My take on Plume wifi mesh networking after nearly 2 years of use.

I want to start off by saying that the support staff at Plume( are first class.  I’ve submitted a variety of tickets asking questions ranging from pod signal strength to algorithm questions and they have always been very helpful.

My take is on my pre super pod setup although I’ll discuss the super pods at the end since I’ve added 2 of them to my setup since Plume announced them.

I started out by buying one of the 3 pod setups Plume offered and running it in parallel with an Asus AC1900 router.  I have a 2 story house with a basement and the cable modem is located in the basement so my main backhaul(wired) pod and the router were both located in the basement.  I had one non wired(satellite) pod on the main floor in the middle of the house and the other satellite pod on the top floor in the middle of the house.

I initially ignored what Plume had said about needing a pod in every room so I was initially underwhelmed with my results compared to my old AC1900 setup.  If I was in a room near the main floor or basement pod then the speeds were great but if I moved 30 feet or more away from a pod then the speeds dropped off alot.  

One of the main reasons I moved to this setup was to increase my range upstairs since my AC1900 router was in the basement and I had really spotty access up there.  Once again if I was near the pod I would get pretty good speed but not the same speed I could achieve on the main floor or the basement.

One really cool thing about Plume is that they have an awesome iOS application that provides alot of insight into how they are mapping your pods.  I quickly realized that you want to do your best to keep the hops from your hardwired pod(s) to your satellite pods to one hop in order to get better speeds.  My current setup was two hops(hardwired basement pod -> main floor pod -> upstairs pod) so I needed to make some modifications.  

At this point I could have just shelved it and sold everything but I decided instead to invest in three more pods to see if I could improve things.  Since I realized the key to getting ideal speeds was reducing the hops to the wired pods, I ran some ethernet cable up to my main floor in two spots and kept the current setup I had.  So I now had three hard wired pods and three non wired pods. One wired pod was in the basement and two of the other pods were spread out across the main floor.  One of the non wired pods was on the main floor and the other two were upstairs.  I also turned off the Asus AC1900 as well because I wasn’t sure if it was interfering with the pods.  

Once I moved to this setup everything improved substantially.  I was getting 500Mbps in most of the house but there was one or two places I still wasn’t getting decent access so I bought one last pod and that got me pretty much where I wanted to be.  The key word being “pretty much”.

One really useful feature that Plume added to their mobile app in the last year was how strong the signal was between pods.  You have 4 ranges(excellent, good, fair, and poor) which can provide you with alot of feedback as to whether you have placed one of your pods in a good location or not.  Every night(or when you unplug a pod or two) Plume will run an optimization on your network to try and improve these signals(key word being try).  I have moved pods around to spots in my house that I thought would improve the signal but actually made it worse.  I’m still trying to figure out what constitutes a good spot or a bad spot but I know that you want to keep the pods away from things with motors such as ceiling or oscillating fans.  You also want to move them away from any electrical interference such as your TV or stereo as well.  Another thing that comes into play is the number of other wi-fi signals in your area as well.

With all these things coming into play, I imagine its pretty hard to get things  perfect but it’s definitely better than my single AC1900.  It’s also a good bit more expensive, though.