I’ve spent the previous couple of years at CNET testing and reviewing Wi-Fi routers, and if there’s one factor I’ve discovered, it is this: In most properties, probably the most significant means to enhance the Wi-Fi connection is to improve to a mesh router.

The reasoning right here is straightforward. Traditional routers put out a Wi-Fi sign from a single level in your house, however mesh routers use a number of gadgets to place out a usable sign from a number of factors in your house. That makes them extra like a workforce of routers that work collectively to relay your visitors again to the modem. It is a significantly better strategy to dwelling networking, significantly in massive, multistory properties, the place a conventional, single-point router will possible go away you with lifeless zones within the rooms which are farthest away. They’ll even make a big distinction in smaller properties, particularly when you have any lifeless zone rooms the place speeds aren’t as quick as you need.

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Most mesh routers are fairly easy to get began with: Simply join one machine to your modem with an Ethernet cable, plug it in after which comply with the directions within the system’s app. From there, you may want to choose spots for the remaining satellite tv for pc extenders, that are additionally generally known as nodes (or “Factors” when you’re a Nest Wifi person). Nonetheless, you may need to put some thought into the place you place the issues, as their particular location will make a big influence on the system’s efficiency. Listed here are some pointers to remember as you go. (You can too try our tips about the best location for your Wi-Fi router, and how to protect your home Wi-Fi network from hackers.)

The place must you put your mesh router?


Mesh routers and different Wi-Fi gadgets carry out their finest after they’re positioned out within the open, and up off of the bottom.


Like with most wi-fi transmissions, it would not take a lot to disrupt your Wi-Fi sign and sluggish it down. That is why it is vital to put your mesh extenders strategically, in places the place they will be capable to carry out at their finest.

Transfer the primary router

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First issues first, you may need the primary router in your setup — the mesh machine that is wired to your modem — to be positioned as centrally in your house as potential. That is the same approach you’d take with a single router, and the reasoning is similar: Routers put out Wi-Fi indicators in all instructions, so putting your router in a central location inside your property will take advantage of out of your connection.

That goes double for mesh methods, the place the power of the connection close to your extenders will largely rely on the power of the incoming sign from the primary router. A stronger connection between the 2 will assist be sure that you are hitting the quickest Wi-Fi speeds potential all through your complete dwelling.

Your choices for transferring the router might sound restricted by the placement of your modem, and the incoming wiring to your dwelling’s web connection. An additional-long Ethernet cable can turn out to be useful right here, providing you with the liberty to maneuver the router away from the place the modem sits, if essential. If that is impractical, you may no less than need to transfer that predominant router out into the open, and ideally as excessive off the bottom as potential.


This information from Asus highlights a mesh rule of thumb — for the perfect efficiency, attempt to maintain every machine in your setup not more than two rooms away from one other one.


Transfer these extenders round

As soon as you’ve got acquired the primary router located in the perfect spot potential, you may need to select good spots for the extenders. With most methods, you may join every machine to the primary router with an Ethernet cable for the quickest speeds potential, however most customers favor to attach every thing wirelessly. In that case, you may need to be extra-strategic about the place you place the extenders all through your property.

Once more, out within the open and up off of the bottom is your finest wager for a transparent sign, however you may additionally need to put some thought into the format of your property, as bodily obstructions in between the primary router and the extenders can sluggish issues down.

An excellent rule of thumb, typically talking, is to attempt to maintain the gadgets in your mesh setup not more than two rooms away from one another. That’ll range from dwelling to dwelling, particularly if yours is constructed with dense supplies like brick or concrete within the partitions that may be troublesome for Wi-Fi indicators to penetrate. You will additionally need to be careful for digital interference from TVs and different massive home equipment, so when you’re sticking a mesh extender within the kitchen, resist the urge to cover it away on prime of the fridge and transfer it away out of your home equipment altogether.


Most mesh methods include companion apps that embody placement guides to your gadgets, sign power checks, and different diagnostic instruments that will help you be sure you’ve acquired every thing in the perfect spot potential.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Furnishings can block Wi-Fi indicators, too, so when you have something massive or cumbersome in between two of your mesh gadgets, think about relocating them. Aquariums are one other basic antagonist to your mesh setup, as Wi-Fi has a tough time transmitting by means of water.

One of the simplest ways to make sure that your mesh community is as well-connected as potential is to open its app and examine the sign power of every machine, which is one thing most methods supply. You can too discover system-specific steerage on-line on the hyperlinks beneath:

Keep away from these lifeless zones

In the event you’ve acquired a again nook of your property the place the sign drops out, it may be tempting to stay a mesh extender smack in the midst of that lifeless zone to spice up your speeds. In a whole lot of instances, that’d be a mistake.

Bear in mind, similar to your telephone or laptop computer, your mesh extenders want to attach wirelessly with the primary router in your setup. And if that again nook is a lifeless zone to your telephone or laptop computer, then it’s going to possible be a lifeless zone to your mesh extender, too.

The higher strategy is to put that extender adjoining to the lifeless zone in a spot the place it’s going to have a better time connecting with the primary router. In some instances, that may be midway between the lifeless zone and the primary router, however you would possibly have to experiment a bit. Hit the candy spot, and the Wi-Fi sign it places out ought to be a wholesome one, and one which’ll prolong into the lifeless zone to deliver it again to life.

Mobile phone showing internet speed test results of 33.36 MBS

An excellent pace take a look at will show you how to perceive how your Wi-Fi is holding up from room to room.

James Martin/CNET

Run a pace take a look at

Other than the diagnostic instruments in your mesh router’s app, the quickest strategy to examine in your system’s efficiency is to run some pace assessments. There are plenty of free services online that we recommend, any of which can inform you the add and obtain speeds on no matter machine you are utilizing in a minute or much less.

For the perfect intel, seize your laptop computer or telephone and run a number of pace assessments in every room of your own home the place you want a usable Wi-Fi sign. Ultimately, you need to have ballpark sense of the place speeds are the steadiest and the place they dip. From there, you could possibly attempt transferring your extenders to attempt to stability issues out, or you could possibly think about shopping for a further extender to fill in any gaps. Both means, your property ought to be all set with a powerful sign wherever you want it.

Our top picks for mesh Wi-Fi routers this year in a row, with the Google Nest in the center.

Working a pace take a look at may also help you determine the perfect spot to place your mesh router.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Different issues to contemplate to your mesh router

Simply do not forget that your mesh router can solely supply speeds which are as quick as what you are paying for out of your ISP. If speeds are broadly inadequate in your house, then it may be time to contemplate upgrading to a faster plan (and it may be price seeing in case your ISP will allow you to attempt a sooner plan for a couple of days to see if that’s, certainly, the issue). Your ISP may also be capable to give you an updated modem that’ll deliver higher, sooner speeds to your mesh system to start with. Cannot damage to ask.

If speeds nonetheless appear slower than you need, and your ISP is not the reply, then there are a couple of different issues you may attempt. For starters, in case your supplier’s modem is a gateway machine that doubles as a router, then you definately’ll need to disable its Wi-Fi community in order that it would not trigger interference to your mesh system’s Wi-Fi community.

Talking of interference, it is potential {that a} neighbor’s Wi-Fi community is interfering with yours. To treatment that, hop into your mesh router’s app and search for channel settings that allow you to tune your community to a unique a part of the Wi-Fi airwaves, doubtlessly steering away from no matter channel close by networks are utilizing. You will additionally need to be sure that your mesh system’s firmware is updated, which ought to be simple to examine inside its app. 

For extra, try our picks for the best Wi-Fi 6 routers, and how to find free Wi-Fi anywhere in the world

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