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Networking & Communications

Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods

Mesh Wi-Fi is becoming quite the trend. Google recently rolled out its mesh-capable router Google WiFi, following in the footsteps of Luma and Eero, and today startup Plume announced that its proprietary “adaptive WiFi” system is available for purchase.

Plume’s system is a “routerless” mesh Wi-Fi system that uses what it calls pods distributed in every room of your house. They cost $69 each, though there are discounts for bulk purchases. Three pods will cost you $179, while six are $329. Plume devices were shipping in three to four weeks at this writing.

Similar to Google WiFi, Plume relies on the cloud as part of its mesh network. Google’s devices monitor your network and use the cloud to determine which band to use, whether the routers should switch to a different channel, and which router individual devices should connect to. 

Plume

Plume uses the cloud to carry out similar efforts such as signal interference, but the company says the system can also smartly handle specific traffic types for an “uninterrupted experience.” We haven’t tested Plume so we can’t comment on how well this scheme actually works.

Each pod supports the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, 2x2 MIMO, 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth Smart Ready. The pods measure 2.5-by-2.3-by-1.3 inches. 

The impact on you at home: As mentioned, Plume is just one of many mesh Wi-Fi networks to roll out recently. In addition to Google WiFi there’s Eero, which is significantly higher priced than Plume but requires fewer devices. A three pack of Eero devices is $499. There’s also Luma, which requires fewer devices than Plume and is priced between Eero and Plume at $299 for three routers. Google WiFi will set you back $129 per unit or $299 for a three pack, just like Luma.

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