The term “Mesh Wi-Fi” is being used more commonly in offices and homes. However, not everyone is aware of the details, what it does, or how it works. Hence, despite being popular, many people are still asking what is Wi-Fi mesh? If you happen to be one of those people, don’t worry, you will find your answer here.
If you have ever faced slow internet speed or bad coverage in general then someone from your friends or family must’ve suggested Mesh Wi-Fi to you. It is not just you though, often people hear about the wonders of Mesh Wi-Fi and believe it will solve all their connectivity problems.
It is true to some extent that for many people, Mesh Wi-fi has proven to be a reliable and affordable solution. This blog focuses on all the important information about Mesh Wi-fi and aims to answer your questions including what is Wi-Fi mesh? how it works and what are its features.
What is Wi-Fi Mesh?
After hearing the name Mesh Wi-Fi so frequently, you must have thought at some point what is Wi-Fi mesh? Well, a mesh is not an acronym here but the name itself is the description of the network. It is called a mesh network or Wi-Fi because these networks are connected through a mesh of signals and travel from one hub to another. But mesh networks are wireless so you can’t actually see the mesh.
Mesh networks are strengthened by multiple links which make them resilient. For instance, if one link weakens, is dealing with a lot of traffic, or fails, there are others to take over. Moreover, the main function of mesh Wi-Fi is to eliminate any dead zones in your home and provide an uninterrupted connection. Mesh Wi-Fi networks allow all devices in your network to have greater coverage, reliable connection, and faster speeds.
When you link a unit to the modem that unit turns into the main hub. Now, all the other units, which are also called nodes, will rebroadcast and capture signals of the router. As a result, you can enjoy an efficient and faster network that offers strong signals throughout your house.
What is a Mesh Wi-Fi Router, and Do You Need One?
To fully grasp the answer to “what is Wi-Fi mesh?”, it is important to understand the components of mesh systems, which include mesh Wi-Fi routers. Mesh Wi-Fi systems are designed to strengthen your Wi-Fi signals and extend wireless coverage. If your current router is not providing you with seamless coverage and connectivity then switching to a mesh Wi-Fi router might be a good option for you.
Moreover, if you have a bigger house with multiple floors or stories then you probably experience dead Wi-Fi zones frequently. This is a situation in which switching to a mesh router system will lead to better connectivity. This is because unlike the regular standalone routers, which provide Wi-Fi coverage through a single device to a limited area of the house, a mesh router uses multiple connected devices to offer multiple Wi-Fi signal sources.
This is like having multiple routers in the house but all of them share one single Wi-Fi network. Additionally, modern mesh router systems come with easy and simple setups. They allow you to eliminate dead spots, fill gaps in coverage, and overall enjoy a faster and stronger connection in every part of the house.
How does Mesh Wi-Fi Work?
We hope by now you have found the answers to your first question i.e., what is Wi-Fi mesh? Next, we are going to look at how exactly do these mesh Wi-Fi networks work. The working of mesh Wi-Fi involves utilizing multiple nodes ( mesh Wi-Fi devices) to form a mesh Wi-Fi network.
An internet modem is used to connect one single node while the rest of them can be placed anywhere throughout the house to create a strong wireless network. These nodes then become a part of one single network and share the same password and SSID, unlike the traditional routers. As a result, setting and scaling up the mesh network becomes as easy and simple as adding another node.
Moreover, these nodes play an important role in efficiently delivering Wi-Fi as each one of them serves as a “daisy chain” for one another. [¹] Even the nodes that are placed far away from the main router are capable of delivering strong signals. These nodes communicate with each other to reroute the traffic in case a node fails and determine the fastest band for all your devices.
What Does a Mesh Wifi System Do?
Mesh systems and extenders are primarily designed to solve one problem i.e. bad signal strength. But they also help you solve many other problems that come with traditional Wi-Fi systems. In traditional Wi-Fi networks, the router acts as the only link that broadcasts wireless signals between your devices and the modem throughout your house. Due to this, if your device is too far from that one router, there is a strong chance that the internet connection will either be spotty or nonexistent.
On the other hand, mesh Wi-Fi systems provide you with multiple access points. Here, the one access point that is closer to the modem will act as a gateway and the remaining access points will then rebroadcast signals to one another. This forms a group Wi-Fi coverage, which allows you to get rid of connection problems that are usually associated with traditional Wi-Fi systems. It also ensures a strong network and access to a powerful wireless signal.
Who Needs Mesh Wi-Fi?
Mesh isn’t just restricted to Wi-Fi only, rather it is a type of network topology that is utilized by many people and groups, including the military. In a mesh topology, there is no central connection point. Instead, each node is connected to at least one other node and usually to more than one. Each node is capable of sending and receiving messages to and from other nodes. The nodes act as relays, passing on a message towards its final destination. [²]
Besides the military use, Mesh Wi-Fi systems are also for people who live in bigger or multiple story houses with weak Wi-Fi coverage. This is because traditional Wi-Fi systems and routers are usually unable to fully cover these large homes. Moreover, mesh Wi-Fi is also an ideal option for anyone who wants a strong Wi-Fi system but doesn’t want to deal with complex configurations and setups that are usually associated with traditional routers.
Numerous household devices also utilize mesh systems and networks, including house alarms, SkyQ, Sonos, and smart devices. [³] Lastly, mesh networks can be partly or fully cabled but usually, they are wireless, especially in the case of Wi-Fi.
Is Wi-Fi Mesh Better Than Router?
Typically, modern standalone routers are more powerful than mesh systems. This is because traditional routers have larger antennas and faster processors than mesh system routers. As a result, in some cases, it may be possible to get better performance from traditional or standalone routers. However, there is no doubt in the fact that mesh systems are still better in terms of providing better and stronger signals in larger homes with several dead zones.
Does Wi-Fi Mesh Replace Router?
Wi-Fi mesh doesn’t really replace your router. While it is designed to take over the duties of your router, you are still going to need your router so, don’t throw it away just yet. This is because the router that you already have may contain a modem, which is what connects you to the internet. The router then transmits that connection over Wi-Fi. So, while Wi-Fi mesh systems might replace your router, you will still rely on its built-in modem.
The Pros of Mesh WiFi
If your confusion regarding what is Wi-Fi mesh is clear now but you’re still wondering whether you should make the switch or not, then here are some of the pros of mesh Wi-Fi that might help you with your decision:
Some people might consider mesh Wi-Fi systems relatively expensive as they cost around £200 depending on their brand. [³] However, when compared to traditional cabled systems, mesh systems seem an ideal investment and provide good value for money. It is also convenient to relocate them so if you ever change houses, they can easily come with you. Moreover, currently, the market for mesh systems is saturated with plenty of competition which has kept the cost lower than it could ever have been.
The main selling point of mesh Wi-Fi systems is their beautiful simplicity as they are plug-and-play systems. Anyone can set up these systems as they only require a few clicks on the associated app. Moreover, even the apps are well made and come with easy step-by-step instructions. They also provide instructions on placements to measure the performance of the points.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems can be very effective in ideal conditions as the loss is usually minimum with a consistent speed all across the network. If you have used less efficient products like Powerline systems or Wi-Fi repeaters then you’d be able to notice the difference very easily. Effectiveness is an important selling point for mesh systems because they not only require a minimum time to set up but their impact is also instantaneous.
Traditional routers make use of devices like range extenders which repeat the signals so that it’s easier to access Wi-Fi over long distances. However, the problem with these extenders is that even the best of them will require you to create separate networks with separate names. As a result, you will have to switch your Wi-Fi connection, often manually, whenever you move around your house.
On the other hand, a mesh system does not require you to constantly reconnect even if you move from one room to another. With mesh Wi-Fi systems you also won’t have to deal with lag in the connection as all the access points broadcast the same signals.
In addition to easy and simple management, many residential mesh router systems also come with incredible security support. Due to the easy management, it is not very difficult to keep your router or devices safe. As a bonus, they are also capable of automatically checking and installing firmware updates.
The Cons of Mesh Wi-Fi
Generally, mesh systems are wireless which means they require radio waves for communication. These waves travel smoothly in open spaces but not through solid objects. Hence, if your house or office has foil-lined insulation, UV-protected glass, big mirrors, or any object that may affect the wireless performance, then a mesh system may not operate just as effectively.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems make use of hubs to form a mesh of signals that provides strength to the system. For a mesh to form, each of the hubs should be seen by one or more hubs. But if these hubs are used in a daisy chain manner to cover long distances then it is very unlikely that each hub will be able to see one another. Here, the hubs may still work but the performance of your Wi-Fi system will suffer. It may also cause intermittent dropouts and other issues due to the lack of resilience in each link.
The access points of most mesh Wi-Fi systems are discreet and small. So, you may need several of them to take full advantage of their abilities. This means that you will need to find places around your home for multiple devices. This can be a problem for those who want to keep their networking devices limited to a few inconspicuous locations.
We hope this article has cleared all your confusion about mesh Wi-Fi systems and answered the most important questions, including what is Wi-Fi mesh in detail. These Wi-Fi systems not only provide better connectivity and powerful signals but also wipe out any dead zones that might be present in your house. If you live in a larger house and frequently face connectivity issues. then a mesh Wi-Fi system is your answer!