Nokia’s Beacon 1 is a new mesh Wi-Fi router system that’s meant as a budget alternative to the company’s debut Beacon 3 from last year. The new Beacon 1 router is available today for a starting price of $129 for a single base station, compared to $199 for the existing Beacon 3.
Although both routers support the 802.11ac standard, the Beacon 1 is limited to slower AC1200 speeds compared to the Beacon 3’s AC3000. However, it’s got a couple of features which Nokia claims should allow it to make the most of its available bandwidth. An Intelligent Channel Selection feature is designed to allow it to choose the best channel and band to avoid interference from other local devices, and it’s able to identify devices on your network, and optimize their connection accordingly. For example, it could prioritize bandwidth for a 4K TV that’s streaming Netflix on your home network.
Nokia’s mesh Wi-Fi products face some stiff competition from the likes of the Amazon-owned Eero and Netgear’s Orbi. Both of these systems now feature a tri-band system which adds a second 5GHz band to reduce interference between devices, but Nokia’s Beacon is currently only capable of dual-band communication. Additionally Netgear says that it plans to launch a Wi-Fi 6 compatible mesh Wi-Fi system this year.