EnGenius ESR530 Smart Mesh Router (review)

In my home, like any other home, there are certain spots that won’t get the best internet connection. Chances are the walls in your home will block that WiFi signal, which will force you to walk around and finder a better connection. Staying connected to the Internet these days is vital. It allows us to stream our favorite music, shows, and movies. It lets us shop online, use social networks, and play video games online.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been using the new Smart Mesh Routers from EnGenius to see if it will blanket my home with a strong and constant WiFi signal. Personally, I’ve never seen the need to reconfigure my Wifi network into a mesh (whole home) network, but we’ll see if these routers can change my mind.

BUILD

The ES530 Smart Mesh Routers have an attractive circular build that makes them easy to handle and set up. If you choose to mount the router on the wall, the minimalist design gives it a clean and uncluttered look while seemingly blending in with your decor. There’s a singular LED light that informs you on whether or not your router is connected to your internet.

The router itself weighs around half a pound and measures 127mm in diameter and 57mm in height. For connections, there’s not a lot of ports on the router itself. You’ll get one port for your WAN connection and another port for your LAN connection. There’s a USB 2.0 port for those who want to connect an external hard drive for remote file sharing, and of course, a 12V power outlet to keep the router powered up.

SETUP

Out of the box, the router is made easy to set up. You’ll need to connect the router to your home modem, then plug in the power. You’ll also need to download the EnMesh app to setup your mesh routers. The app is available for both Android and iOS. After your router is powered up and connected to your modem, you’re ready to set it up so that it can start broadcasting a WiFi signal.

The EnMesh app does its best to lay out the instructions for you to make things simple as possible and easy to understand. Since you’re doing everything on your smartphone or tablet through the app, you’ll need to connect to the router by either scanning a QR code or entering a six-digit code. If either option fails to connect to the router, EnGenius added a few more ways to force a connection. Once everything is connected, you’ll create an account that will allow you to access your network at any time, so you can monitor or modify your new WiFi network.

For me, the setup was fairly tricky at first. I wasn’t able to instantly connect to the router by scanning the QR code or with the six-digit code. I had to temporarily connect to the routers WiFi SSID. It took me a few times until I was able to finally connect to the router and complete the setup. What made it slightly difficult for me was that I was not allowing the router to fully boot up at first. Since these were brand new, I was supposed to allow the router a few minutes to go through its entire bootup sequence until it was ready, this takes somewhere between 2 to 5 minutes.

After my initial setup was done and I had established a primary router, setting up a secondary router was even easier. All I had to do was place the router at an optimal distance of the primary, which in this case was my bedroom, allow the router to fully boot up, and then set it up through the app. This took another 2 minutes until the secondary router was fully set up and ready to use.

PERFORMANCE

The ES530 Routers utilize a simultaneous dual-band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless signal, with MU-MIMO support. It has standard WPA2 security to keep your WiFi access protected and also has wireless dual band speeds of 400 and 867Mbps. In my living room, where the primary router is placed, I’ve had a very strong and reliable connection on all my devices. Compared to my previous WiFi setup, which used a Linksys router, I haven’t had a loss in signal strength or speed.

Where I saw a noticeable difference was in my bedroom. Prior to the mesh network, my weakest connection has always been anywhere outside of my living room. At most, I would get half signal strength, so streaming Netflix or Hulu in my bedroom was always a gamble. But with a secondary mesh router in closer proximity, my signal strength has boosted. The speeds wouldn’t be as fast as my primary router, but just fast enough to stream Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube in HD.

The EnMesh app has some useful features that make monitoring your network simple. You can change your network name or password, run speed tests, run diagnosis, set up more routers, and set parental controls. One really helpful feature within the app is its ability to tell you if your routers are optimized in range. This helped in making sure that if I was going to run a mesh network, then I’ll need it to be running at its best. Of course, for more advanced settings, such as opening up ports, setting up a guest network, or setting up dedicated IP addresses, you can always access your network through your web browser by plugging in its IP address.

The one thing I would have liked to see on the mesh routers was just a few more LAN ports. There are a few devices in my home that I like to keep hard lined to the internet, such as my PlayStation 4 and my desktop computer. Unfortunately, I had to install a four-port switch to maintain these connections, which isn’t really that big of a deal, but in my personal taste, I like to keep everything streamlined and minimal as much as I can. 

FINAL REACTION

My home isn’t that big to a point where I thought about using a mesh network, but with the new ESR530 Smart Mesh Routers from EnGenius, my eyes have been opened to what I’ve been missing out on. On paper, it’s a slight change to add a secondary router in another part of my home, but it does make a big difference when you spend the majority of your day online. These small, lightweight circular devices aren’t an eyesore compared to some other routers on the market, and the EnMesh app makes controlling and monitoring your network a breeze and speeds are constant and fast enough regardless of what router I was connected to. Even though I hit a little snag in the beginning with the setup, in the end, I was able to work everything out and I couldn’t be happier with the results. A mesh network in your home won’t be for everybody and for some, it might even sound a little bit intimidating, but EnGenius made sure that if you were going to upgrade to a mesh network then it might as well be simple enough that anyone can set it up in just a few minutes.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

 

 

 

*The ESR530 routers were provided by EnGenius for review purposes.

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Arvin Santiago
Arvin Santiago 311 posts

Photo/Video Enthusiast and Escape Room "Semi-Professional"