Im looking for a decent wifi router or a mesh router that has good parental controls.
Tplink ax50 are good (I have 2 for sale in chch, just upgraded our setup to mesh)
The Tplink deco mesh ap’s also have parental control
I have a network cable access top floor and bottom floor. Would mesh be better than a router?
Network cable to two access points is better than mesh most of the time. Unintuitively though you want the broadcast strength on each access point to be lowish so your devices switch between them rather than holding onto the further signal.
I disagree. Mesh with wired backhaul is great. Rather than a router and 2 access points. Secondly switching between access points means you risk losing connection for few milliseconds.
You may be right with the lastest mesh systems these days. Not the most update on them.
Mesh is better if you connect both to the cable. Which means they don't have to communicate with each other over wifi. This will improve your overall wifi speed. Tp-link or asus ai mesh are very good for parental controls.
Something to read on
Multiple access points hardwired back to the router is always the best option. Mesh is the same thing but instead of being hardwired back, they use a separate (usually hidden SSID) to backhaul the data wirelessly between mesh units and the main unit. The downside to this is it is subject to interference and the poorer the signal between the mesh units the lower the overall data rates will be (IE: they may advertise 1600mbit, but that is say 2x2 160mhz channel at MCS8 which requires very good signal strength and a good noise floor with zero interference. Further away or with more obstacles, the mesh units may end up being MCS4 which for example may end up being less than 800mbit, I've seen cases where the speeds fluctuate between 100-200mbit, which is fine but not comparable to gigabit hardwired speeds.
If you live in an area with a lot of WiFi noise, mesh system will make it much harder to find clean air and get the best results, there is about 600mhz of 5ghz frequency legally available to use in NZ and current mesh systems often use 160mhz for the mesh and 80-160mhz for actual WiFi, you can run into issues with lack of clean frequency very quickly.
For seamless roaming the APs and client devices need to support it, there are different protocols such as 802.11r, generally speaking if you use same brand APs then it should be seamless. Enterprise grade stuff obviously works better than the general consumer or cheaper gear, but even usually using the enterprise stuff it can come out cheaper overall.
What xwing said it correct about wanting to have broadcast strength set to the right level, too powerful and devices can hang on too long and stay on with poor signal even though there is much better signal available from another unit. This matters because the worse the signal, the slower the data rates. You can do a speedtest with your phone next to your router and then do one down the other end of the house and likely find speed will be very fast by the router and much slower the further you get away. With Access Points it is the same, you want most of devices connected to have either good or excellent data rates.
That said mesh systems seem to be popular because how they are marketed as being fast and easy to set up, I just can't tell you how many people I've had to tell they've wasted $1,000 on one that won't work properly because the have block walls or a fancy architecture house with metal beams in the walls and weird reflective paint.
Unfortunately I can't make any recommendations for routers or mesh systems as I don't have much recent experience with consumer stuff, but thought I'd clarify on some of the points being posted.
You missed one thing. Mesh can be hardwired as well which won't have that much interference. I don't see a difference between mesh and access point in that case. Placements of the access point or mesh unit is important. Correct me if wrong.
We have a Huawei HG659b from Spark. It has really good parental controls, although since we moved to Slingshot they don't seem to work. If you're with Spark you should be good. You can set access times per device (so I have… well, had… school holidays vs. term time), you can block certain sites and particular devices. I'll be watching this chat to see what other people have found useful, it's so much easier to manage kids' usage from the modem vs their devices.
Haven't tried the parental controls but Asus routers are top notch, interface is so much more comprehensive than most other mainstream brands and you can use their AiMesh system to network multiple routers to form a mesh network.
Im a fan of the ASUS range too. I have got a ax86 meshed with a ax55. Works perfectly