Arriving in France at the beginning of 2022, the Chinese brand Mercusys is still little known here. However, it already has a few years of experience and belongs to a well-known group – TP-Link.
The Halo H80X is the most advanced mesh Wi-Fi system from Mercusys. It consists of three terminals equipped with three RJ45 ports and compatible with Wi-Fi 6 with a combined speed of 3 Gb/s. These modules are strictly identical and can therefore be connected as a router module (the one connected to the internet box) or as a satellite module that acts as a Wi-Fi 6 signal repeater.
On the wireless side, each terminal is compatible with the 802.11ax (wifi 6) standard in two bands (2.4 and 5 GHz). The 2.4 GHz frequency band can reach a theoretical speed of 574 Mb/s, while the 5 GHz band reaches a generous 2402 Mb/s. In the absence of a third band dedicated to communication between modules, the announced theoretical performance is reduced by half. when a device is connected to a module that acts as a repeater.
For the wired part, the Halo H80X modules each have three RJ45 ports at the Gigabit standard (1 Gb/s). The ports are auto-negotiated, so you don’t have to worry about where to connect the cable from your internet box or your laptop. The terminals also support the Ethernet Backhaul function, which is handy if your home is equipped with an RJ45 socket.
Interactions with the boxes are limited to the indicator light that changes color depending on the state of the module and the presence of a reset button. For WPS commissioning, reset or pairing, you will need to go through the Mercusys app on Android and iOS.
The design of the cases is skeleton key. These are small pavers (12.7 x 8.2 cm for a height of 8.5 cm) that easily find a place on a shelf. Only a few stylized perforations at the top brighten the matte white finish. The weight is particularly light (280 g per module).
Installation of the Mercusys Halo H80X is very simple. It’s also identical to TP-Link’s Deco Kits. Therefore, the easiest way is to go through the “Mercusys” app available on Android and iOS and let yourself be guided.
Once you have connected the first module, the application will ask you to create the name of your Wi-Fi network and the associated password. You must then connect your smartphone to this new network to complete the installation. You will then have two minutes to add the other modules. Don’t panic if your time is up, just press the “+” button in the app to add a module.
The settings available in the app allow you to fully manage your network. Thus, it is possible to choose the frequency bands to activate, but not disassociate them or configure a “guest” wireless network. In the advanced settings, you can change the DHCP range, perform port forwarding, or even define the level of aggressiveness of roaming between modules and connected devices.
Parental controls are also present. It is completely free and allows you to create a profile for each user. Control is thus adapted to the age of the user and their devices can be assigned to them. Finally, Wi-Fi access can be limited to a certain duration and in certain time slots.
A web management interface can be accessed through a browser. However, it is particularly poor in configuration. We will console ourselves with the possibility of updating our Halos or restarting them from our browser.
To evaluate the performance of the Mercusys Halo H80X mesh system, we connected the router to our operator box to which we connected a laptop through an adapter to the 2.5 Gb/s socket. We transferred a file (a disk image) of 4.73 GB from the first laptop to a second laptop equipped with an Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E chip, but also to a fixed desktop PC located above and connected to a Gigabyte GC card -WBAX200 PCIe with external antenna and upgraded with Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 chip supporting Wi-Fi 6E.
Connected to the 5 GHz band, we got 865 Mb/s download as close to the main module as possible and 791 Mb/s upload. Speeds that are limited by the Gigabit port that our PC is connected to, which acts as a server, since our file transfers have a peak of 111 MB/s. The addition of a 2.5G port would not have been too much, at least for the WAN Port (the one connected to the box).
At point 2 connected to the satellite module we get 524 Mb/s, either in to download or in go up. High speeds despite the absence of a dedicated band for communication between modules. Connected to a module that acts as a repeater, the speeds are reduced by half; which shows that the Halo H80X are capable of saturating their Gigabit port.
At our measurement points 4 and 5, the Halo H80X maintains 427 Mb/s at to download and 338 Mb/s in go up ; Good results.
In the 2.4 GHz frequency band we are close to 300 Mb/s at points 1 and 2, that is, those that are close to the modules. At points 4 and 5, which are further away, speeds remain around 200 Mb/s; excellent results that allow you to enjoy video on demand services and navigate very comfortably.
With its three modules, the Halo H80X perfectly covers our case and is allowed to compete with models like the Amazon Eero Pro 6 in performance and even surpass the Xiaomi Mesh AX3000 that has the same characteristics. With its aggressive price tag, it dwarfs even its parent company’s mesh kits like the TP-Link Deco X60.
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