Tenda MW6 Nova Wave 2 Home Wi-Fi System 2020 Detailed Review.
Tenda MW6 Nova Wave 2 Home Wi-Fi System: Wi-Fi has come a long way in 20 years. The first 802.11 protocol formalizing wireless communication specifications was released in 1997. At the time, it only provided a maximum 2 megabit per second link speeds, glacially slow by modern standards. Over many years and many revisions, Wi-Fi grew from a slow, unreliable networking option of last resort into a blazing fast protocol essential to most of our electronics.
Solutions involving multiple wireless access points have traditionally been complicated to configure with the potential for dropping devices or causing slow performance. The Nova MW6 True-Mesh Whole Home Wi-Fi System looks to solve this problem.
Nova MW6 Overview and Specifications
Tenda’s MW6 Nova Wave 2 True Mesh Whole Home Wi-Fi System consists of three pre-configured wireless access points. Each unit is a tiny cube measuring just 3.1 inches on each side and only weighs 0.9 pounds.
Aesthetically, the Nova cubes are clean, plain white with a grid pattern on each side creating the look of four smaller squares on each cube face. The two-gigabit ports, power port, and reset button are located underneath the cube in an indentation with a notch for cables to pass through.
Four rubber feet keep the cube slightly elevated and allow airflow to pass through the vent holes on the underside. A small LED on top shines blue for a strong connection, yellow for a fair connection, and magenta for a poor connection.
While some people may wonder and ask what they are, the Nova’s small size and clean look certainly appear less obtrusive with more elegant styling than the black boxes with flashing lights and antennas from other manufacturers. This focus on design in addition to technology is a nice touch from Tenda and shows understand that people will need to place access points at different locations in their homes.
Each MW6 Nova cube has two Ethernet ports. On the primary port, these function as WAN and LAN while on the additional mesh points both functions as LAN. This can prove helpful to plug in a remote device that has Ethernet capabilities, like a smart TV or gaming console, for improved signal strength.
The Nova’s each have 2 3dBi external dual-band antennas and support 802.11 ac/a/n on the 5 Gigahertz band and 802.11 b/g/n on the 2.4 Gigahertz band. 2.4 GHz enables a theoretical maximum transfer of 300 Megabits per second while 5 GHz increases that to 867 Megabits per second. It is rare if not impossible to actually achieve these speeds, but it’s what the protocols are capable of in a theoretically perfect situation.
Additionally, the Nova devices support simultaneous dual-band transmission, beamforming, and 802.11 v/r. Even if you’re familiar with Wi-Fi, you may not have come across some of these specifications. 802.11r utilizes a feature known as Fast Basic Service Set Transition, or FT, to allow devices to authenticate more quickly between access points on the same network.
Installation and Usage
Though you can directly connect to the Nova for advanced configuration, this type of setup is usually best left to IT professionals. Tenda knows you may not have advanced IT experience and has designed the Tenda Wi-Fi app, available for Android and iOS, to get you networking like a pro.
First, all three units in the package come pre-configured to work together. Once we unpacked the box and plugged each device in, we were able to configure everything else right from the smartphone app. Honestly, though we usually prefer the manual configuration route, this worked so well we saw little reason to do it the hard way.
After adding all three mesh hot spots we could monitor total network upload and download rates, view all connected devices, and set user access and parental controls. As an added bonus, the app works even when you’re away from your home network.
Pros and con
Tenda nova MW6 has the following positives:
- Easy to set up (the nodes are paired by the manufacturer)
- Low price
- It can be remotely controlled from anywhere on the internet
- It is integrated with Amazon Alexa
There are also important downsides to consider:
- Updating the firmware can be a frustrating experience
- The Tenda WiFi mobile app requests access to personal data it should not have access to
- High variability when transferring data through WiFi
- Low-quality bandwidth management which leads to network clients getting disconnected temporarily
- It cannot reach more than 700 Mbps on Ethernet connections
In the past, Wi-Fi configuration and security was best left to those with more IT experience. Logging into a router interface to adjust settings and security policies is enough to scare most average users. This hesitation only gets magnified with more complex configurations involving multiple pieces of network hardware.
Tenda’s MW6 Nova system demystifies the WI-Fi experience and ensures simple coverage even for larger homes. By pre-pairing the Nova units and utilizing an intuitive app for setup, Tenda makes advanced home networking something even a child or novice user could easily accomplish.