There are so many great mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market. So, what makes this one different? Well, for starters, three Vilo mesh units only cost you $60 and provide up to 4,500 square feet of coverage.
On top of affordable whole home coverage, the dual-band Vilo mesh Wi-Fi system also connects to an app that lets you easily manage your Wi-Fi network, connected devices, and more. Each unit comes with 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi radios, one 2.4GHz band and one 5GHz band. All units also feature MU-MIMO support, beamforming, proactive band steering, four internal antennas, and a 999MHz MIPS processor.
You can purchase a pack of three mesh Wi-Fi units from Vilo for $59.99 or purchase individual units for $19.99 each. Although there’s no discount for purchasing a three pack, it’s easier to set up a three pack than purchasing three individual units. More on this later.
In a world where Wi-Fi 6 currently reigns supreme, it’s worth mentioning that this router is a Wi-Fi 5 dual-band mesh system, which honestly works great if you don’t need super speedy internet.
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Design: Small Form Factor
The form factor of these mesh units from Vilo is small and simple. Each unit is a slim, white tower with one button on the front and the orange Vilo logo on top.
Then, on the back of each unit, there’s a spot for the power cord, a WAN/LAN port to connect to your modem, and two LAN ports. While two LAN ports aren’t much, it’s expected for the price you pay. Each of the three units comes with these same available connections.
If you plan to connect more devices directly through Ethernet, like your smart TV, a gaming console, or a computer, you’ll need to purchase an Ethernet hub. Of course, this will boost the overall money you spend to make this mesh Wi-Fi system work for you.
The units are also incredibly light and easy to move between rooms. But how easy are they to set up?
Setup: Super Easy with a Streamlined App
The setup of all three Vilo mesh units is so easy. The app walks you through everything, so even if you’re not technologically savvy, it’ll be a breeze.
If you get a three pack, it doesn’t matter which unit you choose to be your main router. Whichever one you choose, you plug it into a wall outlet and connect it to your modem (and two additional devices through the extra LAN ports if you want). As soon as you see a solid amber light displayed on the Vilo unit, it’s ready to be connected to the Vilo app (Android/iOS).
Each unit comes with a handy QR code on the bottom of the unit. The app will prompt you to scan the QR code so it knows which unit you’ve chosen as your main unit. Once everything is connected and ready to go, the indicator light on the front of the Vilo unit will be solid blue.
If you buy a three pack, adding your two extra units to the system is as easy as plugging them into a wall outlet wherever you want and waiting to see a solid blue light on the unit. If you’re setting it up near a computer or another device that could connect via LAN, you can; if you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to. It’s not an Ethernet connection, so don’t expect those kinds of speeds, but it’s a more solid connection than a simple wireless one.
If you buy an extra unit outside of the original three units you purchased, you’ll have to set it up, similar to how you set up the main router.
You manage your Vilo units and Wi-Fi network from the Vilo app. Although you can troubleshoot and get support through the Vilo Living website, you’ll have to do all of your setup and management of your Wi-Fi network through the app. You can see the connection status of each Vilo unit, how many devices are connected to each Vilo, and troubleshoot your system directly through the app. Plus, the app also lets you block unwanted devices, set parental controls for specific devices throughout your home, share a separate guest network, and more.
Firmware upgrades sometimes make the units finicky, but that’s somewhat to be expected. With the first firmware upgrade I performed, the secondary and tertiary units had a blinking red light and refused to reconnect; I finally fixed the issue by unplugging the main router and plugging it back in. With the latest firmware upgrade, every unit thankfully reconnected on their own after a minute or so when the system restarted after upgrading.
Of course, when I was testing the units, there were bound to be more firmware upgrades as it was still in development. Hopefully, all future firmware upgrades act like the last one I experienced, making it easy for you to update all units and not have to worry about power cycling your main router to set everything back to normal.
Price: Incredibly Affordable
The best thing about this mesh system is easily the price. Most mesh Wi-Fi systems are well over $100 for a pack of three units, sometimes even a pack of two. A three unit mesh system from Vilo will only cost you $59.99! Individual units cost $19.99.
That doesn’t include shipping costs, but overall it still ends up being one of the lowest prices on the market for a mesh Wi-Fi system with three units. But how well does this mesh system perform, and is it worth spending $60?
Performance: Even for the Price, Speeds Are Meh
Vilo states that you can get up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. These numbers are maximums, so you should never expect to see these kinds of speeds all the time consistently.
Everyone has different Internet Service Providers (ISPs), so the maximum speeds you experience may vary greatly based on your internet plan and how reliable your ISP is. Personally, I have Spectrum as my ISP and the Internet Ultra plan that boasts 400Mbps speeds. My ISP router has a dual-core ARM processor up to 1.7GHz, 1GB DDR RAM, 1 WAN port, and 4 LAN ports. Stacked up next to Vilo’s units, Vilo is already at a disadvantage in terms of hardware.
With the router that came free with my internet plan, I typically experience about 500Mbps download speeds and about 22Mbps upload speeds when I’m in my living room next to the router. When I’m upstairs in almost any room, I average about 200Mbps download and the same 22Mbps upload on my phone and about 180-190Mbps download and 23Mbps upload on my computer.
When performing a speed test, the main Vilo router that connects to your modem matches my original router from Spectrum. I was getting roughly 465-500Mbps download speed, and about 22Mbps upload speed. The speeds I experienced on my phone upstairs with the two extra Vilo units were slightly slower than my original router from Spectrum. Upstairs, next to one of the additional Vilo units, I got about 180Mbps download and 22Mbps upload.
With my computer, however, it was a different story. When I had a secondary Vilo unit connected to my computer with an Ethernet cable, I was experiencing about 120Mbps download speeds and 23Mbps upload speeds. Without the Ethernet cable, download speed dropped to 80-90Mbps, but the upload speed stayed the same.
My ping with my Spectrum router when I was in the same room was about 46ms; when I was upstairs, the ping was about 49ms. With the main Vilo unit downstairs, I got a ping of 52ms; upstairs, that number didn’t really change at all.
All in all, the speeds I got upstairs with the Vilo unit weren’t very impressive. And I’ll continue to use my ISP router and probably save up for a more expensive Wi-Fi 6 mesh system.
Whole Home Coverage: Add Extra Units if You Need to
A three pack from Vilo provides up to 4,500 square feet of coverage, though that’s a “maximum possible coverage,” not necessarily average coverage most people will experience. That being said, three units will likely provide plenty of coverage for most homes. With three units, you can connect up to 120 devices simultaneously.
My home is about 2,100 square feet, and I placed the main router downstairs in our living room and the other two units upstairs in opposite corners of two different rooms. I haven’t noticed too many Wi-Fi dead spots with our old router, so I can’t comment on how well Vilo reaches dead spots in a home.
However, I did test the coverage range of a Vilo unit outside. Usually, I lose Wi-Fi signal when I reach the end of my driveway. So, I hooked up a Vilo unit using a plug outside by my front door. When this Vilo unit was connected and ready to go, I had Wi-Fi coverage at the end of my driveway and could scroll through social media and look things up on the internet. I even walked across the street and down a house and still had coverage. The download speeds weren’t very impressive, hovering around 30-35Mbps, and the ping rate was awful at about 50.
So if you have an area in your home that consistently doesn’t have Wi-Fi coverage and it’s somewhere you really want coverage, like your bedroom, the Vilo units will do that for you.
Depending on your home’s square footage, you might even be able to only purchase two units for $40 for full coverage. Each unit provides up to 1,500 square feet coverage in a circle radiating from the router. So, how many units you need will depend on where you plan to place them in your home.
You can easily add extra units to either add square footage coverage or add connectivity to dead spots in your home. As mentioned above, individual units cost $19.99 plus shipping.
Conclusion: If You Can, Save Up for a Better Wi-Fi Mesh System
Hearing the highly affordable price tag of $60 for a mesh Wi-Fi system made me excited. My house is two stories and on the larger side at 2,100 square feet. Although I’ve never experienced dead spots in my home, I typically have slower speeds upstairs when I’m away from the main router. And because I don’t have Ethernet running through the walls to any rooms upstairs, I, unfortunately, have to rely on a wireless connection.
Unfortunately, Vilo’s mesh Wi-Fi system is a bit disappointing. The only reason I would recommend anyone purchase Vilo mesh units is if your home has dead spots in important places that you need Wi-Fi coverage. And even then, don’t expect speedy coverage; just expect coverage.
If you’re looking for speedier Wi-Fi connectivity, I would recommend saving up a bit more for a better Wi-Fi 5 mesh system or even splurging on a super-fast Wi-Fi 6 mesh system if you could swing it (though even a budget Wi-Fi 6 mesh system can cost nearly six times that of Vilo).