The home network has evolved significantly in recent years. There are no longer just one or two computers and a printer in every home. The average home has five connected devices, and that number is expected to rise rapidly. You probably have several cell phones, a tablet, a laptop, and possibly a set-top box, television, or gaming console all of which require Internet access. Furthermore, you are likely to want to use your devices all across your home.
That is the issue. A single wireless router may not always be able to provide a strong enough Wi-Fi signal to reach the home. You already know your wireless network has voids in its coverage if you can’t connect your device to the network while in the basement or if you can’t stream films in the second-floor bedroom. These voids are also known as dead zones or dead spots.
Dead zones on a Wi-Fi network are minimized or eliminated entirely using Whole Home Wireless. It means you can start watching a film on your tablet in the living room, then move to the kitchen, and finally to the bedroom without losing the viewing experience.
What is Whole-Home Wi-Fi?
A mesh network, often known as a whole-home Wi-Fi system, is a simple way to boost Wi-Fi speeds and extend coverage across your home. Here’s how whole-home wireless can help you get faster internet.
Whole-home Wi-Fi can provide a reliable internet connection throughout your home. A whole-home Wi-Fi system, like standard Wi-Fi, has a central “hub” or station connected to your router. It also contains satellite stations (often referred to as nodes) strategically placed throughout your home. Data travels from your device to the satellite station, then to the central hub, through this network. In areas where internet speeds are traditionally slow, satellite stations can provide the same high level of connectivity.
What is a Mesh Wi-Fi system?
Wi-Fi systems are a combo of numerous networking components that are designed to provide wireless coverage across your home. A primary router connects directly to your modem, and a number of satellite modules, or nodes, are installed throughout your home. They’re all connected to the same wireless network, with the same SSID and password. Unlike range extenders, which use the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio bands to interact with the router, most Wi-Fi system satellites use mesh technology to communicate with the router and each other.
Each node in the system acts as a hop point for other nodes. This enables the nodes furthest from the router to deliver a strong Wi-Fi signal by allowing them to connect with other nodes rather than relying on one-to-one communications with the router. Mesh networking isn’t used by all Wi-Fi systems; some use a specific radio frequency to interact with the router and each other. The dedicated band, like mesh, frees up the conventional 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies for client use.
What features to look for in a mesh whole-home Wi-Fi system?
Design – Since you’ll be scattering the Mesh Wi-Fi nodes across your home, it’s a good idea for them to be visually appealing or, at the absolute least, unobtrusive. While there was a tendency toward minimalism in 2020, the addition of Wi-Fi 6 in 2021 meant that some unit sizes have expanded marginally. As a result, rather of focusing on the tiniest feasible design, try to choose a product that blends well with your existing home decor.
Speed – When it comes to wireless connectivity, having more speed is always preferable to having less. In this way, mesh Wi-Fi systems are no different. Greater speed enables more bandwidth-intensive activities such as 4K media streaming. It also allows more devices on the same network to do those tasks without interfering with one another. Choosing the quickest Wi-Fi system available can also help you future-proof your purchase.
Coverage – While it’s nice to know that you can always add more mesh nodes to fill in any gaps, it’s also nice to be able to get away with utilizing fewer mesh nodes when possible. The more coverage each mesh node in your mesh Wi-Fi system provides, the fewer mesh nodes you’ll need to cover your entire home.
Software – The simplicity of use of mesh Wi-Fi systems is a key part of their appeal, and many of them come with software apps to help with that. Because you’ll be required to use the official app for your mesh Wi-Fi system of choice, make sure it has the functionality you want. Parental restrictions, high-traffic priority indicators, and built-in cybersecurity scanning are just a few examples.
Ease of setup – If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, having an app-assisted installation and setup rather than a browser-based one can make a huge difference and substantially ease the procedure. Installation should ideally be as easy as going to the Apple Store or Google Play Store, installing the supplier’s app, and then following the on-screen instructions. Within 15 minutes of unpacking, your Wi-Fi should be up and operating.
What are the advantages of a whole-home Wi-Fi system?
The following are some of the advantages of a whole-house Wi-Fi system:
Your connectivity follows satellite stations wherever they go. Let’s say you spend the majority of your time on the internet downstairs, but you also watch movies in your bedroom upstairs. You can get strong internet connections in both locations with a whole-home Wi-Fi system, regardless of where you put the router.
Network management is simple
Most whole-home Wi-Fi systems come with digital apps that make managing your network’s devices effortless. You may, for example, examine Wi-Fi signal strength and connected devices with panoramic Wi-Fi apps and reset your modem. Your network credentials and security settings can also be changed. This signifies that you have network security in your grip.
Fewer interfering factors
You shouldn’t have to worry about radio interference or structural barriers with satellite stations around. Place a satellite station in your kitchen if your Wi-Fi is slow in your kitchen due to your microwave and a nearby mirror. This eliminates the need for the signal to pass through these objects on its way to your device.
Connections based on location
Your entire home Wi-Fi system can automatically connect your devices to the strongest satellite station based on your proximity as you go from room to room. You can improve the reliability of your devices by optimizing your connectivity route.
In addition to location-based connections, the entire home system can assist to ensure that your network will continue to function even if one node fails. You should have no problems connecting to the internet as long as your central hub is still operational.
What are some of the disadvantages of a whole-home Wi-Fi system?
Complexity – Because each node must send messages as well as operate as a router, the complexity of each node increases significantly. Assume you’re designing a compact, low-power device, such as a room occupancy sensor, and you want to improve the range of your system. The nodes now have to keep track of messages from five or ten of their “neighbours,” exponentially increasing the quantity of data that each node must cope with in order to transmit a message through. As a result, adding extra sensors to the mesh solely to improve range makes the system more complex.
Latency – The time it takes for a message to get from a node to the gateway, can have an impact on mesh network design. Surprisingly, utilising a mesh network with a bigger size system with greater bandwidth, memory, and power can reduce latency. However, because smaller low-power wide-area networks lack the processing power to handle the communications, latency becomes a concern.
Power consumption – Because each node in a mesh has to serve as both an endpoint and a router, it requires more power to function. As a result, if you have battery-powered, low-power nodes, deploying a mesh without a lot of network planning may be challenging.
Assume you have battery-powered nodes in your smart security system’s windows and doors. The control panel is kept in the basement, while all of the sensors are located on the first and second floors. Because a second floor only transmits signals, the sensors on the first floor will have to deal with messages from the second-floor windows and doors.
Besides these advantages and disadvantages, the best way to assess which network design is best for your requirement is to look at the application you’re deploying. A mesh network might work for you if you’re doing a tiny, simple network with 10-20 nodes. If you need to use the same number of nodes over a much bigger area, using the 2.4 GHz frequency band can be challenging, and you may need to buy a lot more nodes to get the signal adequately. Consider your alternatives, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.