Immediately, Comcast launched an improve to its present Plume-based Wi-Fi mesh choices, the X-Fi Pods. The brand new, tri-band X-Fi Pods seem like direct implementations of Plume’s Superpod design—which is sweet information for Comcast clients, because the Superpods nonetheless sit comfortably on the prime of our Wi-Fi mesh efficiency charts.

The brand new tri-band X-Fi Pods can be found as we speak at $119 for one or $199 for 2, they usually combine with X-Fi clients’ present $25/mo X-Fi managed Wi-Fi.

Why does tri-band matter?

In this December 2019 test, Plume Superpods ruled the roost, in part due to their tri-band design.
Enlarge / On this December 2019 take a look at, Plume Superpods dominated the roost, partially as a consequence of their tri-band design.

One essential distinguishing attribute between Wi-Fi mesh kits is the variety of radios in every node. The very best-performance mesh kits—reminiscent of Netgear Orbi RBK53, Plume Superpods, or the brand new X-Fi Pods introduced as we speak—have three radios in them, not simply two. The additional radio permits the mesh nodes to concurrently talk each to the shopper units related to them and the “backhaul” (their connection upstream to the router) on 5GHz radios.

Having the ability to maintain each “fronthaul” (to units) and backhaul on 5GHz presents an a variety of benefits. The obvious is that, since strong 5GHz connections are larger throughput than strong 2.4GHz connections, the machine can in idea talk quicker. However for customers in dense city environments, avoiding 2.4GHz completely will be the distinction between nice Wi-Fi and completely horrible Wi-Fi.

As a result of longer vary and better impediment penetration of two.4GHz, house dwellers often stay in a thick 2.4GHz soup, with little or no airtime out there on any channel. 5GHz connections aren’t simply theoretically quicker—they’re additionally considerably decrease vary, with much less penetration of arduous obstacles. Rural customers see this as a really huge downside—however for city customers, it could possibly simply be the distinction between 0 % out there airtime and 90-plus % out there.

What number of Pods does a given area want?

We broadly agree with Comcast's device recommendations here—remembering that the X-Fi modem/router itself qualifies as the first mesh node. So two Pods equals three pieces total.
Enlarge / We broadly agree with Comcast’s machine suggestions right here—remembering that the X-Fi modem/router itself qualifies as the primary mesh node. So two Pods equals three items complete.

Comcast

This can be a surprisingly sophisticated matter—in truth, we have a whole prolonged information on it. This is the brief model: when utilizing 5GHz backhaul, we advocate not spacing nodes greater than two partitions away from each other. This largely dovetails with Comcast’s suggestions within the graphic proven above—so long as you do not forget that the X-Fi modem itself is your first node.

Three Superpods coated our 3,500-square-foot multilevel take a look at home fairly completely; we anticipate two X-Fi Pods plus the X-Fi modem would do the identical, if we have been in a Comcast service space. Customers with bigger or significantly elongated houses would possibly need to think about three X-Fi Pods (plus the X-Fi modem behind them) moderately than simply two—observe the two-wall placement rule and you ought to be superb.

Itemizing picture by Comcast

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