Nokia Wifi Mesh System - Beacon 1
First time an ISP in Singapore is bundling a Mesh router with their plans. Starhub has had a history hit and miss with bundling routers and after a week of WFH reviewing, this is one of their few misses
I was using a standard bundled Linkysys EA 8100 prior to testing this piece of equipment and had never used a MESH set up before, closest I came was using power point plug range extenders. My set up was having the devices diagonally 6 metres apart at a 30 degree angle in my living room from the centre of my flat.
Unpacking was easy and I liked the minimal amount of packing material used. The router came with a standard power adaptor, Ethernet cable and quick start guide. Aesthetically, the router looks pleasing, clean and minimalist. Out of the box, you will notice a lack of external antennaes, which gave me some concern, also lacking are USB ports and there is only one wired port.
Set up was easy enough with the quick start guide, although I did another round of set up, after resetting, through the app, available on Google Play and iTunes. On the app, pairing was a breeze with QR codes. Note that you have to set up a an account with Nokia for log in. The app itself is simple and intuitive but does not give you full access to all its features, for that you need to use web access at 192.168.18.1. Personal preference, but I found it strange that I had to log in via an email address.
I ran into an issue immediately after logging out from the app, it prompted me that I was logged into my account with another device, which I wasn't. I could log in through my browser and the issue resolved itself.
I decided to set up directly to Mesh configuration, due to the layout of my flat, as well as the lack of antennaes, I felt that standalone mode was not going to provide sufficient coverage. Set up was easy, pairing with QR codes made it a lot easier.
I did a bandwidth speed test with my old router and one more with the Beacon, same locations in my flat, results varied but the speeds on EA 8100 was at least twice as fast.
Coverage was slightly, very slightly better on the Beacon 1 but not by any usable margin, basically dead zones in my flat just started getting choppy throughput.
Throughput appeared slower on most of my devices and was noticeably laggy when 3 devices are streaming, downloading simultaneously. I had an issue with my desktop, I was getting less than 50% download throughput when using my download manager, I was also experiencing frequent signal loss, a change in channel through the web control panel fixed the drops but not the speed. Surprising since my desktop is less than 4 metres from the router. My family members also had the same experience. We continued having random drops throughout the review period.
This router is ok if you have a couple of small rooms range wise but if you have a bigger place, you will need at least 2 more additional devices for any meaningful coverage. and at S$120 per device, cost is definately an issue, at that price you can buy a pretty decent AC2600 and above router with 4 external MIMO antennaes, ethernet and usb ports. The Beacon looks like it was designed for very basic access but they are looking at the wrong price point.
After I took down the Beacons, I recieved an email from Nokia to inform me that my device was down.