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A photo of the Vilo Mesh wifi router

The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System is a powerful router for beneath $100.
Photograph: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

I’m at all times cautious of suggesting a mesh wifi resolution to a good friend or member of the family who wants higher networking. Mesh wifi has improved my life considerably since transferring to a home, so I really feel accountable for main others to take full benefit of their web. However even an entry-level mesh gadget just like the Eero 6 prices $280 for a starter pack of three, which is prohibitive for many individuals, particularly those that would possibly already battle to pay for the broadband they want.

That’s why I used to be excited about testing the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System. It’s a mesh wifi router that prices a mere $20 a unit for comparable performance and efficiency you’d get from a a lot higher-priced Eero or TP-Hyperlink Deco gadget. The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System is with out a lot aptitude, however don’t mistake its plainness for uselessness. The mesh router system is impressively in a position for a product that’s obtainable in a pack of three for beneath $100.

A Tiny Tower

The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi seems like a shrunken-down model of the Linksys Velop’s big towers. Every node is white, weighs practically a pound, and is barely three inches excessive. The items look greatest positioned on the finish of an open bookshelf or on a desk close to a flower vase to mix into the background. The brand is on high of every node, so there’s no distinct branding.

Every node has a bodily energy button and indicator mild. Out of the gate, one in all Vilo’s greatest options is that it presents three Gigabit Ethernet ports on every gadget, with two of them obtainable to tether something round the home that may profit from an Ethernet cable plugged in, like a printer or a gaming console. Not even the second-generation Google WiFi presents this many ports per node, nor does the Eero 6.

A photo of the Vilo mesh wifi node on a mantel

The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System has a dimmable indicator mild above the button on every node.
Photograph: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

A photo of the back of the Vilo mesh showing its three ethernet ports

Every of the Vilo mesh nodes has three Ethernet ports, together with two for exterior gadgets like gaming consoles and printers.
Photograph: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

Every Vilo mesh node is dual-band AC1200 with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatibility. There are 4 inside antennae in every gadget, boasting high speeds of 300 Mbps on the two.4GHz connection and 867 Mbps on 5GHz. There’s additionally WPA2 encryption, band steering, and MU-MIMO. Every unit can cowl as much as 1,500 sq. toes or as much as 4,500 sq. toes when all three nodes are up and working. Vilo advertises it could actually assist as much as 120 gadgets concurrently, however I couldn’t check that declare.

Establishing the Vilo mesh is basically pain-free. The one energetic half is connecting the first node to the web modem. Then, all I needed to do to hitch the opposite nodes was plug them in, they usually routinely configured themselves. Vilo assigns them a reputation, they usually virtually instantly present up within the companion app.

Three screenshots of the Vilo Mesh system dashboard

The principle system dashboard within the Android model of the Vilo app is simple to navigate.
Screenshot: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

The Vilo app is decidedly plain and barebones, however that appears intentional. The dearth of flash buttons and overt use of coloration assist me concentrate on the supposed utility of the app (although I do want there was a darkish mode). And it makes it simpler to decide on between the obtainable choices.

On the high of the principle web page of the Vilo app is a button that takes you to the System Dashboard, the place you may verify on the relative well being of every of the completely different nodes, together with which gadgets on the community are related to every. You can even use the shortcut button from the house display to investigate cross-check every particular person gadget and its bandwidth utilization. Or swipe all the best way to the correct to get a fast learn on total community exercise.

Three screenshots of the Vilo app's special features

There are some extras obtainable with Vilo, together with parental controls, momentary visitor wifi, and utilization experiences.
Screenshot: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

In contrast to different mesh wifi router producers, there’s little further aptitude provided with the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi. In order for you further security measures like spam management or advert blocking, you’ll need to discover a third-party app to facilitate it. On the very least, Vilo has the important “extras” required of mesh wifi routers for an total pleasant person expertise. They embody built-in parental controls that you may arrange for particular gadgets related to the community, in addition to an choice to arrange a brief visitor community, which expires on the finish of the day and ensures no company overstay their welcome. There may be additionally a useful Utilization Report characteristic to verify how a lot bandwidth goes out and in at any given time. The Vilo app will refresh these experiences on the finish of each hour.

Ample Web

A photo of the Vilo mesh wifi node on the same mantle

The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System does a stable job of providing constant web speeds throughout the house.
Photograph: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

I examined the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi system a number of occasions round my 1,700-square-foot family with Ookla Speed Test on a wide range of Android gadgets, in addition to a Chromebook and an older Home windows 10 laptop computer. Nevertheless, my good dwelling stayed on my major community, and I arrange the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi as a secondary community for my bed room and residential workplace gadgets.

The Vilo Mesh Wifi just isn’t a WiFi 6 resolution just like the final batch of mesh routers I reviewed. Nevertheless, I nonetheless in contrast pace assessments to get an thought of how the connection blankets my family and if it’s as constant as the opposite gadgets I’ve introduced into my dwelling. General, I used to be impressed by how the comparably cheaper Vilo mesh routers carried out, although the set-up wasn’t with out a few minor hiccups.

Throughout work hours, I pulled down a mean of 475 Mbps from a Pixel 5 and OnePlus 9 in my workplace, seated proper subsequent to the first Vilo mesh node. Upstairs in my bed room, the place I additionally positioned a Vilo node, the common hovered between 112 Mbps and 80 Mbps, relying on the time of day and total web visitors. Weirdly, my work laptop computer saved defaulting to the bed room “sub” node moderately than the first Vilo Mesh gadget straight tethered in my workplace, the place the pc is predicated. I think that is what affected the ends in the bed room, as my work laptop is the most important person of bandwidth. I’ve reached out to Vilo to attempt to perceive the problem.

The numbers fluctuated a bit within the kitchen, too, which sits straight between one Vilo node related in the lounge, and the opposite tethered in my workplace. I noticed numbers ranging between 179 and 235 Mbps within the span of some days. The storage noticed comparable numbers, between 168 and 272 Mbps obtain speeds relying on if I used to be sitting in my automotive or ready for the laundry to complete. The nearer I used to be to the wall shared with the principle router, the upper the numbers.

I noticed the slowest obtain numbers outdoors within the yard. The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi managed 96 Mbps within the farther level in my yard, which is about 50 toes away from the home’s again door. It examined about 94 Mbps on the aspect of the home, about 20 toes away. That’s not unhealthy in comparison with the mediocre outcomes I seen with the Eero 6 once I examined it, which barely handed 15 Mbps on the farthest level in my yard. The Eero additionally topped out a measly 70 Mbps within the storage.

I did expertise some slowdown with the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi system, each when streaming video or downloading giant quantities of knowledge. At one level throughout a live-streamed name via Skype, there was a major drop in bandwidth, and my video couldn’t broadcast to the opposite celebration. I needed to log out and name again to re-establish the connection. From there, the decision was clean, and we efficiently chatted for about two hours.

If you want to tweak the community or want extra management, the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi app presents restricted superior settings. It does allow you to break up up your community into 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which is extraordinarily useful for good houses, as band steering remains to be touch-and-go with that class of gadgets. However it doesn’t have Native DNS caching and community file sharing. It additionally doesn’t have WPA3, which is a characteristic unique to WiFi 6 gadgets which can be nonetheless rolling out.

Not a Unhealthy Deal

A photo of the Vilo Mesh wifi node on the author's mantle

The Vilo Mesh wifi node seems actually good on a mantle. In truth.
Photograph: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi system delivered constant speeds all through the nooks of my home and out within the open yard. Nevertheless, I’ve Gigabit web, and I by no means noticed the pace assessments rank greater than 508 Mbps, which is technically solely half of what I pay for. I at the moment use a Linksys Velop AX M10, as it’s the solely mesh wifi router I’d examined that may ship on my exorbitantly excessive month-to-month invoice. Two of these router items price a whopping $700, nevertheless, and it’s successfully a distinct product tier at that worth level.

Not everybody wants that form of overkill networking resolution, and that’s the place the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi System matches in. For beneath $100, you can begin a mesh wifi community at dwelling, which is turning into a necessity when you’ve got extra of us transferring into your family with laptops and tablets of their very own or if you wish to begin bringing good bulbs and good shows into the fold. Or, when you’ve got a dwelling the place the web isn’t as quick, the Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi can guarantee no less than everybody has a share of the small bandwidth pie.

The Vilo Mesh Wi-Fi system formally knocks out the Amazon Eero 6 as essentially the most succesful mesh router resolution for these trying to spend the least. It’s additionally for the individual paying for low- to mid-tier web speeds. If you’re paying for the quickest broadband in your space, it’s best to look into fashions just like the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 System or TP-Hyperlink Deco X20 as a substitute. They price extra—$700 and $250, respectively—however they’re each WiFi 6 succesful and stuffed with the bells and whistles you may want should you fancy your self a novice community administrator.

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