Review: Comparing Google Wifi to other mesh networking heavyweights

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Jim Salter

Here at Ars, we’ve been rocking some high-tech Wi-Fi setups for a while—in particular, Senior Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson and I are fond of Ubiquiti’s UAP line of wireless access points. A lot of people either can’t or don’t want to run cables through their house at all, though, and that’s the niche Wi-Fi mesh kits seek to service.

I’ll save you some time up front: I’ve played with just about everything out there, and nothing comes close to the performance of multiple access points with full wired backhaul like the UAPs. To be fair, nothing Wi-Fi at all comes close to the performance of wired Ethernet itself, so don’t get too excited about the “3.2 gigabits per second!” that AC-3200 Wi-Fi router promises you. You’ll never actually see such speed. But if you don’t want wires and you don’t want the possibly intimidating controller systems like Ubiquiti’s UniFi interface, mesh might be for you. Luckily, today happens to be a bit of a boom for mesh offerings.

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