Best WI-FI Mesh System – Amplifi HD vs. AVM Fritzbox
Finding the best possible WI-FI Mesh System for your home can be tricky. Today I’m helping you by comparing the Amplifi HD Mesh Kit with the AVM Fritzbox Mesh Kit. This Review is showcasing how the different WI-FI Mesh Systems performer under Real Life Conditions and what you need to watch out for. The Ubiquiti Amplifi HD Mesh Kit comes with two Mesh Points while the Fritzbox Mesh kit only comes with one additional AVM Fritz 1750E Mesh Access Point. In order to make this review comparable I’m extending the Setup with a second 1750E Access Point achieve the same coverage as with the Amplif HD Mesh Kit.
Moving on from wired Access Points
A while ago I already compared the Ubiquiti UAP AC Pro against the Fritzbox 6490 and one additional 1750E Access Point. Back then my main focus was to streamline my Wi-Fi Setup and extend the range and availability of it. This Time I want to see if a Wi-Fi Mesh can help to get rid of wired Wi-Fi Access Points. My setup at the moment consists of one single Unifi UAP AC Pro located in the middle of my apartment. It is covering most parts of the apartment on a more than decent level. In the graphic below you can see that there are still some colder spots and my goal is to remove those with the help of Wi-Fi Mesh System. The Test Results from the UAP AC Pro will serve as the Baseline in this review.
A Router isn’t enough!
Wifi Routers are getting more powerful and evolved with every generation, but they still have their limitations when it comes to the Wifi performance itself. In most instances it’s not even the vendors fault. Few homes these days are designed to cater you the best possible Wifi experience. That’s why your ISP Connection normally is placed in the worst possible location. In my case I have to place my Router somewhere between two 30cm thick reinforced concrete walls. Since all my living areas are located behind these walls the Wifi experience is far from good.
Amplifi HD vs Fritzbox 7590 – Router Performance
My first tests were with the standalone Routers without any Access Points or Mesh Points. This way when I’m adding a Mesh Point later, you easily can determine how well the Mesh Point actually enhances your signal. With this test I noticed some significant differences. The Fritzbox 7590 has an extremely good coverage in close proximity, but loses a huge portion of its signal within a 10m radius. This behavior could also be observed on the Fritzbox 6490 in my initial review. Fortunately AVM improved the performance of the Fritzbox 7590 so it’s not as severe as it was with the Fritzbox 6490. Another interesting observation is that the 7590’s signal is almost cut off at the 30cm concrete wall. The Amplifi HD Router’s performance is a tad better. Even though there’s no huge spike in the Wifi strength around the router, the signal distribution seems to be more efficient and even than in the Fritzboxes case. This even distribution already leads to a more reliable Wifi Experience.
AVM Fritzbox 7590 Mesh Performance
Adding Mesh Access Points to the 7590 can be challenging. If you fail to get your initial Wi-Fi Mesh setup right or you want to make changes for example to its SSID or visibility, then you have some serious work at your hands. In my case it took more than 3 hours to get everything up and running. There’s also a lot of room to mess up your settings. Fortunately all those issues I encountered can be fixed through Firmware updates. Once you managed to set up your desired environment, the overall Mesh performance is really good. Clients traverse fast and seamlessly from one Mesh Point to another. From a signal level standpoint the same behaviour can be observed as with the Fritzbox 7590 Router itself. The Fritz WLAN 1750E Repeaters have a strong signal in close proximity but can’t handle the thick concrete walls well. You can clearly see in the graphic that the apartment is segmented into three hot spots, meaning there is no even distribution through the whole apartment. Thankfully the signal strength of the individual Mesh point is strong enough that you don’t notice to much off the uneven coverage.
Ubiquiti Amplifi HD Mesh Performance
The Amplifi HD Mesh system for me was a huge surprise with its setup. You plug in the Router and connect it with your local networker. Now plug in your two Mesh Points into any available power outlet and they automatically connect themselves to your Amplifi Router. Every adjustment on the Systems is provisiond automatically to all your devices. I couldn’t think of an easier way to manage your Wifi Mesh Setup. The Amplifi Mesh System also manages to steer the clients reliably and seamlessly through your Mesh Points. I expected a better overall coverage after the initial test with the Amplifi Router but I wasn’t expecting these stunning results. Pretty much every corner of the apartment is covered evenly with a high signal. When I’m switching rooms or move through the apartment there is no shift in the Wifi quality.
The Mesh Point makes the difference
In a perfect world Wifi Access Points and Mesh Points have antennas that can create an omnidirectional signal. But what if you are still too far away from your next hop? In that instance the Amplifi Mesh Points have you covered. They are creating an additional long range beam that can be pointed towards your closest device. This is made possible with the unique design of the Amplifi Mesh Points. The antenna and the power connector are connected by a huge magnetic joint that lets you twist and turn it until you achieve the best possible connectivity. Unfortunately Ubiquiti did not release to much information about the long range beam yet. The only source is one of their latest Blog Posts.
Which Wi-Fi Mesh System offers the best Solution?
If we only focus on the Wi-Fi Mesh performance and usability the answer in my opinion is pretty clear. When you add up all the measurements, the Amplif HD Mesh wins this contest easily. The AVM Fritzbox Mesh System scores the seconds place cause they weren’t able to distribute their Wifi signal evenly. From a usability standpoint the Amplifi System is also more user friendly. It also got abundantly clear that a standalone UAP AC Pro Access Point outperforms every Router by far. So do these results make the AVM Fritzbox a bad product? Well actually no. The Fritzbox solution is still a very good product that focuses on other key features. The Fritzboxes are prominent when it comes to ISP VoIP Services Also they support a bunch of NAS features. If you are a user that is relying on Features like that you can’t go wrong with AVMs boxes. With that said go ahead and check out the devices used in this review:
Amplifi HD Kit
Fritzbox Mesh Kit
Fritz Wifi Repeater