Consumer Reports | Better WiFi for less money

It’s annoying dealing with a Wi-Fi dead zone at home!

The good news is that fixing it can be easy and affordable. We’ll explain why it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

Chris Patterson and his family spent years struggling with their Wi-Fi.

“The router for our house is on one side of the house, while most of the time we’re on the other side of the house,” Patterson said. “It was kind of getting hard to use the Wi-Fi without being in the living room.”

But that all changed when they got a mesh network.

“It changed the Wi-Fi completely—all of a sudden now it worked everywhere in the house,” Patterson said.

Consumer Reports says mesh networks use several routers together to spread the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home and around obstacles.

“Some common items include a fish tank, a big metal refrigerator, the pipes in your home,” Nicholas De Leon with Consumer Reports said. “These can all sort of block the Wi-Fi signal and prevent you from getting a decent connection.”

CR tests routers for what matters most: how fast they send a Wi-Fi signal from several distances and data privacy and security.

These mesh networks from Linksys and TP-Link aced all of CR’s distance tests.

They can be set up using an app and have automatic firmware updates to help protect you and your data online.

They both support Wi-Fi 6.

But even a mesh network that uses the older Wi-Fi 5 may feel like an upgrade from your old router. and it’ll save you some money.

“Everything is backwards compatible,” De Leon said. “So, if you buy a brand new iPhone today, which has the latest Wi-Fi chip in there, it’s gonna work fine with the Wi-Fi 5 router.”

Like the Google Nest Wi-Fi.

CR’s experts say it’s great for small or medium-sized houses.

It also has automatic firmware updates and can be set up using an app.

About the Authors:

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.

You can watch Brittny during the week anchoring the 5, 7 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10 and reporting on news that matters to you.