This Halo Mesh Network Will Blanket Your Home With Superfast Wi-Fi

Having dead areas around the home where it’s impossible to get a Wi-Fi signal is something that most of us have probably experienced if we live anywhere larger than a small studio apartment. If you’re very lucky, your telecoms provider may have included Wi-Fi boosters as a part of your Internet package. However, for most of us, areas of dead Wi-Fi require action to extend home Wi-Fi coverage so that, no matter if you’re in the garden or kids are playing in their rooms, everyone can get a strong signal to enjoy the Internet wherever they are.

There are s number of solutions to this problem and one increasingly popular method is a mesh network. A wireless mesh drapes a net of W-Fi coverage over your whole home by using a series of small repeater access points placed in strategic locations. All the satellites can talk with each other and they work in concert to relay data back to the main router. Mesh networks can vary considerably in price and they all do much the same thing, but some work better than others. Some have lots of bells and whistles that you may not even need.

I recently came across what is probably the most inexpensive mesh network system that I’ve ever seen. The Mercusys Halo S12 three-pack provides three satellite wireless access points and creates a self-healing network over an area sufficient to cover an area of 2,800ft² (260 m²) which is the floor area of a good-sized house or large apartment. What’s more, you can add extra Halo S12 satellites to increase coverage whenever you like.

Setting up the Mercusys Halo S12 was an absolute breeze. I plugged the main unit into the electricity using the supplied power adapter and then connected it to my Internet router using an Ethernet cable supplied in the box. If your router also has wireless built-in, it’s a good idea to turn it off once you’ve set the mesh network up as this can free up the wireless spectrum and leave all the bandwidth and channels for the Halo S12 to use.

Adding the two extra Halo S12 units was as easy as pressing a button on the main unit and on the satellite, and then waiting for them to say hello, shake hands and connect. A light on the front of each device shows when everything is done and ready to go. That’s all there is to it. Unlike more expensive mesh systems, there’s no smartphone app to install. However, if you want to add a wireless security password and change settings, including parental controls, that is done by logging into a web server built into the Halo S12. You can use the browser on your smartphone or computer to do this.

The mesh that the Mercusys Halo S12 creates is dual band. This means both the 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless bands are used. The 2.4 GHz is great for distance but not as fast as 5GHz. The drawback with 5 GHz is the signal doesn’t travel as far as 2.4GHz and can’t penetrate thick walls quite as well. However, 5GHz is very fast and the wireless spectrum isn’t as crowded as that of the 2.4GHz band. 

By combining the two bands in one Wi-Fi signal you get the best of both worlds and this standard is called AC1200. The Halo S12 uses the 5GHz waveband for a “backhaul”. This means it sctd as the main wireless backbone for relaying data from the satellite units back to the main wireless point connected to the Internet router. The Halo S12 also includes MU-MIMO, technology which means it can serve more wireless clients or devices at the same time and does so more efficiently. Still with me? Good. 

Some mesh networks can also use an Ethernet connection as a backhaul. Sadly, most of us don’t have homes wired for Ethernet, but many offices do and it’s a useful backup for a mesh network. Unfortunately, the Halo S12 system doesn’t have an Ethernet backhaul option. For this reason, it’s important where the Halo’s satellite units are positioned around the home. Place them too close to the main wireless access point and you won’t get the widest possible coverage as the signals will overlap too much. Place them too far away from each other and the transfer speeds will drop off. Fortunately, the Halo S12 system helps guide you through the setup process with a flashing light that warns if the units are too close or too far away from each other.

Each Halo S12 unit is a small, white, translucent cube about the size of a small bedside alarm clock radio. The units are incredibly light and wouldn’t look out of place dotted around the home on bookshelves. At the rear of each Halo there are a couple of Ethernet ports. The main Halo unit uses one of the ports for connecting to the Internet router. The second port can be used for connecting any device with an Ethernet port, such as a printer or a NAS drive. Those Ethernet ports are very useful. For example, not all smart TVs have Wi-Fi built in, so using an Ethernet cable to connect a TV to a Halo S12 satellite cube is an easy way to solve that problem.

For anyone who has visitors to stay in their home the Halo S12 has a built-in guest network feature that can be set up to give guests access to the Internet without letting them anywhere near your private home network. This is a great feature for someone running a guesthouse, café or a small business. A quick glance through the Halo S12 user guide shows that the Halo S12 also has lots of advanced networking features that can easily compete with some of the best networking equipment on the market. 

As I already said, there’s no smartphone app to use with the Mercusys Halo S12. If you want to change any of the settings, you need to launch a web browser and then type in an IP address printed on the cube to connect to a web server inside the Halo S12. This is necessary for turning on wireless security and making any other changes. It’s not difficult to do and instructions are provided in the box. Even so, this brilliant little mesh system would be even more user-friendly if it also had a smartphone app for setting up and making changes.

In terms of signal coverage and data throughput, I couldn’t fault the Mercusys Halo S12. It managed to consistently reach the maximum download speeds of my broadband router and the signal covered my entire home, even managing to penetrate some thick stone walls. The signal was incredibly robust thanks to beamforming technology. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Halo S12 performed for what must be one of the most inexpensive wireless mesh systems on the market. 

I have tried to find out a bit more about Mercusys as it’s not a well-known brand. It has a strong TP-Link look about it. TP-Link is a great mid-range brand of network gear such as wireless routers, switches, Wi-Fi extenders and the excelling Deco mesh networks. I have a suspicion that Mercusys is a budget offshoot that shares a lot of DNA with TP-Link. No matter, the technology is great and the Halo S12 system works like a charm.

Verdict: If you are looking for a super-affordable dual-band mesh network system to extend Wi-Fi coverage over your whole home, you simply can’t do better than the Mercusys Halo S12. I love this little system with its self-healing network and ease of use. It can be up and running in minutes and provides blanket Wi-Fi coverage for most homes. I’d recommend locating a satellite unit on each storey as that provides the best coverage with the shortest backhaul distance. Setting up a mesh in a single-story home can require longer transmission distances between satellite units and then there’s some inevitable drop off in speed. When it comes to value for money, the Mercusys Halo S12 mesh network simply can’t be beaten.

Pricing: £59.50 / €79.90 

More info:


  • DHCP: Server, Address Reservation, DHCP Client List
  • Port forwarding: Virtual Server, UPnP, DMZ, Port Triggering
  • Management Access Control, Local Management, Remote Management
  • Protocols: IPv4, IPv6
  • Guest network: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Guest Network
  • Ethernet ports: 2 10/100 Mbps ports per Halo unit (WAN/LAN auto-sensing)
  • Button: Pair button, Reset button
  • External power supply: 9V/0.85A
  • Dimensions (W X D X H): 3.5 × 3.5 × 3.5 in (88 × 88 × 88 mm)
  • Wireless standards: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
  • Mesh protocol: 802.11k/v
  • Signal rate: 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, 867 Mbps on 5 GHz
  • Transmission power: 2.4 GHz: <20dBm(EIRP), 5 GHz: <23dBm(EIRP)
  • Wireless functions: Enable/Disable Wireless Radio, Wireless Statistics
  • Wireless security: WPA2-PSK + AES
  • WAN type: Dynamic IP/Static IP/PPPoE/PPTP/L2TP

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