The article makes some excellent points against these products, but it hides the failings deep. I guess writers don't want to knock their advertisers. Here I point out Ars' hidden arguments against these mesh networking products.
1. The Ars Technica article says, "like I discovered when I tested Eero for the Wirecutter, multi-hop here works, but it’s best avoided if you don’t absolutely need it". Stated more simply: avoid Mesh networking unless you absolutely need it or don't care much about performance.
2. The article says "some client devices actually perform worse when overwhelmed with too much signal." Actually, all client devices perform worse when overwhelmed with too much signal. Unsurprisingly, noise in the radio spectrum is a serious problem when dealing with radio communications. The more powerful transmitters you have hanging around, the more noise devices will experience. And that means more retries and slower performance.
3. The article says that that all these mesh routers are "still a lot more expensive than a standalone router, and most people's homes can be served fine from a single, good standalone router"
Furthermore, it is clear that Ars failed to led its readers through many other limitations of mesh networking:
- Better placement of their atrociously-placed "base unit" would likely permanently solve all of their coverage issues using a single traditional router.
- Adding nodes is going to lower overall network reliability.
- Adding nodes is going to increase inter-node traffic, thereby increasing radio noise and lowering network performance.
- Adding nodes is going to increase network installation, administration, and maintenance efforts.
- Adding nodes is going to increase cost.
WIFI problems are almost always due to:
- poor placement of the base station
- poor (outdated or 3rd rate) equipment
- poor channel selection
But the for the vast majority of home users, a mesh networking product is a complete waste of money and time. Save your money and save the headaches. Mesh networking products are bullshit.