What Is Mesh Wi-Fi & What Are Its Advantages?
Mesh Wi-Fi is when a wireless router comes with extra devices, called nodes, which extend your Wi-Fi network. The nodes talk to your centrally located router and your router talks to your nodes, creating a “mesh” of Wi-Fi coverage. It’s a way of extending your wireless network to a large or hard-to-reach area. And unlike a Wi-Fi extender, your mesh Wi-Fi system can be on one single network. As you might imagine, these systems come with significant advantages.
The main reason to buy a mesh Wi-Fi system is to extend coverage over a large area or to cover dead zones created by interior barriers. Wi-Fi can be hindered by things like interior brick walls, other electronics, water, glass, and a host of other things. If you find that some areas of your home are Wi-Fi dead zones, getting mesh Wi-Fi and placing a node nearby can improve coverage. You could put your router in the living room and have nodes in the garage and basement, for example.
More Flexible Internet Usage
Members of your household may want to find a quiet spot in the attic to take a Zoom call. Or work on a presentation in the dining room. Or follow along with a YouTube recipe in the kitchen. With better coverage of your whole home, it’s easier to use the internet from anywhere, for anything.
Most mesh Wi-Fi systems let you buy as many nodes as you like, so you can take a piecemeal approach to bringing mesh Wi-Fi to your home. You could start with a router and a single node. If you notice more dead zones, you can buy additional nodes.
Many mesh Wi-Fi systems have embraced smart home technology. Instead of logging into your router by flipping it over, finding a serial number, and typing that into some site, many mesh Wi-Fi systems come with apps that let you manage your wireless system from your phone. Many also come with tools that help you measure and easily visualize Wi-Fi strength, so you can walk around your home and take easy to understand measurements from every conceivable spot.
It’s also worth noting that some mesh Wi-Fi systems, like Google’s Nest Wi-Fi, come with built-in home speakers.
Wired or Wireless
Most mesh Wi-Fi systems are wireless, meaning that the nodes and router talk to each other over the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio band. However, you can buy mesh Wi-Fi systems that connect with ethernet cabling. If your home is wired with ethernet cable, getting a mesh Wi-Fi system that connects via cable would help improve the ability of the nodes and router to speak with each other.
Your mesh Wi-Fi system also continuously assesses the most efficient way to move data to and from the central router. That means it is always improving and constantly figuring out the fastest and best way to pass data between the router and nodes.
The Big Takeaway
If you need to cover lots of space, want the ability to cover a larger space in the future, have interior barriers and other issues that impact your Wi-Fi, or if you just want a better overall system, mesh Wi-Fi offers many advantages.