Wireless network performance
First, let's take a look at the apartment that was used in our testing and how it is set up. You can see that the central Tenda nova MW6 hub is placed in the living room. When using wireless routers, the signal strength is not that high in rooms like the Kitchen and the Medium balcony. To improve the coverage of the network, we placed the second Tenda nova hub in the Big Bedroom. As a result, the Medium balcony should benefit from more stable WiFi. Then, the third hub was placed near the entrance to the Kitchen, to improve the coverage there too.
Our testing was done using a fast 1 Gigabit Internet connection that is capable of uploads on the internet of up to 500 Mbps. We used an HP Spectre 13 laptop for our measurements.
We started by evaluating the 2.4 GHz wireless network and measured the signal strength offered in each room, using a tool named NetSpot Pro. As you can see below, nova MW6 delivered the best signal strength in all the rooms from our test apartment, which is an encouraging start.
Then, we used SpeedTest to see how fast the internet connection is when using the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency. Tenda nova MW6 delivered fast downloads, without being the fastest mesh system in our comparison.
When measuring the upload speed, the performance offered by Tenda nova MW6 was average.
For the next measurements, we used the PassMark Performance test to transfer data between two computers connected to the network, using the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency. Tenda nova MW6 delivered good speeds, without being a speed champion.
When it comes to the upload speed, Tenda nova MW6 was underwhelming.
When using the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency, Tenda nova MW6 is outperformed by competing systems with relatively similar hardware. Its upload speed tends to be a weak spot.
Next, we analyzed the performance offered by the 5GHz wireless network. First, we looked at the evolution of the signal strength, from room to room. Again, Tenda nova MW6 was a great performer in this regard, delivering the best signal strength in all rooms.
We then ran SpeedTest to see how fast the internet connection is on the 5GHz band. To see the maximum potential of Tenda nova MW6, we used the world's only PCI-E network card with support for 4x4 MU-MIMO. When we used this network card, we obtained a maximum speed of 409.77 Mbps for the download, and 320.93 Mbps for the upload. It is not a bad result, but other mesh systems delivered faster speeds.
For more down-to-earth results, we also measured the download speed with SpeedTest, in every room of our test apartment, using our HP Spectre 13 test laptop. Tenda nova MW6 was not the speed champion, but it managed to deliver more constant speeds across the whole apartment than other mesh WiFi systems.
A similar trend was noticed when looking at the upload speed offered by Tenda nova MW6.
For the last measurements on the 5GHz wireless network, we used the PassMark Performance test to transfer data between two computers connected to the network. The download speed offered by Tenda nova MW6 was underwhelming in all rooms.
When looking at the upload speed, Tenda nova MW6 performed slightly better.
Tenda nova MW6 is no speed champ when using the WiFi on the 5 GHz wireless frequency. Other mesh systems tend to outperform it.
Wired network performance
To test the quality of the wired Ethernet connection, we used a desktop PC equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor, running at 3.20GHz, 16GB of RAM, a fast Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SSD, and a Lenovo IdeaCentre 610s mini PC.
We measured the speed of the internet connection when using a 1 Gbps Ethernet cable, using SpeedTest. Tenda nova MW6 was not capable of reaching more than 700 Mbps per second for the download speed. However, it got close to the maximum of 500 Mbps that our internet connection can deliver for the upload speed.
Then, we ran a network transfer between the two computers, each connected with an Ethernet cable to a different nova MW6 node. Since the stations were connected to each other wirelessly, the transfer was mediated through WiFi. We used PassMark Performance test for this measurements. As you can see, Tenda nova MW6 was the fastest mesh system in our comparison.
Tenda nova MW6 is not capable of delivering 1 Gbps Ethernet connections, because the processing capabilities of its hardware limit it.
Managing Tenda nova MW6 is done only from the Tenda WiFi mobile app. This app offers some extra features, but not many. Here they are:
- QoS - a limited Quality of Service feature that you can only turn on and off. When you turn it on, it does help you deliver more stable connections to all network clients, including when large network transfers are in progress. However, you cannot set any prioritization rules of any kind.
- Guest Network - you can enable one guest network, set a different access password for it, and how long a guest can remain connected to the network.
- Parental Control - a simple service that allows you to set time limits for accessing the internet. It isn't much of a parental control if you ask us.
- Fast roaming - it allows Tenda nova MW6 stations to hand over clients when they move around the house quickly.
- Capacity-oriented Mode - this mode is supposed to help when your network has more than 30 clients that are connected to the WiFi at one time. Tenda does not explain how it works and what this service does.
- Smart Assistant - when this feature is turned on, it connects your devices to the 2.4 GHz wireless band, for 30 minutes, to help you discover and install smart devices that work only on this wireless frequency. This feature should not be needed on a proper wireless network.
- Port forwarding - a port forwarding feature that you can configure with ease.
- UPnP - a Universal Plug and Play feature that helps you automatically enable ports for compliant programs.
- Amazon Alexa - if you use Alexa, you can control Tenda nova MW6 through voice commands like: "Alexa, what's my WiFi password."
The extra features offered by Tenda nova MW6 are underdeveloped when compared to mesh WiFi systems from other manufacturers.
What is your opinion of the Tenda nova MW6?
Now you know our opinion about the Tenda nova MW6 mesh WiFi system, how it performed in our testing. If you already have this system at home, do not hesitate to share your experience in a comment below. Other readers surely want to know your opinion.