Going into the review of the Engenius ESR530 smart mesh router, I knew that my 1930s, stone-walled home was going to be about as tough of a test as the system was going to face. The home itself isn’t a large space by normal standards, taking up a little more than 2,000 square feet. But this early 1930s-built Cape Cod styled structure that I call home presents just about every sort of obstacle that makes getting solid, consistent WiFi coverage nearly impossible—stone walls, lots of heavy support beams, old wooden doors, and a networking setup that’s stationed in the basement.
And, to be pretty clear up front, the two-pack of ESR-539s that I got to review are not enough to give us full-blown coverage throughout the entire home. Ideally, I’d have another one of these located somewhere up on our second floor, or one or two of the company’s EMD1 plug-in access points to help extend our WiFi coverage. But in setting the system up and seeing how it did perform in areas of the home it was able to reach, I was pretty impressed with how the Engenius system did work.
Another thing to consider with this style of router, which Is a point very much in its favor, is design. Whereas most routers are nothing more than ugly, techie-looking black boxes, the Engenius routers are somewhat stylish. Though the main access point is hidden in the basement out of necessity, I have no qualms about leaving the living room-based router on the TV stand. It’s out in the open but doesn’t look really that out of place—and it helps with ensuring an uninterrupted dispersion of the signal.