Xiaomi Mesh System AX3000 review: An attractive and high-performance mesh wifi 6 kit

The Xiaomi System Mesh AX300 once installed.  ©Digital

The Xiaomi System Mesh AX300 once installed. ©Digital

The Xiaomi Mesh System AX3000 is the first mesh system of the Chinese manufacturer. The latter, however, has some experience since it has been offering Wi-Fi routers and repeaters for several years, the technical sheet of the Mesh System AX3000 being especially interesting with its Wi-Fi 6 at a cumulative speed of 2976 Mb/s and a provided connection, all for just under €150.

Xiaomi’s mesh system modules are identical. So they can be routers, connecting to the box via the blue Ethernet port, or satellites, like a Wi-Fi repeater.

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On the Wi-Fi side, the Mesh System AX3000 is a dual-band model with the 802.11ax standard, Wi-Fi 6 therefore. The 2.4 GHz band can reach a theoretical speed of 574 Mb/s, while the 5 GHz band reaches 2402 Mb/s.
The communication between the modules is done through the 5 GHz band and not on a dedicated band. Therefore speeds are theoretically halved when connected to the module acting as a repeater.

The connection consists of 4 Ethernet ports to the Gigabit standard; one blue port is used exclusively for communication with the internet box (WAN port), while the other three can accommodate all your Ethernet devices (LAN port). A rather rare profusion of ports that deserves to be highlighted: mesh Wi-Fi kits, and even more affordable models, are generally limited to a single LAN port.

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A Mesh sync button, a reset button and a proprietary power socket accompany the 4 RJ45 ports. Two lights on the front let you know the status of the network and services (blue for startup, white for operation, and orange for trouble).

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As for the design, Xiaomi has opted for a matte black plastic block 22 cm high and 9.7 cm square. Instead of placing the connectors and indicator lights on the faces of the block, Xiaomi has integrated them into the edges that also act as ventilation. Status LEDs are on the front and connectors on the opposite edge. The weight of each module is contained (510 g). Compared to their volume, the modules give the impression of a somewhat light construction.

For installation, Xiaomi offers a basic configuration through a web interface that allows you to configure the Mesh system. The customization of the settings then happens with the Xiaomi Home application available on Android and iOS.

Therefore, the physical installation of the first module is done without help. Therefore, it will be necessary to connect your operator box to the blue RJ45 port of one of the two Mesh System AX3000 modules and then connect your power supply.
When the module started, an open Wi-Fi network “Xiaomi_XXXX” should be detected. Simply connect to it and your smartphone or computer will offer to configure your system. The rest of the setup allows you to name the SSID (wifi network name) and add a password. The interface also offers to set the administrator password to access the settings later. Once configured, your mesh system will reboot and the rest of the customization will now be done through Xiaomi’s home automation app (Xiaomi Home).

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The Xiaomi Home app requires the creation of an account. It should automatically offer to add its mesh system to your devices; otherwise it will need to be added manually.

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The proposed adjustments are relatively comprehensive for a consumer product. Among other things, they allow you to choose the transmission power for each band, the channel used or the creation of a “guest” wireless network. However, to access more complex network settings, such as port forwarding, DHCP or adding the identifiers of a possible VPN, you must go through the web interface at the address 192.168.31.1 or router.mihome.com. We regret the absence of real parental control and proper management of devices connected to user profiles.

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Once everything is configured, System Mesh offers a single default SSID for either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band. However, it is possible in the options to separate the two bands into two separate SSIDs, especially if you have connection problems with connected objects, often incompatible with 5 GHz.

To evaluate the performance of the Xiaomi System Mesh AX3000 mesh system, we connected the router to our carrier box to which we connected a laptop via an adapter to the 2.5 Gb/s socket. We transferred a 4.73 GB file (a disk image) from the first laptop to a second laptop equipped with an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 chip, but also to a stationary desktop PC upstairs connected to a Gigabyte GC card. -WBAX200 PCIe with external antenna and upgraded with Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 chip supporting Wi-Fi 6E.

Recorded speeds during a 4.73 GB file transfer © Les Numériques

Recorded speeds during a 4.73 GB file transfer © Les Numériques

In the 5 GHz band, the Xiaomi System Mesh AX3000 reaches an average speed of 808 Mb/s, that is, a transfer rate of 101 MB/s, both receiving and sending. At one meter from the satellite, we got speeds almost in half (427 Mb/s transmit and 361 Mb/s receive). Keep in mind that the wifi card of our fixed PC prefers to connect to the module that offers the best speeds. We thus obtain 620 Mb/s in transmission and 555 Mb/s in reception. At point 5, the farthest, the System Mesh AX3000 allows to obtain speeds of 154 Mb/s in reception and 160 Mb/s in transmission, without instability; perfect for watching content from your favorite video-on-demand platform in 1080p.

Despite these good results, we expected better from this mesh system. With an advertised theoretical speed of 2402 Mb/s on the 5 GHz band, it offers almost the same speeds as Netgear’s Orbi RBK352 kit, which offers 1500 Mb/s on its 5 GHz band.

Recorded speeds during a 4.73 GB file transfer © Les Numériques

Recorded speeds during a 4.73 GB file transfer © Les Numériques

As close as possible to the modules, we obtain values ​​that oscillate around 130 Mb/s, either at the level of the router or the satellite module. The two modules communicate on the 5 GHz band, this explains why the router and the module have more or less the same speeds on the 2.4 GHz band. In our point 5, the speeds drop to 66 Mb/s , however, the connection remains perfectly stable during the 10 minutes it takes to transfer our disk image.

The speeds obtained by the Xiaomi System Mesh AX3000 place it between a kit Netgear NightHawk MK62and a set Netgear Orbi RBK352.

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