dual-band system. But if you want the extra bandwidth and/or breathing room, tri-band isn't going to hurt!

That said, the Linksys Velop systems have proven to be a little wonky for me, and difficult to remote manage. Non-optimal for a customer scenario. I really am as big a fan of the eero systems as I say on the show. They're just so reliable and simple.

Also, for anyone driving by in the future, Wi-Fi is generally not going to get you more than 400Mbps per device. All these 2x2 radios will max out there, and that includes the radios in your iPhones and MacBooks, etc. Gigabit speeds are great, but you're not going to see them reached on any one client device without an Ethernet connection (or possibly Wi-Fi 6).