Mesh muscle: We go hands-on with Plume’s new Wi-Fi 6 Superpod redesign

Now, Wi-Fi mesh seller Plume introduced its newest gear—a Wi-Fi 6 enabled edition of its flagship Superpod style and design. We were being the initially to get our fingers on the new Superpods, which retail at $159 apiece. Plume recommended four Superpods whole for our 3,500-square-foot take a look at house, so that is precisely how we tested.

To give the Superpod design each likelihood to glow, we utilised a new Wi-Fi 6 enabled test fleet—one outfitted with Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 adapters in location of the 802.11ac Intel 7265 adapters in our aged check fleet. But replacing the examination fleet indicates needing to crank out new baselines. So somewhat than re-employing previous exams, we broke out our primary 802.11ac Superpods and a 3-piece 802.11ac Amazon Eero mesh package to provide as a competitive measurement baseline.

All a few of these kits are top performers—including the Amazon Eero, which routinely beats a great deal increased-spec and larger-priced kits in our tests. And Plume’s Superpods have been major the pack in our different iterations of The Fantastic Ars Mesh Wi-Fi Throwdown™ for at minimum five many years now.

Do these new editions keep the trend alive?

Plume overview

Plume’s Wi-Fi equipment is bodily as straightforward and unobtrusive as doable. The new Superpod design and style is visually indistinguishable from the outdated one—it is made up of rather smaller, a single-piece hexagonal nodes that plug right into wall power retailers. Each Superpod is similar they have two wired gigabit Ethernet jacks and a little pinhole LED that only lights up when there’s a problem.

This compact, cable-totally free design and style tends to make the equipment blend in perfectly, but it does give the Superpods a little potential downside: it can be extra tough to mount them up substantial. And preferably, you want your Wi-Fi access details earlier mentioned head, or at minimum waist height, to decrease obstructions. Plume overcomes this limitation by encouraging buyers to deploy a lot more pods, lessening the distance every single pod desires to include in the first area.

Although Plume Superpods offer exceptionally high throughput, which is not a metric the business especially cares about. In its place, it focuses on genuine-world perceived encounter, which is dominated by dependability, regularity, and latency. This philosophy meshes up nicely with our individual check methods—we check routers and mesh kits with an full tiny community alternatively than pulling a velocity examination from a single laptop computer and calling it a working day.

Again, in our previous screening, Plume Superpods wiped the flooring with all mesh competitors. They provided noticeably decrease software latency on a hectic community than any other Wi-Fi mesh package. The new Wi-Fi 6 Superpods continue in that custom irrespective of Wi-Fi 6’s own teething pains, which we will speak much more about later.

The new Wi-Fi 6 Superpods also include things like Ultra-wideband (UWB) interfaces that operate from 6.5–8 GHz. These at this time unused UWB interfaces match the UWB interfaces currently currently being delivered in all Apple iphone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 phones. It really is the core know-how guiding Apple’s AirTags, and it will finally enable Plume to give quite significant-precision indoor site solutions. In concept, with 3 Superpods, you’ll be capable to triangulate the place of UWB phones, tablets, and so on, much as you would with GPS—but with considerably larger precision.

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