What is WiFi Mesh?
A network with the main node as the master device and other connecting nodes as “Satellite nodes” is a WiFi Mesh system.
These nodes are interconnected. The entire Mesh network shares the same SSID and password.
For a WiFi Mesh system, the nodes should be strategically placed over the entire network. This will cover all the network dead zones at your premises and provide an uninterrupted internet connection. Using Mesh network the user will not face site buffering issues anymore.
The Mesh system follows the common WiFi standards that follow 802.11 a,b,g,n, and ac for wireless communication.
With the use of WiFi 6 technology, the Mesh network shows high-speed performance.
WiFi Mesh is a modular expansion technique that is scalable and customizable.
WiFi Mesh v/s Traditional routers
WiFi Mesh networks are a boon in the world of wireless networks specifically for the areas that require long-range connectivity.
Mesh networks become a necessity in very large, multi-floor, multi-room houses or organizations with seamless network connections as compared to the traditional routers that are required for high-traffic use. These routers have powerful performance but at the same time experience connectivity issues.
It is likely to specify that the mesh networks are preferable for long-range connectivity. There is no point using Mesh routers in small areas. In the small areas where you need high-speed performance, single-point routers can be used.
Considering the speed as a parameter, the slave or the nodes that are farthest from the master node experience low speeds. With every hop away from the master device, the speed drops with a decrease in the signal strength.
Considering the price factor, mesh routers are more expensive than single-point routers. The price depends on the number of the slave units connected whereas single-point routers do not require any additional units and are relatively cheap.
The Mesh network requires a lot of maintenance and proper network planning.
Mesh networks lack features such as changing DHCP IP, add custom DNS, running on both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz.
The Mesh nodes are complex as they need to have TX/RX (Transmit/Receive) functionalities for routing algorithms. There are no such complexities in the single router.
Where Do You Use WiFi Mesh?
WiFi Mesh networks are deployed in military operations to connect their laptops for tracking activities of enemies.
The IT firms can check employee’s attendance at one place. Using the Mesh system in the organization, the admin can monitor and track the in and out the time of the employees. The school premises can use the Mesh system to monitor the activity of the students and block the inappropriate content required. The students can be restricted to alcohol, gambling, other adult materials, any inappropriate social media content, drug abuse, and explicit violence.
VoIP applications are being tested on wireless Mesh networks. Mesh is considered as a supporting application in wireless networks. Also by using quality of services, the WiFi Mesh supports local telephone calls through Mesh.
What Are The Types Of WiFi Mesh Topologies?
WiFi Mesh can be configured in any of the following topologies:
1. STAR Topology:
In this topology, each satellite node communicates with the Master node.
The distance between the satellite nodes should be greater than the distance between the primary node and the satellite.
The main advantage is that the satellite is a single hop away from the main routers. Even if the node fails, the rest of the nodes operate the network.
2. DAISY CHAIN Topology:
In this topology, the master nodes connect to the series of satellite nodes. In the daisy chain, the nodes are not interconnected. The main/master node is connected to a single satellite node.
A series of satellite nodes are connected to form a daisy chain network. These nodes are connected in a linear fashion as shown below:
The drawback is if one of the satellite nodes is Offline, the devices connected to that satellite will lose internet connection.
Also, the farthest node will experience the lowest speeds. The speeds will be higher for the Nodes closer to the master.
How To Set Up WiFi Mesh And How Does It Work?
To set up a WiFi Mesh system, you can either connect the ethernet cable directly to the WAN port or connect the ethernet cable from the ISP router to the Master device’s WAN port.
You can configure the X-Brain system using the X-Home application.
The satellite devices should be placed about maximum ~ 30 meters away from the Master device.
The number of the satellite nodes should be strategically decided and planned. There is no direct proportion between nodes and the speed of the routers.
How Does The Mesh System Work?
In a Mesh WiFi system, say for example there are three slave nodes(S1, S2, and S3)and a master node(M). S3 node communicates with S2, S2 communicates with S1 and finally, S1 communicates with Master(M), Master node accesses the internet through ISP.
S3 will have lesser speeds compared to S2, S2 will have comparatively less speed than S1. The signal strength decreases of the slaves that are away from the Master node.
The data connection between the nodes is defined by the Backhaul connection described in the next section.
What is BackHaul Connection?
The backhaul connection refers to the data connection between the satellite nodes and between the node and the master.
The backhaul connection can be obtained for wired and wireless networks. The performance of the wired connection is better than the wireless connection but the issue is it requires more Ethernet cabling.
Backhaul connection for wireless is typically available for 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands.
Mesh performance can be improved at 6GHz for backhaul.
What Are The Operating Bands For WiFi Mesh?
Dual-Band Mesh involves 2.4GHz and 5GHz and traditionally use the second band at 5GHz
Tri-Band offers 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz(WiFi 6E is not available in all countries) boosting the WiFi Mesh performance.
Benefits of Mesh WiFi System:
Following are the benefits of Mesh WiFi System:
1. Capacity to cover a large area including large organizations:
WiFi Mesh can cover large organizations by increasing the number of satellite nodes. Thus Mes
2. Reliable connectivity for all devices like phones, computers.
The devices select nearby slave devices for uninterrupted WiFi access.
3. Direct Communication between the nodes
There is no need for a central point of communication. The nodes can communicate with each other directly in daisy chain Mesh topology.
4. Eliminate the dead zones
The dead zones can be completely eliminated with the use of slave devices in the appropriate places.
5. Same SSID and password:
Use of the same SSID and password in the Mesh network provides ease of access to the users from any corner of the room.
6. Mesh can control the following features
You can enable/disable other features like Smart Home, Energy Management, Parental control, and Cybersecurity on all the slave nodes.
Better security as single nodes can be replaced if security is breached.
8. Less power is needed for each node
Less power consumption as each node doesn’t need to put a strong output signal.
9. Avoids complex cabling
As it is a wireless Mesh Network, the complexity of the physical connections is eliminated
10. Easy Configuration Smartphone Management
Using the X-Home application, Xunison Android TV application, you can configure Mesh at your fingertips.
Mesh networks have a tendency of connecting to a closer node in case if any of the nodes fails.
12. Customized Size
The size of the Mesh system can be modified at any point of time.
13. Future proof and secure
The Mesh devices will receive firmware updates regularly. The device has parental control capabilities to provide security to the connected devices.
14. Eliminates interference from nearby network
Mesh devices are powerful to eliminate interference and create a strong and clear signal.
15. Strong signal strength and high speeds
Optimizing the WiFi coverage the users get a stronger signal and faster internet access as each node doesn’t have to rely on a daisy chain.
Features of Mesh WiFi System
Following are the features for Mesh WiFi System:
WiFi Mesh system can be installed easily on your premises.
2. Can connect multiple smart home devices and is accessible from any corner of your premises.
The WiFi Mesh router behaves as a smart HUB that can connect multiple ZigBee and Z-wave devices for home automation and security.
3. Stable connectivity with large coverage
Unlike extenders, the Mesh units cover the whole area of your premises with high stability.
4. Connects entire home with single network connectivity
The whole Mesh network has multiple access nodes that are connected to the Single network. Even if one of the nodes fails, there is no need to switch to a new network. You can access WiFi by signing into a single network.
5. Mesh devices can be integrated with other capabilities
- Smart Home: Using Mesh capability, you can control and monitor different smart home devices
- Energy Management: Using energy management devices, you can obtain energy consumption readings in the application.
- Parental Control: Parental control feature allows you to monitor your child’s activity from any corner of the house.
- Cyber Security: Cyber Security allows you to protect all your client devices from malware attacks
- OTT: The OTT board can be integrated with the Mesh router to flash entertainment channels on your Android TV
Mesh networks find their applications in the field of home automation, for health care centers, security system installation.
How Does WiFi Mesh Work For Smart Home?
WiFi Mesh increases the coverage area thereby increasing the range of the WiFi availability.
This provides flexible home automation techniques in different areas of your premises or organizations.
Let’s consider a house having smart home devices installed on its premises.
For example, the user has flood sensors installed in the kitchen or bathroom. The other pair of devices such as smart curtains, AC controller, smart lights are installed in the living room. The bedroom is automated with smart home devices such as sirens and motion detectors.
Each of the two rooms has the slave nodes installed in the above three rooms and the Master device is placed in the living room.
The slave devices installed in each room will monitor the smart home activity of its corresponding rooms.
You can use these smart home devices as a schedule for alarms, for example, you can schedule a siren to ring when you want to get up in the morning.
You can perform automation with a different pair of smart home devices, for example, you can configure the siren to ring when the door/window sensor opens or closes.
You can also perform scenes using RGB/Smart bulb.
All the above activities can be controlled via Mesh nodes using applications.
These smart home devices connected to the master and slave nodes can be monitored and controlled via X-Home applications, ATV applications, and Web applications(Xunison applications).
You can also integrate Alexa with the WiFi Mesh to access it from any corner of the room. The user can play music from any corner of the room.
Smart Electric meters are installed on the residences that transfer their readings from one node to another node and eventually to the central building without connecting the meter cables.
The outdoor cameras can be installed on the user’s premises. Mesh router allows you to monitor the visitor’s details from any corner of the house due to the Mesh technology. The users can be monitored via applications that handle the Mesh devices.
For IT firms, employee monitoring becomes easy for the admin from any corner of the organization via the installation of the smart home cameras in the specified area.
WiFi Mesh is an emerging technology in various fields of applications as described in the article.
WiFi Mesh can control a house with stable and long-range WiFi connectivity. These concepts of Mesh can be extended from shopping complexes to the large business infrastructure.
The WiFi Mesh provides increased stability, direct communication, low power, better security, and simpler topology.
But at the same time, it is costly due to the hardware involved in the WiFi Mesh infrastructure, scaling the size of the network is complex, the more complex the system it becomes difficult to manage all the nodes.WiFi Networks may experience latencies in the network.