A few years back, a stable and fast Wi-Fi connection was a luxury, not a necessity. But with the smartphone revolution, our entire professional and domestic life is now centered around the internet. The problem with traditional Wi-Fi networks is that they don’t cover your whole-home and check all your requirements. You need to install a home mesh wi-fi systems for a stable bandwidth network with fast internet speed in your entire home or workplace.
Installing a whole-home wi-fi network setup can be tricky, and many may find it confusing. There are several components of the network and different options like wired or wireless backhaul that you need to know about to answer the question: How do I set up a whole-home Wi-Fi network?
What is a Mesh Wi-Fi System?
Before you frustrate your brain trying to figure out “How do I set up a whole-home Wi-Fi network?” let’s find out what a mesh wi-fi system is and how it works?
Mesh Wi-Fi Systems technology works by sending signal waves across your home through its nodes, located all over the place. The signals travel by jumping from one node to the other, creating a cloud. It forms a wide coverage field, minimizing the dead zones (spots with no Wi-Fi coverage).
Most mesh Wi-Fi networks are dual-band, meaning that they can use both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz channels. The feature allows the mesh network users to enjoy better range coverage of the 2.4 GHz channel and cleaner routes for Wi-Fi signals on the 5.0 GHz channel.
Since mesh Wi-Fi is a decentralized network technology, all the nodes act like regular Wi-Fi routers sharing a single mesh. It provides you with the comfort of not switching between different networks every time you move from one room to another.
Wired or Wireless Mesh Network
You need to ask, “Which mesh network to choose” before you ask, “How do I set up a whole-home Wi-Fi network?” You cannot answer the latter question correctly if you haven’t decided which mesh network technology suits you the best.
Mainly two types of mesh networks are available in the market:
- Wired Backhaul Mesh
- Wireless Backhaul Mesh
A wired mesh network is created using ethernet cables. These cables connect nodes and devices (smart TV., computer system, gaming console, etc.) with the nodes.
- The most significant advantage of installing a wired backhaul mesh network is extraordinary speed capabilities. You can enjoy the internet as fast as 10gb/s.
- A wired network is the most secure way to set up a Wi-Fi system in the whole-home. It keeps your network from cyber breaches.
- It is not for people who use Wi-Fi on cellphones, tablets,beginner-level, and other devices with no ethernet port.
- Such networks require a lot of time to set them up. Moreover, managing so many cables is also a problem.
Wired mesh networks are not for average users. It is preferred by gamers and developers who require high-speed internet with zero chances of any interruptions.
Wireless mesh is the more popular type of whole house network. It is composed of the main router and several nodes connected wirelessly.
- Wireless mesh networks are easy to use and manage. It doesn’t take much time to set up.
- You can connect all smart devices to the network.
- The internet speed isn’t as fast as it is with wired networks.
- Wireless mesh systems aren’t as secure. A hacker can easily breach your network if they manage to connect.
Wireless mesh networks are the go-to option for almost everyone wanting to set up a whole-home Wi-Fi network. It is convenient for most businesses and households with multiple users.
Components and Structure
There’s a misconception that a whole-home network structure is some sort of a NASA-like system. In fact, it is pretty simple with just three essential components.
- A Modem to connect your home network to the wide web.
- The Main Router to spread the received signals. Most companies build the modem and the main router in a single case.
- Nodes are placed all over the area you wish to cover to spread and transfer the Wi-Fi signals to the maximum range.
How Do I Set Up A Whole-Home Wi-Fi Network?
Setting up a whole-home mesh network isn’t that technical. One of the perks mesh Wi-Fi technology offers, is an easy user experience. Anyone with beginner-level knowledge about the technology can set up a network for themselves.
Home Router Set-Up
Ideally, you should place the wireless network router at the center of the area you want to cover. This step will allow your router to equally send signals in all directions, making the node placement step easy.
Remember to never hide it in a closet or behind sofas. Otherwise, you will face connectivity issues and inconsistent bandwidth, as it can interrupt the router signals.
Creating an Account
After setting up the router, install the management app for your mesh network. You’ll need cellular data at this point, as the Wi-Fi isn’t functional yet. Create an account and set up a name for your network and a strong password.
Before this step, it is recommended by most companies to turn off and unplug your modem so it can create a valid IP address. Nodes placement is the trickiest part of setting up your whole home Wi-Fi system.
The way you set the nodes up decides the efficiency of the whole network. Most mesh Wi-Fi apps will help you determine the exact location of the nodes, but for the sake of the thumb rule, place every node at half the distance from the previous node and the dead zone.
Another point to keep in mind is the devices that can benefit a wired connection. Your gaming set-up and the streaming system will require a more stable connection than other devices. Almost every company manufactures an ethernet cable port at the back of the nodes, which you can use for such devices.
One more critical measure to take is not placing your router and nodes next to microwaves, cordless telephones, or any motor. These machines radiate frequencies of band 2.4GHz, which is the same as Wi-Fi. So, the frequencies leaked from these machines can interfere with Wi-Fi and cause malfunctioning.
Connecting Wi-Fi Devices
The following step is to connect all the Wi-Fi devices. Check your Wi-Fi managing app to make sure every device is visible in the network. Doing so will allow you to security scan your system and all connected devices.
In case of a problem, the app can troubleshoot and guide you with the required procedures. You can also block any unwanted users from the network.
Checking Network and Speed
Finally, now is the time to review your hard work and placement for nodes. You’ll need your family and friends to help you with this one.
Ask one friend to go into each room and every spot you want the coverage at. Tell them to connect their cellphones and maybe, play a video online to check the signal strength. The range may not be good enough on the first try. Readjust the placement of the nodes according to the results your friends give. Keep replacing and readjusting until you find the Wi-Fi nirvana.
5 Tips For Whole-Home Wi-Fi Network Setups
Now that we have covered the question “How to set up a whole home Wi-Fi network,” here are our top five tips for a better experience with your mesh Wi-Fi system and enjoy everything this technology has to offer.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
The question may sound pretty basic, but this is perhaps one of the top pieces of advice when it comes to buying a mesh Wi-Fi system. Be sure of how much coverage do you need.Although every mesh Wi-Fi system focuses on stable and fast Wi-Fi, every company loads its product with different features and coverage ranges. So, it is essential to know what you want and go for something which suits your needs the best.The decision depends on the area you want to cover. If you live in a small apartment and are annoyed by one or two dead zones, there’s no need to empty your pockets for an expensive mesh Wi-Fi system. A typical Wi-Fi extender will be the best match for you.
As far as mesh Wi-Fi is concerned, most setups, like Wi-Fi Mesh PLDT, come with three nodes which should be enough for any regular-sized (800-1600 sq ft) home. One or two added nodes can cover houses as big as 2500 sq ft. If you have a big building or a big office to cover, 8-9 nodes Wi-Fi mesh network can reach buildings of any shape or size.
Splitting Your Home Network
Most users are unaware of this feature, and even if they are, they don’t make the most out of it. Many whole-home Wi-Fi network systems have the option of splitting the network. In simpler terms, you can create two different networks on the same mesh system.You can use this feature to take care of privacy. Create a separate network for guests and visitors. This will keep your personal devices totally safe from anyone breaching into your network.
Firewall Configuration on Home Network
A firewall is another security measure you can take to ensure your privacy. It acts as a digital gate blocking devices on the internet from accessing your network while allowing devices on your network to access the internet.Almost all Wi-Fi systems already have this feature embedded into the network, but if not, you can always manually configure it and be less concerned about your privacy.
Mesh Wi-Fi technology leaves all systems far behind regarding device management and control over the network. You don’t need to waste your time on outdated websites or waiting for the technician. Everything is just a few taps away on the management app, from blocking a user to shutting down the entire network.One of the key features that stand out is parental control. You can restrict users from certain content and get notified as soon as someone tries to access it. You can even shut down the internet temporarily at dinner time or homework hours.
Device prioritization is another perk of mesh networks. The network will focus on transferring the better internet to the prioritized devices. This feature can be beneficial for gamers who need fast speed and stable internet all the time. Moreover, you can stream movies and shows seamlessly in high definition.Wireless telemedicine using GSM and GPRS technologies can only provide low bandwidth connections, which makes it difficult to transmit images and video. Satellite or 3G wireless transmission provides greater bandwidth, but the running costs are high. Wireless networks (WLANs) appear promising since they can supply high bandwidth at a low cost. However, the WLAN technology has limitations, such as coverage. A new wireless networking technology named the wireless mesh network (WMN) overcomes some of the limitations of the WLAN. A WMN combines the characteristics of both a WLAN and ad hoc networks, thus forming an intelligent, large scale and broadband wireless network.
These features are attractive for telemedicine and telecare because of the ability to provide data, voice, and video communications over a large area. One successful wireless telemedicine project which uses wireless mesh technology is the Emergency Room Link (ER-LINK) in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
There are three key characteristics of a WMN: self-organization, including self-management and self-healing; dynamic changes in network topology; and scalability. What we may now see is a shift from mobile communication and satellite systems for wireless telemedicine to the use of wireless networks based on mesh technology, since the latter is very attractive in terms of cost, reliability, and speed. [¹]
Home Network and Internet Problems
No doubt, the whole-home Wi-Fi network is an excellent technology with several perks and benefits, but there are a couple of cons, too.
These systems don’t come cheap. Some products can go as expensive as double the price of a regular Wi-Fi system or even higher. Buy it only if you really need it, and traditional Wi-Fi extenders cannot solve your problems. More hardware can also be a problem.
Apart from this, you may face minor connectivity issues but nothing that cannot be easily fixed on your own.