Page 4 – USB, QoS, and VPN
All of the Orbi and eero devices as well as the AmpliFi router each have a single USB 2.0 port on them. Orbi and AmpliFi have both said the port is currently reserved for future use, while eero has said the port is “strictly used for diagnostic purposes at this time.” Here’s to hoping someone adds printer and hard drive support. My money’s on Orbi leading the charge here simply because NETGEAR has already done this with most of their other routers.
Quality of Service (QoS)
For this we’re looking for QoS on the WAN (Internet) port. This helps avoid things like Buffer Bloat where a single device that wants all the available downstream or upstream bandwidth can cause connections to lag on your other devices. A router that properly supports WAN-based QoS can help alleviate or avoid this.
- eero: Yes, and it works very well without requiring any configuration from the user. Enabled automatically, eero speed-tests your Internet connection every day to ensure that it’s managing your traffic properly. Not only is this the best QoS I’ve seen in a mesh router, it’s the best QoS implementation I’ve seen in any consumer-focused router at all.
- Orbi: No WAN-based QoS.
- AmpliFi: No WAN-based QoS.
Having a VPN server running at home can be helpful in a number of ways, most commonly either as a very robust way of having remote access to all your home devices or as a way of securing your internet traffic when you’re out-and-about at a coffee shop or an airport.
At this point only one of the currently-available mesh solutions that we tested has a built-in VPN server, and that’s Netgear’s Orbi. As with many of their other routers, Netgear supports OpenVPN on Orbi. Unfortunately, neither macOS nor iOS have native support for OpenVPN, but Orbi’s user interface provides simple walk-through instructions for getting your Mac, iOS, Windows or Android device configured to connect remotely to your router’s VPN. This is where Netgear’s long history of making routers shines through.
Final page: Apple, Google, Luma, The Prices and The Verdict