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With a weak WiFi signal, downloading, streaming, or playing games can be challenging. The ability to complete tasks can be hampered by sporadic internet. No matter where you are in the house, your digital gadgets should always be connected thanks to a wireless network. Nobody enjoys pacing the house with their tablets or laptops out looking for the best internet signal, after all.

Ever heard of a WiFi network that is seamless? Do you desire broader coverage? Consider installing a whole-home mesh WiFi system if you notice that your wireless internet is inconsistent or nonexistent in some areas of your residence or place of business.

What is a Mesh Router?

Mesh networking devices are decentralized, in contrast to conventional routers, which are single, centralized access points.

Mesh networks, which are made up of numerous Wi-Fi nodes that all offer web connectivity, are built in place of a device connected to a single internet gateway. You might, for instance, have a primary hub in the kitchen with satellite nodes in the bedroom, home office, and kitchen.

Since you immediately connect to the hub when you access the internet in the kitchen, you would connect to a node when you are in your home office, and so on, mesh devices are ideal for bigger homes or offices due to their all-encompassing coverage. Most mesh systems will automatically select the best channels and nodes to avoid dead zones and lower the risk of poor connectivity.

A mesh WiFi system can connect multiple WiFi access points in your home. Once linked, the network coverage expands. It is the answer to eliminating dead zones in your home or workspace.

What is a mesh WiFi network? Where the mesh WiFi system includes multiple routers, a mesh WiFi network refers to your internet network, specifically the singular network that gets extended.

The average WiFi coverage for a traditional router ranges between 150 to 300 feet. The range decreases when indoors. The signal weakens when there are barriers between the digital devices and the network source, i.e. the router. If the router is installed outdoors, the range extends because there aren’t any signal barriers. However, even an outdoor WiFi router has a limited range. That is where a mesh router comes in. But, what is a mesh router?

A mesh router is one of several internet routers that work to rebroadcast your main internet network. With a mesh WiFi router, the internet coverage expands. Stay connected even when you’re in your basement, garage, attic, backyard, or driveway.

Read Also: What to Look For When Buying a Mesh Router?

A mesh network will help boost your internet signal by linking multiple access points, or ”nodes,” together. One access point acts as your internet router, otherwise known as the base station or base node. The base node connects to your internet modem. The remaining nodes act as satellites. They receive internet access from the base mesh WiFi router and rebroadcast that signal to other nodes, thus extending the range of your wireless internet network.

Why do You Need A Mesh Networking System?

1. Improved coverage

The main benefit of a mesh network is extended coverage. Investing in a mesh setup will remove annoyances, such as coverage blackspots or slow connections in larger properties with a lot of square feet. You’re far less likely to have dead zones with a mesh system than you are with a single router access point.

Mesh networks can often cover up to 5,000 sq. ft., and more, with enough satellites. That’s far more than you can expect from one central router.

2. You need a reliable connection, no matter where you are

As your device will connect to the nearest satellite node rather than a central point of access, this feature helps ensure that — no matter where you are in a property — you are less likely to experience connectivity failures or drops. In this manner, mesh networks are particularly useful if you have a home office in a garden area separate from your house, for example. 

Another benefit is that mesh systems and satellites are often designed to look modern, sleek, and may be more discreet than bulky, traditional routers, giving you more options for placement.

3. You want additional controls

Once a mesh network is active, many vendors allow users to control their system through a mobile app. This could include keeping an eye on network traffic, rebooting, or even turning off the internet entirely — perhaps an appealing prospect for those with children who don’t want to mess with a typical router’s configuration. In addition, some mesh networks also act as smart hubs and are compatible with voice assistants. 

A note of warning, however: you may need to spend some time tweaking configuration settings when you first setup a mesh network.

One of the primary benefits of a mesh WiFi system is eliminating dead zones. Even when multiple devices are joined to the same network, you can count on a reliable connection with a strong signal. No more standing in a certain part of the room just to get the most WiFi bars on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Simply set up the mesh router system and boost your WiFi signal.

The streamlined WiFi connection means you won’t have to deal with lag times, whether you’re stationary or on the move. Go from the living room to the opposite end of the house or from the attic to the cellar without experiencing a signal delay or unstable network connection. Jumping from one networked node to the next won’t cause interruption either thanks to the mesh routers broadcasting the same network signal.

If you have a reliable internet service provider, you can keep their service and any modem or router they installed. If that WiFi equipment is compatible with the mesh router system you save money by avoiding new equipment costs. Keeping your current networked equipment can also make ordering future mesh WiFi nodes easier because you already know which router manufacturer to use.

Finally, the most beneficial thing about having a mesh WiFi setup is user-friendly network management. Most mesh networks have easy access by using the mobile app. Use the app to check on internet speeds, add guest networks, test connection quality between nodes, and more.

What Are The Disadvantages of Using a Wi-Fi Router?

The only pitfall of a mesh WiFi system is the cost. When it comes to internet coverage tools, like range extenders, price usually isn’t a concern. A mesh router system, on the other hand, can cost much more than the plug-in extender options. The argument can be made, however, that the long-term utility investment goals make this type of mesh installation worth it.

In many cases, you may be able to keep the internet equipment you have, but, even a dual-router mesh system might be unnecessary for your home. Expanding your WiFi signal to all parts of your home or building will likely result in adding more equipment. The days of using discreet router placement might be over.

If you’re worried about your network security, a mesh WiFi system should ease those fears. Most mesh WiFi routers are designed to automatically update firmware, protecting your data, usage, and connectivity.

There are three key disadvantages of using a traditional Wi-Fi router:

  • Coverage issues: As internet access is distributed through a single point, this setup can mean that areas far away from your router will have slow or spotty connections that drop. Range extenders can help remove this barrier, and while they can still be cheaper than investing in a mesh network, it’s an additional expense. 
  • Overload: Unless extenders or channel separation features are used, too many connections may result in overloading, bottlenecks, lags, and connectivity drops.
  • Tweaking: If you want to tweak the more advanced settings on a router, this can often require annoying visits to a platform via desktop, rather than the seamless mobile app connectivity we have learned to enjoy for many of our modern services. 

Mesh WiFi vs A Router

A standard WiFi router provides a single access point for wireless internet. This traditional WiFi router is used in most homes. Although there is nothing wrong with these routers, that centralized broadcasting point can only reach so far. The signal is somewhat limited depending on the size of the space. Living in a multi-level home or working in a large building creates limitations for the internet signal.

The farther you are from the network access point, the harder it will be to stay connected. The multiple barriers between you and the regular WiFi router weaken the signal strength as well. WiFi range extenders are often recommended for users experiencing signal strength issues. Also referred to as WiFi boosters, WiFi repeaters, or internet signal boosters, these extenders can stretch your wireless network to ranges of 75 to 100 feet or more. However, some of the best WiFi range extenders may require that you create a separate network. That means you would have to manually connect to this separate network each time you are within range of the extender.

A mesh WiFi router works to expand your internet range without requiring you to create a separate network. There’s no need for manual reconnections with a mesh system, even if you move from one end of the house to the other or from the bottom floor to the top. You will remain linked to your home network no matter what room, closet, or hallway you’re in.

Don’t want to swap out your standalone router? Don’t worry, they can be set up as the base station for a mesh networked system. As long as it’s compatible you will not have to replace your current internet equipment. In the long run, the most convenient and money-saving option to tackle and prevent internet dead zones is investing in a mesh WiFi internet setup.

You need to decide whether the financial outlay for a whole mesh network is worth it. In larger homes with dead spots, mesh networking can provide a way to improve your Wi-Fi signal strength and coverage immediately. 

However, it can be expensive to overhaul your existing router setup for a large home. Going for a complete mesh system may be overkill unless you consistently have multiple users and connected devices competing for bandwidth. 

A Wi-Fi extender can be a worthwhile investment instead if you decide to stay with a traditional home router but need to expand coverage.  Some mesh network systems, such as Google Wifi, Netgear Orbi, and Amazon Eero, are relatively cheap to set up if you don’t need too many satellites. 

If you’re the only person using your network and need a stable, powerful internet connection — such as for resource-hungry work applications or gaming — a traditional router and an Ethernet cable may be all you need for reliable and rapid internet access. Wired internet speeds should be quicker than wireless if the connection is working properly, and investing in a simple Ethernet cable, easy to find for no more than $10 or $15, could be enough. This could save you the cost of a complete overhaul. 

Wi-Fi range extenders, too, could be considered an alternative to mesh if you need to boost coverage and throughput in some areas, and they will likely be less expensive than purchasing individual mesh nodes. Some vendors also offer mesh “bolt-ons,” such as Asus’ AiMesh, which creates a mesh-like coverage wireless network without ripping everything out and starting again. However, the downside is that you will probably have to spend some time setting these bolt-ons up and tampering with your router’s configurations.

While both mesh Wi-Fi and extenders will improve the coverage of your home, there are disadvantages to both. 

Mesh systems require investment and the cost can add up quickly, but they provide seamless transitions between Wi-Fi access points dotted around your home. Furthermore, you can rapidly change settings or perform updates via mobile apps. 

Wi-Fi extenders can’t be tweaked so easily. However, they are cheaper and are the best option if you just want to tackle a few dead zones, as you just need to plug one into your main router. Keep in mind that, unlike mesh nodes, Wi-Fi extenders won’t improve congestion or eradicate bottlenecks. 

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