Mercusys Halo H80X review: mesh system with Wi-Fi 6, perfect for large homes

Mesh systems for Wi-Fi networks aren’t exactly a new concept, and they’ve evolved quite a bit since their debut just a few years ago. The only things that have changed, if at all, are now updated technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and ease of setup, and the new Mercusys Halo H80X is one of the easiest I’ve had the chance to test. This system is not only powerful, but also extremely easy to set up, and you can have a high-speed wireless network in your home in less than 15 minutes.

Mercusys Halo H80X comes with the bare essentials in the package

We tested the Mercusys H80X three-station kit, which should be enough to cover a 650-square-foot space. Of course, these marketing claims are only valid in ideal outdoor conditions, the reality in the field is a little different. However, with a mesh of three stations strategically placed around the house, you could easily cover a multi-room apartment, or even an upstairs house and patio seating area.

Mercusys Halo H80X station sides

Included in the box of this kit are just seven important items. We have the three white, cube-shaped wireless stations, along with power supplies for each and an Ethernet cable for connecting to the original internet source. The design of these stations is a little different from the Halo a few years ago, which used Wi-Fi 5. They are now slightly longer and each have a status LED on the front. On the back we have three Ethernet ports and a power port. Of course, each also comes with a reset button.

In the box are only the manuals, only one of which is important: the one that provides the QR code to download the Mercusys app.

The system can be up and running in less than 15 minutes with the mobile app

Because I’ve tested Mercusys products before, I already had the app installed on my phone as well as an account already signed up. It’s important to know that these products only work with a Mercusys account, so signing up is required to use the wireless system. The advantage of this account, however, is that you can monitor the network remotely, even if you’re not directly connected to it. The app is available on both iOS and Android, and a smartphone is absolutely necessary to get the Halo H80X system up and running.

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Once you install the app and sign up your account, everything works almost by itself. Either station can be primary or secondary, so it doesn’t even matter which station you choose to connect to first. All you need is for it to be plugged into an outlet and a network cable from your telecom router or GPON to follow the simple steps in the app. The last step in setup is naming your Wi-Fi network and setting a password.

The next two stations then automatically connect to the new network. It is advisable to connect them one by one so that you can distinguish them in the list in the application. Each station can be renamed with a name of your choice, or a room of the house (living room, bedroom, kitchen, hallway, etc.) can be attached to it.

Mercusys Halo H80X ports

A little tip for those who want the best performance from a mesh system. It is advisable to start the internet from the station that is in as central an area of the house as possible. That way, the distance to the other stations is largely equal, so you’ll have more stable internet connections. I put the main station in the bedroom, which is in the centre of the house, and the other two stations in the living room and kitchen. That way everywhere I went in the house I had full Wi-Fi signal, and the signal between stations was also as good as possible.

With each station having three Ethernet ports, such a solution is not only good for connecting devices over Wi-Fi to the Internet, but also wired ones, even if you can’t pull a cable from the main router.

Performance doesn’t disappoint

When it comes to the performance of such a system, we’re kind of limited by today’s hardware and internet connections in Romania. Sure, we have some of the highest quality internet connections in Europe and even the world, but even here connections of over 1 Gbps have not become very common. Digi has been announcing 2.5 and 10 Gbps subscriptions for a year now, but these are still pending, for example.

Mercusys Halo H80X station front

Also, all the ports on these stations are Gigabit, so even though they offer Wi-Fi 6 signal, which should also reach 2.4 Gbps over wireless under ideal conditions, the maximum possible at this point for internet transfers is 1 Gbps. Incidentally, the ports on the stations are also Gigabit, so a 2.5 Gbps connection wouldn’t offer higher speeds on this system.

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Fortunately, 1 Gbps is still more than enough for any home use case. I tested the mesh system with a gaming PC system, wired to the main station, for the maximum possible speeds on these devices, and then, using a Galaxy Z Flip4, the most modern Wi-Fi 6 phone I had on hand, I tested the internet in several corners of the house, making sure in the app whether or not it was connected to that nearest station.

Mercusys Halo H80X station back

So, I noticed that despite having a much more powerful modem and antennas, the Galaxy Z Flip4 doesn’t migrate between stations as quickly as the iPhone I had the app installed on. Here it will differ from device to device, and performance may suffer as a result. However, given that the minimum performance we encountered was around 400 Mbps, speed won’t be an issue for users of this system.

Near the main station, where the signal is strongest, I caught near gigabit speeds on the Samsung phone’s Wi-Fi. Under the same conditions, I was reaching about 600 Mbps on my iPhone. Granted, the iPhone is three years old this year, being an iPhone 11 Pro Max with an older generation modem and antennas. Speeds in the area of secondary stations was around 500 Mbps, depending on the proximity of the station and obstacles between the phone and them.

Tests were conducted using the SpeedTest app on the Play Store and the SpeedTest.net website on the PC. We chose the two best results for each test. And the other results were within the margin of error, which means that each test was performed on stable connections.

Mercusys Halo H80X tests

Cable

  • Test 1 – Download: 923.72 Mbps / Upload: 941.09 Mbps
  • Test 2 – Download: 929.23 Mbps / Upload:922.91 Mbps

Wi-Fi near main station

  • Test 1 – Download: 814 Mbps / Upload: 940 Mbps
  • Test 2 – Download: 805 Mbps / Upload: 933 Mbps

Wi-Fi near secondary station 1

  • Test 1 – Download: 463 Mbps / Upload: 499 Mbps
  • Test 2 – Download: 484 Mbps / Upload: 228 Mbps

Wi-Fi near secondary station 2

  • Test 1 – Download: 403 Mbps / Upload: 230 Mbps
  • Test 2 – Download: 511 Mbps / Upload: 344 Mbps

Conclusions

Mesh systems are generally more about convenience, great Wi-Fi network coverage and ditching cables and less about top speeds. Fortunately, with a system like Mercusys’ Halo H80X, you can pretty much have it all at once. This system promises to “hold” connections with up to 150 devices at once, making it especially useful for those with many smart home devices. But I think for a two-bedroom apartment, such a system is a bit too powerful. From three rooms upwards, or houses with a floor, a mesh system of this kind is however a must and it is good that such high performance devices are now also affordable and easy to install.

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