The old showbiz adage continues to hold true (even in Wi-Fi testing): you can’t please everyone. Shortly after our last round of mesh Wi-Fi testing, in which a six-pack of Plume devices surprised the field, e-mails arrived from both the Google Wifi and AmpliFi HD teams. The results weren’t representative of their devices, they said, and perhaps I placed the devices badly. Both companies suggested placing an access point (AP) downstairs instead of all three APs being upstairs.
While I doubted this pretty strongly—such a setup would require a multi-hop “tree” topology, which neither device is really designed well for—I set my own ego aside. At the very least, these pleas highlighted a weakness common to any three-piece mesh kit: they’re deceptively difficult to place well.
But blindly following Google’s and AmpliFi’s recommendations to move an access point downstairs would have weakened the devices’ previous coverage pattern upstairs. That arrangement means the upstairs and downstairs access points have to cover half of the house from one location rather than each covering about a third of the house the way I’d had them arranged.