Considering the almost-$600 price tag of my eero Pro 6 mesh networking system, I found it unlikely that the $59 Vilo system would be able to compete. For just a tenth of the cost, how could this 3-pack of mesh networking gear even stand a chance? Boy was I wrong.
After using a Vilo mesh network in my home, I was shocked to see good network coverage and speeds. Even though some advanced features from my eero Pro 6 aren’t available in Vilo’s product, this mesh product is well worth the look for someone who wants an upgrade from a single-router system and doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
I tested the $59.99 3-pack which includes a trio of Vilo access points, three power cords, and a single ethernet cable. Any of these units can be set up first as the main router, with the additional two acting as mesh access points.
The devices are small and light, with a nice bonus over some competing products: There are two Gigabit Ethernet output ports on each of them in addition to the Gigabit ethernet input jack. Most mesh routers only have one, if any, ethernet port to hardwire a connected device. So that’s an immediate win for Vilo in my book.
However, this budget-friendly system does make some compromises: Unlike more expensive models that support tri-band WiFi 6, the Vilo units use a dual-band system.
That means there’s no dedicated 5GHz network devoted solely to piping a wireless signal between the router and the access points. Additionally, the maximum theoretical throughput for 2.4GHz devices is 300MHz while 5GHz devices top out at speeds of 867MHz.
Yes, I did notice these lower speeds, both on my WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 devices. I tested indoors and out, on various devices in many locations.
To be honest though? It equated to roughly a 20% decline in speeds. And when you think that this total package costs a tenth of my current mesh network, that’s still quite a good value proposition.
My average wireless downloads during the tests of my eero Pro 6 averaged around 450Mbps with 11 seconds of latency. Testing in the same location with the same devices on the Vilos averaged around 325Mbps with 14 seconds of latency.
Uploads on both systems were roughly the same as the download speeds. And none of my smart home devices seemed to perform any differently on the Vilo network.
To be fair, the Vilo system doesn’t compete against the eero Pro 6, but against the standard eero 6, Google Nest WiFi, and entry-level mesh systems from other more recognizable brands.
The competition uses a similar dual-band approach. So I’d expect a very similar performance to what Vilo offers. Those all cost more too, anywhere from $150 to $200 or so.
Speaking of cost, it’s only $19.99 for each additional Vilo access point if you decide to purchase more than three. You can buy a single unit at that price if you don’t really need a mesh network, but for a total of around $40, I’d recommend two for any home more than 1,200 square feet.
Another surprising experience was setting up the Vilo system. I’d say the company nailed it.
Yes, you do have to register for a Vilo account to use these devices, but aside from that, I was able to set the main router up in under five minutes. Even better: The access points are self-configured based on the main router settings, so you just plug them in and they connect themselves. That part takes all of a minute.
The only caveat is that this “plug-and-play” configuration is for the three-pack. If you buy individual Vilo devices, there are a few more steps involved. I was unable to test this since I reviewed the 3-pack.
During my testing, I wanted to see how Vilo handles 2.4GHz-only devices, which are unfortunately all too common in the smart home. Typically, these can be difficult to connect to a mesh network that integrates both 2.4GHz and 5GHz into a single wireless network. Yet again, Vilo surprised me. I connected three 2.4GHz devices (2 cameras and my Nest Connect) to the Vilo-powered network without any issues.
While nearly everything I mentioned so far is pretty positive, there are a few missing advanced features typically found on more costly mesh networking systems.
While you can set up a Guest Wi-Fi network and set up limited parental controls in the Vilo app, you don’t get much more than a basic per-device bandwidth report. There’s no malware or device threat protection included either. Then again, there are no subscription fees for any such services either, at least not currently. The Vilo app does support scheduled router restarts, which is nice.
Even without some advanced features and options, the Vilo delivers on its promise of broad wireless coverage. In fact, it even handled device “handoffs” between the access points better than my current system.
When I walk around my home with the three eeros, for example, my phone will often stay connected to the same access point instead of hopping over to the nearest one. On the Vilo network, my phone did make those hops, possibly because I enabled the “band steering” option, which is also enabled on my eeros.
Long story short: You get a really great mesh networking solution for a low cost with Vilo. Sure, this might not be for someone with hundreds of smart home devices, needs dedicated wireless backhaul between access points, or who wants to set up virtual networks.
For those new to mesh networking or those on a budget that want broader coverage though? I can’t see how you go wrong by dropping $60 on a Vilo three-pack.