Mesh WiFi is still considered a new product in most markets with few consumers understanding the technology behind it or the benefits over wifi extenders. Many people simply use the basic wifi in the modem or router supplied by their broadband provider, though I imagine we’ll see mesh wifi incorporated into their offerings over the next year or so. Sky already has with their Sky Q product.
For those of us geeks who’d rather do our own thing, Ubiquiti have announced the availability of their AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi products in the United Kingdom. The AmpliFi system starts with a modernist cube HD Router that has a neat touchscreen display showing up and download speeds. The wifi network is extended with MeshPoints which plug directly into power sockets. These look discrete and stylish too [Correction – the picture shows a US plug on the MeshPoint, not a UK plug, so it will be the right way up.]
In addition to the hardware, AmpliFi HD offers plug-and-play setup through an app that directly links AmpliFi devices to a smartphone (or tablet) via Bluetooth. With the app, owners can manage their network, monitor ISP speeds, invite guests, create family profiles, check network security and access in-app support. AmpliFi uses 802.11ac WiFi technology, powering up to 5.45 Gb/s of aggregate wireless throughput. Being mesh, AmpliFi provides great speed and great coverage. Spec-wise, AmpliFi is a dual-band system, supporting 802.11ac plus the usual b/g/a/n, with 3×3 antennas.
There’s a note with the MeshPoints that they can pair with an “an existing router [turning it] into a powerful mesh network” which is interesting. I’d assume that there’s some kind of minimum spec, such as 11ac, to make this work effectively.
Investing in mesh wifi is a significant investment. The AmpliFi starter kit with HD Router and two MeshPoints costs the best part of GB£350. Additional MeshPoints are £132. (Prices are similar in US$, to be honest). Interested? The AmpliFi HD Mesh WiFi is currently on sale through Scan and Amazon.