Comparison Of Mesh Wi-Fi Routers On The Market, Decoding The Secrets For AP Selection(PartII): Applications Functions

Allion Labs / Ryan Huang

In the previous article, we’ve compared the basic specifications of the three Mesh Wi-Fis: Netgear Orbi RBK50, Asus Lyra MAP-AC2200, and eero Pro Wi-Fi System. In this article, we are going to simulate actual user-scenarios and make comparisons on the performance of the four common functions, which are easy setup, APP function, band steering, and seamless roaming of the three Mesh Wi-Fi APs.

 ・Easy Setup

For average, non-heavy users, setting up a wireless AP takes up a lot of time and effort. The Mesh Wi-Fi AP is a lot easier in terms of the setup process. To set up the entire Mesh Wi-Fi AP, simply download the exclusive APP and follow the instructions. For this part, we will make a comparison of the three Mesh Wi-Fi APs in terms of “setup time.”

The setup time is calculated from the moment the Start button on the APP is pressed and ends when all Mesh Wi-Fi APs complete their settings.

The results from the above diagram show that in comparison to the other two sets of AP, eero Pro Wi-Fi System incurs the least time in setting up 1 AP (30 seconds) and setting up all 3 APs (3 minutes and 9 seconds). Asus Lyra MAP-AC2200 incurs the longest time in connection pairing. The longer the time spent, the more likely it is for consumers to leave a negative impression.

 

・APP function

Currently, Mesh Wi-Fi AP products on the market provide exclusive APPs which allow for controlling or amending AP settings. The interface and practicality of the functions provided by the APP will also directly affect consumer satisfaction. Please refer to the following function comparison table for the three models. In terms of functionality, Asus Lyra MAP-AC2200 provides the most diverse options, except for its limited UPnP functions, which can only be turned on, but not off.

 

・Band Steering

When using a wireless network, we would want to connect to the one that is fast and has good connection quality. Therefore, we establish connections to Mesh Wi-Fi AP through smartphones and turn the Wi-Fi function on and off 10 times, and see whether it can successfully steer to a faster 5GHz frequency band with less wireless interference in all 10 times.

From the result of the 10 tests, the three sets of Mesh Wi-Fi AP are able to successfully steer the mobile phone to 5GHz and establish connections in a better wireless network environment, exhibiting comparable performance.

 

・Seamless Roaming

In the seamless roaming test, we designed 7 different validation methods to examine whether the three sets of Mesh Wi-Fi AP are able to achieve seamless roaming without network disruption under the 7 different scenarios.

In the seamless roaming test, all three sets of Mesh Wi-Fi AP performed relatively well. However, disconnection occurred in Asus Lyra MAP-AC2200 during the Skype video call test. In the Ping Loss test, eero Pro Wi-Fi System has the highest ping loss ratio of 8%, while Netgear Orbi RBK50 shows the best performance with a ping loss rate of 1%.

In this test, we also noticed that in terms of speed in message processing, the APPs provided by these three models are not as real-time as expected. When the smartphone has in fact successfully roamed from AP-A to AP-B, the APP displays that the smartphone is still connected to AP-A. The response time required for such message update is longest in Asus Lyra MAP-AC2200, taking up to 3 minutes.

 

・How should we choose a Mesh Wi-Fi AP?

After the comparisons of the above power and basic functions, we have reached the following conclusion:

  • If signal coverage and wireless network transmission speed are of importance to you, Netgear Orbi RBK50 will be more suitable for your needs, requiring only two APs to achieve the signal coverage when the other two need three. Netgear Orbi RKBK50 also exhibits outstanding performance in speed.
  • If APP function is of importance to you, Asus Lyra MAP-AC2200 features a wide range of functions which the others lack, providing at least 10 functions (note that this model has a longer initial setup time and a disconnection might occur during seamless roaming).
  • If you are a light user, and easy setup is of importance to you, eero Pro Wi-Fi System is a model that starts easy, saving time and effort.

Through the Mesh Wi-Fi AP articles, we can help you choose suitable products pertaining to your network condition and requirements and avoid unnecessary spending.

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