Mesh Wifi Vs. Wifi Extender | Which is Better and What is the Difference?

Mesh WiFi Vs WiFi Extender

In answering the question, “Is wifi mesh network faster than wifi range extenders?” you need to look at both sides of the coin.

What Is Mesh Wi-Fi?

Mesh networking is a great option when extenders fail to deliver. Mesh Wi-Fi acts as a router directly connected to the modem. The term mesh network is often used to describe systems that “blanket” your home with Wi-Fi.

A mesh system is not a single device, but a collection of nodes that can be placed throughout the house or office space. Your home’s or office’s size will determine how many nodes you need, but most systems come with two or three. More nodes can be added later according to your needs. 

It is like having several wireless routers placed throughout your house/office since they are all part of a single wireless network. Many manufacturers offer routers and nodes that cover an area of 5,000 square feet with a single router, but others require three or more devices for that size.

Mesh devices are connected to one another, providing a strong wifi signal across your entire house with a single network name. Mobile devices will automatically connect to the device with the strongest signal in the room you are in.

In the same way that extenders repeat a signal, mesh systems also repeat the signal from the modem or gateway provided by your ISP. However, these routers are much smarter and stronger than regular extenders. For example, tri-band mesh systems typically dedicate one band to backhaul. As a result, each router communicates exclusively using one band, offering much better performance than even a tri-band wifi range extender can provide. The other two bands are available for connecting to your devices.

Although dual-band mesh wifi systems use backhaul too, the bandwidth they use will be shared with other devices on your network, so performance is less than that of a tri-band mesh system. You can also get mesh systems with quite a bit of extra features, depending on what you purchase. Smart home devices can integrate with them, act as hubs, or have built-in speakers that are also smart speakers.

Does Mesh Increase Speed?

Having mesh Wi-Fi satellites strategically located throughout your building allows a consistent, even speed no matter where you are. Multiple satellites ensure a more consistent and fast signal spread over a large area. It is important to know that the location of your router and another tech may affect your internet speed.

Does Wi-Fi Mesh Reduce Speed?

Typically, mesh networks prefer connectivity and coverage over speed. Hence, while your mesh network can provide sturdy coverage and long-range connectivity, it may not be able to provide a powerful speed as your traditional router.

What Is A Wi-Fi Extender?

A wifi range extender was a popular option before mesh networks became available for improving home networks. Wi-Fi extenders can amplify your network’s signal by transmitting it to a larger area within your home.

In addition to being called Wi-Fi extenders, they are sometimes called repeaters or boosters. The goal is the same – they extend your Wi-Fi signal range. A strategically-placed range extender may be able to improve your coverage if, for example, your Wi-Fi network is strong in the living room, bedrooms, and kitchen, but does not reach the den.

In order to use the extender’s Wi-Fi network, you need to switch manually from your home router’s Wi-Fi network. The most common connection method for Wi-Fi extenders is via Wi-Fi, but certain models allow Ethernet and Powerline connections as well. The electrical wiring in your home serves as the data transmission medium for a powerline adapter.

A wireless extender usually has a network name (SSID) different from the main home network, like Home Wi-Fi and Home Wi-Fi Ext. While you may be able to use the same username and password for the extender and the main network, that is not recommended. You may experience frustration because your wireless device may keep trying to connect to the weak signal.

The stronger signal will be used if you simply have both networks saved under different names. For wireless devices such as televisions and consoles, it’s wise to only share the extender’s Wi-Fi credentials with devices to prevent connectivity with the weaker signal.

It is true that extenders can improve Wi-Fi signal strength, but the problem is that the signal weakens the farther you get from the source (your ISP router or modem). For example, if you use two extenders to reach the basement, the speed and strength of your Wi-Fi will be much lower.

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Wi-Fi Range Extender vs. Mesh Network: What’s the Difference?

Are you fed up with a slow Wi-Fi connection? You can extend Wi-Fi with either a mesh Wi-Fi network or a wifi range extender, but they work in very different ways.

Wi-Fi extenders are used to rebroadcast your home router’s Wi-Fi signal. Mesh Wi-Fi uses multiple nodes to create a single, big and seamless Wi-Fi network that covers your whole home.

Wi-Fi extenders extend your signal by rebroadcasting it. Manually switching between your router’s and extender’s Wi-Fi networks is necessary. An extender is useful for connecting rooms far from your router’s signal with Wi-Fi, eliminating dead zones, and having a separate network each for your router and extender. Even though being more affordable, it is harder to configure and not ideal for larger homes.

Mesh Wi-Fi creates one seamless network through multiple devices called nodes. Getting connected to the strongest signal node is automatic, and you don’t have to manually switch networks. The stylishly-designed nodes can be shifted to different locations and it stays reliable even if one node may stop working. Mesh Wi-Fi is easier to set up and can be simply controlled by a phone app, plus more nodes can be added to increase the Wi-Fi signal coverage.

Is Wi-Fi Mesh Faster than Extender?

Despite mesh networks and Wi-Fi extenders both improving wireless coverage, mesh networks are more intelligent, work better, and can extend your Wi-Fi signal farther than extenders. Shedding more light on the question, “Is mesh faster than extender?”, if you have mesh Wi-Fi satellites strategically placed throughout your home, you get faster Internet access no matter where you are in the building.

Optimize Your Current Wi-Fi Network

While range extenders and mesh systems can serve as speed boosters in some cases, they’re not suitable in all situations. It’s unlikely that a mesh system will solve your problem if it’s due to neighborhood congestion, a poorly-placed router, or a cheap internet plan that has slow speeds.

The main objective of mesh systems and extenders is to solve the issue of weak signals. Check to see if you’re having problems with signal strength in the places where you need Wi-Fi before investing in a mesh Wi-Fi system.

In the event that there are no dead spots, your internet package is to blame rather than your Wi-Fi network. Consider placing your router centrally – out in the open – if you experience dead spots. Moving the router instead of buying new hardware could solve your problem if it’s in a closed corner on one end of the house.

Wi-Fi Range Extenders Merely Repeat a Signal

In general, a wireless extender connects to your existing wireless network, broadcasts a new network name, and blindly relays traffic back to your wireless router. In this case, you’ll see two network names: one from the router, and another from the extender.

Often, your devices will remain on one until it has completely disappeared from the range. If you want faster Wi-Fi speeds, you’ll have to manually switch networks at different points in your house, which is a hassle. It is also inefficient to repeat the entire Wi-Fi signal because the extender simply listens to each packet and rebroadcasts it.

What are the Disadvantages of a Mesh Network?

The initial expenses can be a disadvantage for many people as mesh devices and nodes require expensive outlays to set up. Moreover, when it comes to the question, “Is mesh faster than extender?”, mesh networks also prefer coverage over speed so, the speed here may be less than your traditional router’s speed.

Mesh vs. Extender: Which One Is Right for You?

In the line of answering the question, “Is mesh faster than extender?”, there are a few things to take into consideration before you decide to buy a mesh system or an extender. To begin with, mesh systems are more expensive. If you just need a router and satellite, your costs will run into the hundreds, as opposed to an extender that can be purchased for $50 to $100, much like the RE650 from TP-Link. One extender might be the better choice if a single room in your house is a dead spot. When it looks like you’ll have to use multiple extenders, a mesh system often becomes the best option.

Mesh systems come in all price ranges. For optimal performance, you’d want a tri-band system with a dedicated backhaul band. Nevertheless, if your budget doesn’t permit you to invest in one of these, there are many dual-band options that are still very effective.

Conclusion

Wi-Fi extenders are focused on solving a problem spot then as an all-around home solution. If you have several Wi-Fi dead zones or live in a multiple-story home, it’s worth upgrading to a Wi-Fi mesh system. It aims to maximize coverage on a single fiber broadband network. And it has the added advantage of flexibility: you can add as many Wi-Fi points as you need (or as much as cost allows) to widen your Wi-Fi coverage without affecting your connection speed for everyone at home.

When you experience dead spots or slow Wi-Fi, a mesh network is your best option, answering the question, “Is mesh faster than extender?”. Hence, it’s worth investing a little money up front to avoid a lot of problems in the future.

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