Mesh Wi-Fi networks have grown in popularity as consumers are wary of low-bandwidth transmissions, clumsy user interfaces, and complicated networking solutions that frequently require the help of a professional. In this Mesh Wi-Fi Guide, we answer the frequently asked questions regarding ‘How does Mesh Wi-Fi work?’ to help you decide on whether it is worth purchasing or help you set it up through our ‘Procedural steps to make Mesh Wi-Fi work’.
What Is a Mesh Wi-Fi Network?
Mesh networks provide speedy Wi-Fi coverage by sharing your network across various devices and span an area bigger than what most traditional routers cover. As more and more of our workspaces and homes become reliant on stable and efficient internet connections, technology also has evolved to accommodate our changing needs. Therefore, when it comes to large-scale networking solutions, it simply does not get any more convenient than mesh networks. They provide various additional features than those present in traditional routers and offer a much wider scope of applications.
How Does Mesh Wi-Fi Work?
Instead of traditional Wi-Fi networks that use access points or gateways to relay information through routers or Wi-Fi extenders, a mesh network relies on a different device known as the ‘node’. Each node comes with its own set of firmware and signal transmitters that lets it communicate with other connected nodes on the network.
A Small History
This technology is not exactly new, as it was first found in military experiments from the 1980s, but it was only formalized in the late 2010s after we fixed the limitations in its early iterations and improved our understanding of the radio wave spectrum. This interconnected web of nodes removes the need for central coordination in the network and lets each node configure itself and easily relay data. On most mesh Wi-Fi networks; this is done through dynamic routing.
The Ability to Reroute Data Packets
Dynamic routing allows a node to figure out the quickest route to take for transferring a packet of data from your computing device to the router. Different devices in your home or workspace will use different node routes to relay their information. It also allows the network to be as fast and stable as possible, regardless of where you are within the network.
This is something that alternatives such as Wi-Fi range extenders cannot accomplish. Moreover, it allows your entire network to be self-healing as in case of a network emergency or failure, the nodes will reconfigure their routes when one of them fails. If the destination module fails, you will immediately be notified through the included smart app that comes with your Wi-Fi mesh network.
A lot of this process happens automatically in the background, along with radio modulation and routing changes that make sure that your internet connectivity is always at its best. Routing is also further enhanced since Mesh Networks don’t just rely on two radio wavebands (namely 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz). They also comprise dual-band varieties for local networks, where they can use the 5.0Ghz band solely to connect with other nodes. This separation of inter-device communication and internet connectivity leads to a much better network output in terms of stability and speed.
Powering Your Network
Due to the interconnected nature of how nodes work, only one of them needs to be connected to a power supply for the entire network to be online. Most nodes come with ethernet ports and the ability to power other devices on the network such as surveillance cameras, servers, and more through power over ethernet (PoE) technology. This helps you save extra wiring and costs on your network.
In a sense, the entire internet works like a Mesh Network, because data packets bounce from one router to the next through optimal routes to reach their final destination. The reason we use terminology like cloud and the web is because there are millions of different pathways that the data can take.
How Is Mesh Wi-Fi different from a Wi-Fi Extender?
The purpose of a Wi-Fi extender is to only extend your main router’s internet signal, while a Wi-Fi mesh network allows you to create your very own network. When using extenders, you will get separate networks with different SSIDs and Passwords for your router and your extenders, such as ‘Home Wi-fi’ and ‘Home Wi-fi Extender’. This leads to the hassle of manually switching between networks and you losing out on signal strength, outside of the extender range.
In comparison, the nodes in a Wi-Fi Mesh network do not need to follow a centralized sequence of sending data back to the router and can dynamically route data in the fastest possible sequence. This is because all of the nodes in a mesh network are connected, whereas wireless extenders cannot communicate with other extenders. This connectivity is also what allows mesh networks to be managed easily through the aid of a custom app, rather than separately plowing through the complicated settings of your traditional router and extender. The app provides many features that a traditional extender simply doesn’t.
A Guide for Easy Configuration
This part of the article is a procedural guide to make Mesh Wi-Fi work. The majority of mesh routers are simple to install and set up. Connecting to one central mesh node through the instructions on the provided app will allow you to instantly connect to all of the satellites on a network.
Read more about “2021 Guide to Mesh Wi-Fi systems – All you need to know”
Node Placement and Setup
When connecting the network to your existing router, make sure to unplug the modem. After early set-up, make sure to set up a secure SSID and password for your network. Node placement varies from network to network, and while most apps will suggest locations, you ideally want a node halfway between your router and a dead zone. You also have the option for a wired connection between your nodes, for a wired backhaul, rather than a wireless one.
After The Setup
After this initial setup, you will be able to alter your network settings, examine your range, see the connected users, verify internet speeds, and impose parental controls via black lists or limited periods on any device you want. Many systems also come with anti-malware capabilities, which can be helpful to inspect and check regularly to make sure that all of your connected devices on the network are safe.
Familiarizing Oneself with the Mobile App Or Dashboard
A mobile app that handles the hard work for you and offers straightforward user interfaces for any updates you may require makes operating mesh networks an easy task. If you decide to expand your network, you will be recommended the best location for your new nodes.
The Benefits of Using Mesh Wi-Fi over Range Extenders
- Select the Range According to Your Needs
Mesh Wi-Fi networks provide you with a lot of options when it comes to deciding how big your network should be. There is a wide range of devices available, ranging from one-packs that cover 1500 square feet to 3-pack networking systems that have a range of up to 7000 square feet while still providing network speeds of up to 3 Gigabit. While this may be excessive for certain flats, it may be the ideal answer if you are not satisfied with Wi-Fi extenders.
- Manage Network Through a Mobile App
Mesh-router systems make network management efficient and easy since most of them offer automation and access to your most important settings through a mobile app. It saves you a lot of time from having to set up your new conventional router using a clunky and outdated browser dashboard. You can use the app to create guest networks so that visitors can’t tinker with your FTP file servers, verify your network speeds from various locations around the house, and even link smart home gadgets via ZigBee and other integrations. When streaming 4K material, you may prioritize bandwidth on certain devices while still ensuring that your data is secure and protected.
The Bottom Line
If you have been considering investing in a mesh network or simply need help setting up the one you currently bought, we hope that our Mesh Wi-Fi Guide and its procedural steps to make Mesh Wi-Fi work has been of use to you. At 343/ we provide our own network devices with mesh capabilities, check it out here.