What’s the difference between Mesh Wifi systems and Wifi range extenders?

If you’ve noticed your Wifi signals randomly dropping and fluctuations in internet speed, it might be time to optimize your Wifi system. With the plethora of Wifi-enabled devices we have nowadays — iPads, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, smart kitchen appliances, etc. — there is bound to be a heavy strain on your existing Wifi network.

Luckily, several things could help eliminate dead zones and boost your Wifi, such as powerline adaptors, Wifi repeaters and wifi boosters, which are essentially the same as Wifi range extenders with slightly different features. However, two of the most popular solutions to this issue are investing in either Wifi range extenders or Mesh Wifi routers to help enhance and upgrade the quality of Wifi signals and internet speed in your home or office.

Both Wifi range extenders and Mesh Wifi networks help extend Wifi coverage and improve your wireless signal strength. However, which option do you choose? Does your home/office require a new mesh router, or will a wifi extender suffice? Keep on reading to answer this question and solve your Wifi issues.

What are Wifi range extenders?

Wifi range extenders are single units that broadcast your existing Wifi signal into a broader area with little/no signal and eliminate any dead spots and signal dropping. Wifi range extenders connect to an access point — usually the main Wifi router or through an ethernet cable. With an ethernet cable especially, you can pretty much place your extender anywhere since the signal is being transmitted through the cable.

Pressing the WPS button on both devices pairs the Wifi extender and the Wifi router, however, set-ups can vary according to different brands. Wifi ‘boosters’ and ‘repeaters’ also come under the ‘Wifi extender family tree’ and are basically the same thing, except for a few minor differences.

Wifi repeaters are very similar to Wifi extenders. They capture the existing network’s signal and send it into desired areas with low/no signals. On the other hand, Wifi boosters capture the existing network’s signal and amplify it, offering better coverage, higher signal strength, and ultimately, faster internet speed.

The Pros and Cons of Wifi Extenders

Pros

-Wifi range extenders are a cheaper and more affordable alternative to Mesh Wifi systems. Typically, the price range for good quality Wifi extenders starts from $75, which is relatively cheaper than installing a whole-home Mesh Wifi system.

-Range extenders are designed to be a quick and easy solution to eliminating any dead zones in your office or home. If you find that your Wifi signals are not strong enough in a certain room or area of the house, you can place a Wifi extender which will spot fix the area and improve the dead zone.

-If you find your Wifi network working fine in all areas of your home or office except one or two, Wifi range extenders are the most feasible solution. Investing in big-tech Wifi solutions isn’t the best fit for small areas, whereas Wifi extenders act as a simple, convenient quick fix.

Cons

-One of the biggest cons with Wifi range extenders is that it creates a whole separate network. So essentially, after installing a Wifi extender, you will have two networks, one offered by your main wireless router and one from the extender. Your devices will stay connected to one network until it’s completely out of range, after which you will have to manually switch from one network for better Wifi to the other depending on where you are in your home/office. This ends up being a huge hassle for users since as you move around the area, you also have to switch from one network to the other.

-As reiterated previously, Wifi range extenders are a great solution and work to their utmost potential only when you set them up for relatively small areas. For larger areas or homes with multiple floors, you’ll find that Wifi range extenders can only extend existing Wifi signals so much. If you wish to improve Wifi signal range, speed and coverage over a larger area, Wifi range extenders are not the ideal solution.

Configuration and set-up might prove to be problematic for Wifi range extenders, especially if your existing Wifi router and Wifi extender are of different brands. Managing extenders can be quite a nuisance and the majority require you to go to web pages and alter download updates or settings.

What are Mesh Wifi systems?

Mesh Wifi or whole-home Wifi systems target dead spots in the area and provide uninterrupted Wifi access throughout your home or office. Mesh Wifi systems consist of one (or more) main router that connects directly to your modem and other devices such as nodes or satellite modules placed around the house/office to increase Wifi coverage and improve any fluctuations you might face. One major advantage that Mesh Wifi systems have over Wifi extenders is that they consist of a single wireless network. To learn more about Mesh Wifi, head on over to What are Whole-Home Mesh Wifi Systems?

Pros and Cons of Mesh Wifi systems

Pros

Mesh Wifi Systems are ideal for larger areas, such as homes and offices with multi-floors. They offer a wide range of Wifi coverage and optimize your internet to get rid of any dead spots. And a mesh network can be as big or as small as you need, so there’s a lot of diversity. Whereas, Wifi range extenders’ functionality is limited to smaller areas only.

-With a single wireless network, you won’t have to worry about manually switching between networks. Furthermore, Mesh Wifi systems contain multiple nodes or units that communicate with one another and connect to your device automatically. If one node is down, the remaining are not affected and Wifi signals will continue to run smoothly. On the other hand, if any error arises in your Wifi extender, the Wifi signals covering that area will also be disrupted.

-Overall, Mesh Wifi Systems allow for better and uninterrupted Wifi signal coverage over your entire home, office or workplace and eliminate any dead zones more effectively.

Cons

One of the most prominent disadvantages of implementing a Mesh Wifi system is that they can be more expensive than investing in a couple of Wifi range extenders. However, setting up various Wifi extenders around the house and diving deep into router settings is a time-consuming task and mainly for tech-savvy individuals.

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