The typical router as supplied by your ISP (contrary to their marketing literature), may be of basic quality and give a reasonable Wi-Fi range, but if a few of these are placed in the same areas, as your router, there may be congestion on certain frequency ranges and poor broadband speed or coverage. (Depending on the router and technical experience the frequency range may be changed but may require some specialised knowledge) The Halo H80X is a specialised kit to increase the range and allow a repeater of the signal.
Note: the Halo can only forward the signal going into the building, if the signal is poor at the junction box or default router to Halo, this will not increase this, while if the signal is good coming into the building, in theory, this should spread the signal evenly throughout the building ensuring no black spots or poor coverage in parts of the building. Albeit coverage may depend on the type of construction within the building, large thick concrete walls or tinfoil-backed walls or fireproof doors will diminish signal quality. The Halo will certainly improve this signal, allowing the option to place close to black spots to improve the broadband experience. The location of the Halo is also a key factor in terms of range and quality of the signal, this should be placed as far as practical in an open space away from large metal items or e.g., book cabinet which would diminish the speed dramatically, the app gives a guideline on the best locations for the Halo. The Kit came with a clear specifications called out on the packaging giving full detail of what the kit could do.
Package Contents see unboxing below for more
2× Halo H80X Units
1× RJ45 Ethernet Cable
2× Power Adapters
Quick Installation Guide
Note this comes in a 2 or 3 pack Kit, this review has been using the 2-pack kit, The 3 pack could be used to extend the range further.
- Dual Band WiFi 6 Speeds up to 3000 Mbps – 2402 Mbps on 5 GHz and 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.†
- Seamless Roaming with One Unified Network – Halo units work together to automatically switch between Halos as you move around your home with a single unified WiFi name and password.‡
- Whole Home Coverage – Blanket up to 5,000 ft² (460 m²) with high-speed WiFi, eliminating WiFi dead zones at your home.†
- Connect over 150 Devices – Provide fast and stable connections over 150 devices.†
- Easily Mange Your Home Network – Use the MERCUSYS App to quickly set up and manage your WiFi. You can also manage your kids’ online time and contents.
- Full Gigabit Ports – 3× Gigabit ports per Halo unit for lightning-fast wired connections.**
The one option I always like in a product is the option to reset the system to ensure if issues on the setup etc, you can start from scratch,
- Press 1 second to reset Halo to factory default settings.
The first impression of the instruction guide was disappointing in that there is a manual included, there is one page of instructions in English, this shows a QR code, scanning allowed the app to be downloaded, but this did not give any circuit diagram for network connection. There was a help option, albeit the setup is logical, but would benefit from a basic diagram option to connect the devices.
Suggested setup option via Mercusys support links
1. Turn off the modem, and remove the backup battery if it has one.
2. Connect the modem to either Ethernet port on the router.
3. Power on the router, and wait for it to start.
4. Turn on the modem.
Login the web interface
1. Connect to the main router wirelessly using the default SSID (network name) printed on the main router’s label.
2. Open a web browser and enter the default domain name http://mwlogin.net in the address field to access the web management page.
3. A login window will appear. Create a login password when prompted.
Tips: For subsequent login, use the password you set.
App setup – MERCUSYS app
The app has over 100K+ downloads with a 3.3 star rating out of 5, the setup is standard for app given the functionality.
Android app setting –
There is a variety of different options within the functionality of the app this includes a very useful feature of network optimization. If the unit is used in a highly congested area with a lot of neighbour’s routers on the same frequency the network optimization can pick the best frequency and update as required, this works but does not tell you what frequency it is changed to. Alternatively, if required to blacklist a particular unit, a device can be easily achieved. A very useful feature is the parental controls this allows to prevent access to example over 18 sites or configure individual sites blocked, e.g., Facebook if not be required. This has options as used for a junior person, it may also be used for a child, preteen, or adult blocking social networking downloads blocked. If used in an office environment there is a website category with specific websites that can be blocked, most staff that work in a commercial environment will be aware certain sites are blocked by their local IT department. This can be achieved within the app by updating the website and blocking specific sites example Facebook. Or whatever sites are deemed inappropriate for staff, again for younger generations it could also be used to block specific areas that are not required.
Reporting features are available to give an idea of how much data is being used which can give an indication that may assist in security implications. Within the advanced features, there is a variety of technical settings that configures by specialised, teams. One feature which is quite useful is the LED, the LED can be turned off or set for a night mode to switch off at night-time if the unit is used in a bedroom.
The app has an option to easily see what devices are connected, for example, smartphones, home network laptops etc this is very handy to visually see if something is connected which should not be connected or unexpected, this is similar to having a review of your credit card bills to ensure everything looks in place having a look at your own network to see what’s connected is possibly good practise now and again.
Within the Wi-Fi settings on the app 2.4 GHz 5 giga Hertz functionality can be turned off and, on, the guest, the network can be enabled or disabled. The main network name can be changed, or the password can easily be updated
Compare mobile app (android) vs web link
Typically I would expect to be able to do the same function on the app as the website, ( http://mwlogin.net ) The web login has minimal practical use, in that changes, etc cannot be made only view the setting, Any changes to the network etc allow the guest network to be turned on, parental controls etc is required to be done via the mobile app. This may result in a lot of wasted time if searching on the web link for functionality.
The web link does allow the software to be updated via e.g., a memory stick or via the web.
As part of this techbuzz review, the H80X was set up as above. A speed test was done from various rooms in the house, with all doors closed and no other internet surfing etc turned on
In each room a windows laptop was connected to the initial network and a speed test was run 3 times, Download, Upload speed and latency were tested, the average rate was logged, in the same room the connection was changed to the Mercusys Ax3000 Halo H80X ( network called techbuzz ) and again the speed was tested an averaged from 3 readings, this was done in the rooms below.
Techbuzz speed tests comparison from ISP router to Mercusys Ax3000 Halo H80X (network called techbuzz)
Analysis of the data:
Within the same room as the router (Classed as the Sitting room)
|Tested location||Standard internet provider router||Techbuzz – Mercusys Ax3000 Halo H80X|
|Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Latency (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Latency (ms)|
|Sitting room (router placed)||270||51||13||360||50||14|
The data showed an improvement from 270 Mbps to 360 on the Halo H80X which I believe is down to the app optimisation frequency picking out the best network frequencies or uncongested frequency.
There was no coverage from the ISP router in the indication the Halo expanded the coverage
|Downstairs utility room||Not connect||Not connect||Not connect||11||14||16|
The furthest room has the biggest increase in broadband speed going from initially 12 Mbps to 190 Mbps, and half the latency which would benefit gamers,
|Upstairs furthest bedroom||12||4.1||32||190||47||16|
Additional Test done:
As part of the testing, a windows laptop was connected to the Halo and walked to his furthest part of the drive until reduced coverage. subsequently walked to the back of the garden where the Halo in front would not have coverage, this worked seamlessly on the handover from one Halo to the next without any drop our loss in signal
With the Halo a few minor niggles in terms of the lack of network diagrams, the colour of the White box with a black plug, (I would prefer from aesthetics to have all white or all back colours) The Web app is of little practical use.
Overall, the kit comes with many useful features in terms of, Dual frequency, security, Parental controls, and network optimisation but more importantly for anyone with blackspots / poor Wi-Fi coverage this kit does exactly as described and what it is designed to do as seen on the test results carried out by Techbuzz in a consistence manner and comparison to the ISP equipment.
Technology continues to advance and poor coverage can be fixed by the non-technical with this kit that works as broadband should, a Must for those with Wi-fi blackspots.