Vodafone launched its SuperWifi broadband deal earlier this year with a guarantee of “wall-to-wall in-home wi-fi coverage or a $100 credit”. In addition, Vodafone promotes SuperWifi as providing users greater control over their home internet.
This souped-up coverage is achieved via mesh wi-fi technology, which while a great option, isn’t something available exclusively to Vodafone customers.
In recent years, mesh wi-fi systems have become an increasingly popular option for many people seeking to bolster their home wi-fi networks. They work by providing multiple wireless connection points throughout a household (rather than via a single router). And there are a range of products available.
So, in the following guide, we take a look at Vodafone SuperWifi and how the deal is structured. Plus we consider what you need to know about mesh wi-fi networks and wi-fi 6 technologies, and the alternative options available to Vodafone’s deal.
Vodafone SuperWifi: What is it and is it Worth the Money? In this article we cover:
- What is Vodafone SuperWifi?
- SuperWifi tech features:
- Additional SuperWifi features
- Mesh wi-fi and wi-fi 6 alternatives
- Should you sign up for Vodafone SuperWifi?
What is Vodafone SuperWifi?
SuperWifi is available to new and existing Vodafone residential customers on an eligible broadband plan. Customers who sign up to an Unlimited Broadband or Wireless Broadband 600GB plan on a 12-month term have the opportunity to redeem two customised TP-Link Deco X20 mesh devices.
These devices (which Vodafone advises are priced at $449) are provided at no upfront cost, and come as part of the standard price of the broadband plan. However, you need to stay on the eligible plan for 24 months, as fees apply if your plan or billing account is cancelled or transferred within this period.
Vodafone says that once connected, if a customer doesn’t believe they have wall-to-wall coverage, it will work with them for up to 30 days to ensure their coverage reaches every room. This support potentially includes:
- Phone support
- Remote network speed tests
- One additional SuperWifi node provided at no additional cost
- An in-home visit from a Noel Leeming Tech Solutions technician to optimise the customer’s SuperWifi set-up
Following this, if a customer is still not happy, Vodafone says that it will credit $100 to their broadband account.
SuperWifi tech features: Mesh wi-fi and wi-fi 6
The two headline technological features of Vodafone’s SuperWifi offering are mesh wi-fi and wi-fi 6. When weighing up what’s best for your household, it’s worthwhile gaining an understanding of how these two technologies work and the benefits they can provide.
Mesh wi-fi systems comprise a router, and a number of additional access points (often referred to as nodes), which can be positioned around a household to boost wi-fi coverage. This helps to eliminate wi-fi dead zones that a router operating on its own might not be able to cover.
Essentially, mesh wi-fi systems broadcast a wi-fi signal from multiple points (each separate node). Unlike wi-fi extenders, which pick up a router’s wi-fi signal and then repeat it, creating a second wi-fi connection, mesh wi-fi creates a single network. This allows connecting devices to automatically switch between nodes, for a more seamless experience.
Vodafone’s TP-Link Deco X20 devices work in conjunction with an existing modem/router. One DecoX20 unit plugs directly into the modem/router. Then users are able to create a new wi-fi network via the TP-Link Deco app, positioning additional units around a household to expand coverage.
The TP-Link Deco X20 devices use wi-fi 6 technology. Vodafone states this ensures newer wi-fi 6-compatible devices get the “best in-home experience possible”.
Wi-fi 6 is the latest wi-fi standard. It delivers a range of performance upgrades over previous standards, including faster speeds and an improved network performance.
New-release devices increasingly incorporate the wi-fi 6 standard. And as more and more wireless devices make their way into households, it’s set to be increasingly harnessed to bolster home networks.
Additional SuperWifi features
Along with the TP-Link Deco X20 devices, SuperWifi customers receive free access to the TP-Link HomeCare suite of services for up to three years, providing for greater control over their home internet.
Additional SuperWifi features include:
- Easy setup – the TP-Link Deco app walks users through set-up step-by-step
- Parental controls – allows users to limit online time and block inappropriate content, with profiles for each family member
- Anti-virus protection – keeps network devices safer
- A unified network – a whole-home network auto-selects the best connection for users as they move around their home
- Device prioritisation – allows users to choose which devices have higher priority on their network
- Expert support – delivered via Vodafone’s team of remote and in-home experts
Mesh wi-fi and wi-fi 6 alternatives
Of course, many broadband providers supply equipment with their plans, which is typically available at a one-off cost when signing up for a plan, or for free when committing to a plan over a set period of time.
Consumers, however, might not be keen on committing to a plan for the long term. Or they may want to kit out their home network with specific types and brands of equipment (often referred to as BYO devices).
If you’re keen on buying a mesh wi-fi and/or wi-fi 6 router for your home network, it’s certainly worthwhile shopping around and considering your options. Both in terms of the devices available and the broadband plans on offer from various providers.
There is a large range of mesh wi-fi systems available, at varying price points. So before signing up to Vodafone SuperWifi, it’s worthwhile researching the different mesh wi-fi systems on offer, and to consider them in the context of your household’s needs.
Should you sign up for Vodafone SuperWifi?
If you’re after trouble-free, wi-fi connectivity in your home and are happy to sign up and pay for the same deal for two years, then Vodafone’s wi-fi could be for you. Especially given Vodafone’s $100 guarantee as an added sweetener.
However, it’s worth understanding what you’re signing up for. It’s important to weigh up all the different router options and the types of features on offer. And could the one-off purchase of your own mesh wi-fi tech be a more flexible option?
This is especially pertinent since the demands on home networks are always growing, while broadband plans are constantly dropping in price.
The major caveat of Vodafone’s offer is that if you break your contract within the 24-month term of the SuperWifi deal, you have to pay the remaining balance on the TP-Link Deco X20 mesh devices. This applies if you:
- Cancel your broadband plan
- Transfer or re-sign to an ineligible broadband plan
- Require a change of ownership of your billing account
The cost of the mesh devices works out at approx $18.70 per month over the life of the contract, which could work out quite pricey, should you terminate with months left on your contract.
Finding the best and fastest broadband plans
Ultimately, if you’re after the fastest broadband deal, it’s always worth doing a little research. To help you get a clearer picture of broadband providers in NZ, Canstar Blue rates all the big providers in the market annually. We survey thousands of broadband customers and ask them to score their providers across categories including Value for Money, Network Performance and Customer Service.
Canstar Blue’s 2020 review of NZ internet providers compares NOW, 2degrees, Bigpipe, Contact, MyRepublic, Orcon, Skinny, Slingshot, Spark, Stuff Fibre, Trustpower, Vodafone and Voyager, and awards the best our 5 Star rating:
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in March 2020, published in April 2020.
See Our Ratings Methodology
The table above is an abridged version of our full research, so to find out more about NZ’s best broadband providers, just click on the big button at the bottom of this story.