Two minutes of review
Devolo specializes in powerline adapters and Wi-Fi range extenders. The new top-of-the-line Mesh WiFi 2 products go even further, however, by combining powerline connectivity with expansive mesh Wi-Fi that can penetrate brick walls and cover all of your home.
That versatility comes at a price, however, and the multiroom kit we reviewed includes three separate adapters that cost a whopping £ 299.99 (about $ 420, AU $ 540).
However, there is also a two-piece starter kit available for smaller homes for £ 199.99 (about $ 280, AU $ 360). With these prices, the Mesh WiFi 2 stands alongside many high-end mesh network systems. To be fair, the Mesh WiFi 2 also offers powerline connectivity, which is a lifesaver for homes or buildings with thick walls or ceilings between floors that can block your Wi-Fi signal.
Design and functions
The chunky Mesh WiFi 2 adapters look practically identical to other Devolo products, such as: B. the Magic 2 WiFi, which we have tested in the past. They can be plugged directly into an electrical outlet so that their 2400 Mbps powerline connectivity can send data to other rooms over your company’s power cables. And like the Magic 2 WiFi adapters, they also have a through socket so that you can also use this socket for other devices.
Unfortunately, Devolo’s documentation is often quite vague – to the point that it can be quite confusing at times. For example, Devolo claims that the Mesh WiFi 2 offers “tri-band” connectivity – what most people would refer to as “tri-band Wi-Fi”. In fact, the Mesh WiFi 2 adapters only offer dual-band 802.11ac WiFi in the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz band, with the powerline cable connection being counted as the “third band”.
It’s also not the fastest WiFi, and offers a relatively modest speed of 1200Mbps.Nevertheless, this is still fast enough for most broadband services at home, and each adapter also includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports for devices like a game console – or our iMac in our hard-to-reach back office – which might work better with a cable connection.
Other features include “band control,” which combines the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands into a single network and automatically switches your devices to the closest adapter and fastest frequency band when you move from Move room to room.
However, you have the option to separate the two bands and create two separate networks. You can also create a schedule to disable WiFi access at certain times and a guest network for visitors.
Performance and get started
We had a problem or two at launch. As you would expect, you will need to plug one of the adapters into an electrical outlet near your router and then connect it to the router using one of its Ethernet ports to take advantage of the router’s existing broadband connection.
However, the quick start guide that came with the Mesh WiFi 2 kit states that all three adapters must be in the same room as the router during the initial setup. We didn’t have three outlets left so we had to look around the house for a multiple socket outlet that all adapters could be plugged into.
Devolo’s Home Network app for Android and iOS devices isn’t of much help either. It seems to assume that you know what you are doing and that all you have to do is get on with it. So we accidentally pressed buttons to try to get the three adapters to talk to each other.
Some functions, such as B. the parental controls of the app, also require technical know-how, z. B. Knowing the MAC addresses in order to block access for individual devices. However, experienced users will be pleased that there is another app called Devolo Cockpit for Windows, Mac, and even Ubuntu that offers advanced controls through a web browser interface.
And when the Mesh WiFi 2 kit was set up, we were delighted to see that it worked extremely well. Devices in the same room as the first adapter plugged into our router were able to get the maximum speed out of our broadband connection, with both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands having speeds of 110 Mbps and Steam -Downloads registered at 12.5 MB / s.
Wi-Fi speeds held up well in our back office too – where we usually only rely on the power line for a wired connection – with both bands staying steady at 110Mbps.
The 2.4 GHz band dropped a bit on our Steam test in this office, dropping slightly to 9.5 MB / s, but that’s still far better than the speeds we normally get from our old router received, and the 5 GHz band did not stop at all at a speed of 12.5 MB / s.
Devolo definitely needs to clarify its documentation and provide more help to beginners, and not all households require powerline connectivity. For homes where thick walls and other obstacles can affect your Wi-Fi signal, the combination of powerline connectivity and expansive mesh Wi-Fi may be the ideal solution.
Buy it when …
You have thick walls or ceilings
When your Wi-Fi signal can’t penetrate walls or ceilings, the Mesh WiFi 2’s PowerLine connectivity can send your internet connection to other rooms through your power cords.
You are a bit of a wanderer
The “band steering” functions of the Mesh WiFi 2 can follow you and your mobile devices and automatically switch you to the closest adapter and the fastest Wi-Fi band.
You like ethernet
With the three adapters you get five Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast cable connections. This is ideal for game consoles, smart TVs, and other devices that work best with wired connections.
Don’t buy it if …
You lack patience
The initial setup process is a bit of a hassle, and the Devolo app and documentation aren’t as helpful as they could be. However, if you persevere you should be able to solve all of your Wi-Fi problems.
You are on a budget
The Mesh WiFi 2 covers many bases and can be excessive for many households. If you only have a room or two with poor WiFi, a lower-cost range extender or basic PowerLine adapter might be just the thing for you.
You need parental controls
The Mesh WiFi 2 includes some simple parental controls, but they are limited and poorly explained. Hence, not ideal for parents who want strong online protection for their children.
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