Is your Wi-Fi failing to reach all areas of your home, business, or property? It can be frustrating and costly to have your signal drop off when you need connectivity to accomplish work or stay in touch. Fortunately, there are several means of increasing your Wi-Fi and the number of devices it can support without creating performance issues. These methods include extenders, routers and mesh networks. An extender can be installed that amplifies your existing Wi-Fi network’s range, you can purchase a second wireless router to use as a repeater or a separate network or you can utilize a mesh Wi-Fi system. These systems are relatively simple to install for the average person.
Is your Wi-Fi failing to reach all areas of your home, business, or property? It can be frustrating and costly to have your signal drop off when you need connectivity to accomplish work or stay in touch. Fortunately, there are several means of increasing your Wi-Fi and the number of devices it can support without creating performance issues. These methods include extenders, routers and mesh networks. An extender can be installed that amplifies your existing Wi-Fi network’s range, you can buy an additional wireless router to use as a repeater or a separate network or you can utilize a mesh Wi-Fi system. These systems are relatively simple to install for the average person.
Unlike traditional Wi-Fi routers which require the owner to set up and manage multiple separate networks, mesh routers effectively allow multiple units to perform as a single network with consistent connection speeds. Any device within the network’s range can automatically connect to the mesh node and router band which is most appropriate to ensure uninterrupted service based on which node provides the strongest signal. Your mesh network will allow you to enjoy Wi-Fi in rooms and locations that may currently be inaccessible with your existing wireless router, and it will do so far more efficiently than other comparable methods.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems offer a number of important advantages over typical wireless routers and network extenders, but you may be gaining coverage by sacrificing overall bandwidth strength. Each time your mesh Wi-Fi network “hops” from one node to another, it reduces your bandwidth by half. Users may find that nodes at the furthest end of the hop will experience occasional problems with being unable to connect to the internet or accessing local servers.
An excess of nodes may also lead to notable decreases in latency (a delay in the transfer of data), and can create an unacceptable impact on certain applications, including streaming of both audio and video content as well as VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol. However, several means are available to reduce the number of hops, including creating point-to-point network shortcuts, installing a reliable core network from the beginning with connection testing and preplanned layout, and using multiple smaller clusters which go to a centralized area.
Even if you aren’t a “techy,” setting up a mesh network can be quite simple. Mesh Wi-Fi systems capable of covering 5,500 square feet can be installed in three easy steps: turn on the router, create an overall network name and an administrator account, then wait for three minutes.
You will barely lift a finger, yet you will enjoy a significant improvement in the range of your home network. Mesh systems come with a companion management app that allows you to install and monitor your new mesh network with ease.
Mesh networks include built-in routers that come equipped with one to five bands, with each arrangement being increasingly more powerful than the last. Most mesh networks sold in the United States are composed of one to three bands, both the 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz band as well as a band for conventional Wi-Fi.
The 5.0Ghz band typically provides faster broadband over shorter distances, while the 2.4Ghz band sends signals over longer distances but has a slower overall signal. While they cost more, some mesh Wi-Fi systems come with an additional network installed which is purpose built to send internet traffic between the primary mesh router receiving the actual internet connection and your satellite nodes. This helps create a smooth and consistent internet connection.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems are available in a variety of price ranges and come equipped with a wide variety of units and capabilities. Some systems allow users to connect an impressive number of routers, extenders and mesh routers into a single massive network with as many bands and nodes as you need. Features may include the ability to self-heal connections if nodes fail or drop, the ability to move about around your home or business without worrying about dropped connections, and automatically switching bands in the event of congestion. Mesh routers give you the ability to add to your system at the freedom of your own budget and desires rather than having to buy everything at once. You can setup your perfect mesh Wi-Fi system without sacrificing signal strength or speed.
eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi 5 Tri-Band System (3-Pack)
Google Nest Wi-Fi
TP-Link Deco X20 AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (3-Pack)
Netgear Orbi RBKE963 Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System
Whether you are interested in the ability to manage a greater number of devices on a single network, gain more network coverage, or simplify your Wi-Fi setup, mesh routers are an excellent way to do so. Be sure to check if your existing devices are compatible with the mesh router you intend to purchase since many smart home devices require a 2.4 GHz bandwidth to function correctly.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.