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Networking

Get a whole-home mesh network system for $100

Blanket your place in Wi-Fi for a price that's actually reasonable. Plus: Three lines of unlimited phone service -- also $100!

tenda-nova-mw6

Whole-home mesh networking has rarely been cheaper than with this Tenda 2-pack.

Tenda

Yesterday's headphone deal was incredibly popular: Cheapskate readers scooped up over 1,100 of them in about two hours. If you missed out, or were hoping to score the same deal on the black version, head back to that post for some good news! (Look for "Update #3.")

How's everything at home, Wi-Fi-wise? Pretty good? No complaints? Then maybe skip on down to the bonus deal. Nothing to see here.

If, on the other hand, the coverage is spotty or the speed isn't what you think it should be, it might be time for a new router -- especially if yours is more than a few years old. 

These days, mesh routers are all the rage. They offer fast, blanket coverage of your entire domicile. But, holy moley, have you seen the prices? Many mesh kits start at around $300, with some selling for as much as $500.

That's why today's deal merits attention. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon has the Tenda Nova MW6 whole-home mesh router system for $99.99 shipped. That nets you two access points, which together promise 4,000 square feet of distributed Wi-Fi goodness. (Own a larger home? The MW6 3-pack is on sale for $128.99.)

It works like this: You connect one Tenda Nova cube to your modem, then plug the satellite(s) into electrical outlets wherever you need a signal boost.

You can manage all the network settings via Tenda's mobile app (available for Android and iOS). It shows you all connected devices, lets you set up guest networks and so on.

CNET hasn't reviewed the MW6, and I didn't find a ton of expert coverage elsewhere -- but this Tech Advisor review is worth a look. Perhaps most telling, the product earned a 4.3-star average from about 30 Amazon buyers. (Interestingly, the 3-pack has a 4-star average, but from over 1,000 buyers.) For something like this, I think user reviews are at least as valuable as professional ones, as it's invaluable to learn how it performs in a variety of real-world environments.

If you've been considering a mesh-network option, I've rarely seen anything even remotely this affordable. (My recommendation: Unless your home is really small, spend the extra $29 for the three-pack, just to ensure really robust coverage.)

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: In the never-ending quest for the ultimate (read: Cheapest) mobile plan, there's a new one from Boost Mobile that might be worth a look.

In a nutshell: Three unlimited lines of service for $100 per month. That means unlimited 4G LTE, with mobile video at 480p and music at up to 500Kbps. You also get 20 gigabytes' worth of mobile hotspot (per line!), a pretty generous allotment compared with other carriers.

The only requirement: You must port in at least one number from a carrier other than Sprint (or a Sprint MVNO). Speaking of which, Boost relies on the Sprint network, which may present some challenges in terms of phone compatibility. (Not all unlocked phones will work; make sure to check before signing up.)


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