Your Mesh Router Is in the Wrong Location, and It truly is Slowing Down Your Wi-Fi

This tale is aspect of 12 Times of Recommendations, encouraging you make the most of your tech, dwelling and wellbeing in the course of the vacation season.

I’ve used the previous couple of yrs at CNET tests and reviewing Wi-Fi routers, and if you will find 1 detail I have realized, it truly is this: In most houses, the most significant way to make improvements to the Wi-Fi connection is to upgrade to a mesh router.

The reasoning in this article is very simple. Common routers set out a Wi-Fi signal from a solitary issue in your residence, but mesh routers use numerous products to put out a usable signal from several details in your property. That will make them extra like a group of routers that work alongside one another to relay your site visitors again to the modem. It is a considerably better tactic to residence networking, specifically in large, multistory homes, in which a traditional, solitary-stage router will probable leave you with useless zones in the rooms that are farthest absent. They can even make a important big difference in more compact houses, particularly if you have any lifeless zone rooms where by speeds are not as speedy as you would like.

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Most mesh routers are rather easy to get begun with: Just hook up one particular product to your modem with an Ethernet cable, plug it in and then observe the guidance in the system’s app. From there, you can need to have to choose spots for the remaining satellite extenders, which are also from time to time known as nodes (or “Points” if you might be a Nest Wifi user). Continue to, you are going to want to place some considered into where you place the things, as their certain area will make a substantial influence on the system’s effectiveness. Listed here are some guidelines to keep in head as you go. (You can also test out our guidelines on the very best area for your Wi-Fi router, and how to safeguard your household Wi-Fi network from hackers.)

Where must you set your mesh router?


Mesh routers and other Wi-Fi equipment complete their best when they’re positioned out in the open up, and up off of the ground.


Like with most wireless transmissions, it doesn’t take a lot to disrupt your Wi-Fi sign and sluggish it down. Which is why it really is critical to position your mesh extenders strategically, in spots the place they’ll be equipped to conduct at their most effective.

Move the primary router

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Initially points initially, you will want the most important router in your set up — the mesh product that’s wired to your modem — to be located as centrally in your home as probable. That’s the exact same technique you would acquire with a single router, and the reasoning is the exact same: Routers place out Wi-Fi alerts in all instructions, so putting your router in a central spot within just your house will make the most out of your link.

That goes double for mesh programs, exactly where the power of the link in close proximity to your extenders will largely rely on the toughness of the incoming sign from the primary router. A much better connection between the two will assist make certain that you might be hitting the quickest Wi-Fi speeds probable all through your complete household.

Your solutions for going the router could seem to be confined by the area of your modem, and the incoming wiring for your home’s world-wide-web connection. An excess-extended Ethernet cable can come in handy right here, giving you the freedom to shift the router absent from exactly where the modem sits, if essential. If that’s impractical, you’ll at minimum want to shift that primary router out into the open up, and ideally as higher off the floor as achievable.


This information from Asus highlights a mesh rule of thumb — for the best functionality, try to retain just about every product in your set up no extra than two rooms absent from an additional just one.


Shift all those extenders all-around

At the time you’ve acquired the main router located in the most effective place achievable, you may want to decide out great places for the extenders. With most methods, you can link each individual unit to the major router with an Ethernet cable for the swiftest speeds possible, but most consumers favor to link everything wirelessly. In that scenario, you can want to be added-strategic about wherever you spot the extenders through your residence.

Yet again, out in the open and up off of the floor is your best bet for a crystal clear signal, but you are going to also want to set some thought into the structure of your dwelling, as bodily obstructions in amongst the main router and the extenders can gradual factors down.

A fantastic rule of thumb, generally talking, is to attempt and preserve the products in your mesh set up no far more than two rooms absent from each other. That’ll fluctuate from house to residence, specifically if yours is developed with dense resources like brick or concrete in the partitions that can be challenging for Wi-Fi alerts to penetrate. You can also want to observe out for electronic interference from TVs and other massive appliances, so if you happen to be sticking a mesh extender in the kitchen area, resist the urge to cover it away on major of the fridge and move it away from your appliances entirely.


Most mesh techniques come with companion applications that incorporate placement guides for your gadgets, signal energy checks, and other diagnostic applications to help you make confident you have bought every little thing in the most effective place doable.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Home furniture can block Wi-Fi indicators, far too, so if you have just about anything massive or bulky in amongst two of your mesh equipment, take into account relocating them. Aquariums are an additional basic antagonist for your mesh set up, as Wi-Fi has a challenging time transmitting by means of h2o.

The very best way to make sure that your mesh community is as effectively-connected as feasible is to open its application and examine the signal power of just about every gadget, which is anything most methods present. You can also locate method-particular steering on the web at the hyperlinks below:

Keep away from these dead zones

If you have bought a again corner of your household the place the signal drops out, it could be tempting to adhere a mesh extender smack in the middle of that dead zone to improve your speeds. In a great deal of circumstances, that’d be a slip-up.

Recall, just like your phone or notebook, your mesh extenders need to have to link wirelessly with the major router in your setup. And if that back corner is a dead zone for your cellular phone or laptop, then it’ll very likely be a useless zone for your mesh extender, also.

The superior tactic is to location that extender adjacent to the lifeless zone in a location wherever it’ll have an less difficult time connecting with the most important router. In some instances, that may possibly be midway among the dead zone and the main router, but you may possibly have to have to experiment a bit. Strike the sweet spot, and the Wi-Fi signal it puts out ought to be a wholesome one particular, and a single that’ll prolong into the dead zone to convey it back to life.

Mobile phone showing internet speed test results of 33.36 MBS

A superior speed examination will enable you comprehend how your Wi-Fi is holding up from area to home.

James Martin/CNET

Run a speed check

Aside from the diagnostic tools in your mesh router’s app, the fastest way to examine on your system’s overall performance is to operate some velocity exams. There are loads of no cost products and services on the net that we suggest, any of which will notify you the add and down load speeds on whichever unit you’re utilizing in a minute or considerably less.

For the ideal intel, get your laptop computer or mobile phone and run various velocity tests in each and every space of your house where by you will need a usable Wi-Fi sign. In the conclusion, you should have a good ballpark sense of exactly where speeds are the steadiest and exactly where they dip. From there, you could try shifting your extenders to consider and balance points out, or you could take into account shopping for an supplemental extender to fill in any gaps. Both way, your residence must be all set with a robust signal anywhere you need to have it.

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

Working a speed exam can assistance you determine out the very best place to put your mesh router.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Other matters to take into consideration for your mesh router

Just keep in mind that your mesh router can only provide speeds that are as quickly as what you’re paying out for from your ISP. If speeds are greatly inadequate in your household, then it could be time to think about upgrading to a more rapidly prepare (and it may possibly be well worth observing if your ISP will allow you try out a a lot quicker program for a handful of days to see if that is, without a doubt, the challenge). Your ISP may also be ready to deliver you with an up-to-date modem that’ll provide better, a lot quicker speeds to your mesh procedure to start with. Can’t harm to question.

If speeds still seem slower than you would like, and your ISP isn’t really the response, then there are a number of other things you can consider. For starters, if your provider’s modem is a gateway system that doubles as a router, then you can expect to want to disable its Wi-Fi network so that it does not bring about interference for your mesh system’s Wi-Fi network.

Speaking of interference, it is attainable that a neighbor’s Wi-Fi network is interfering with yours. To solution that, hop into your mesh router’s app and glimpse for channel options that permit you tune your community to a diverse section of the Wi-Fi airwaves, probably steering away from whichever channel close by networks are utilizing. You can expect to also want to make confident that your mesh system’s firmware is up to date, which really should be simple to examine inside its app. 

For a lot more, test out our picks for the greatest Wi-Fi 6 routers, and how to uncover free Wi-Fi everywhere in the entire world

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