- Mesh Wi-Fi uses multiple nodes to transmit and receive data, providing expanded coverage and eliminating dead zones.
- Mesh Wi-Fi systems are designed to handle multiple devices without experiencing slowdown or lag.
- They offer seamless roaming, automatically switching connections between nodes as you move around your home.
- Mesh Wi-Fi systems are also easy to set up and manage, with user-friendly apps and interfaces.
- They prioritize security, encrypting traffic between nodes and providing regular security updates.
Mesh Wi-Fi is the next phase of Wi-Fi technology. For the average consumer, it seemed like Wi-Fi innovations had stalled for a while. But in a modern home filled with different devices, a reliable and fast internet connection is an absolute necessity.
Whether you’re working from home, streaming content, or just trying to get your smart home to work, bad Wi-Fi makes these tasks feel like pulling teeth. From dead zones in that one room to always dropping your connection the moment you step into the garage or slow speeds in the bathroom, these scenarios are all too common.
Since mesh Wi-Fi has come along, these issues are becoming a thing of the past. As prices on mesh Wi-Fi systems are decreasing further with each passing year, they are becoming increasingly popular. So, in today’s article, we’ll explain what mesh Wi-Fi is, and why you should get it for your home today. Let’s dive in!
What Is a Mesh Wi-Fi System?
Mesh Wi-Fi is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Rather than having just one router that you connect to, mesh Wi-Fi uses multiple nodes to transmit and receive data. These nodes work together to form a seamless cloud.
Think of mesh Wi-Fi similar to how the lights in your home are set up. Having one bright light in your living room might decently light the nearby rooms, but other parts of your house would be in the dark. Just like light, Wi-Fi works better when distributed evenly throughout each room.
Mesh Wi-Fi works much the same way. By casting a wider net, you’re able to get more even coverage wherever you need. A mesh system has one home node, and then other satellite receivers whose focus is to traffic all data back to home.
This means all nodes are on the same network, so unlike normal range extenders or repeaters, you won’t have to connect to multiple networks, depending on where you’re at. With the basics covered, let’s look a little deeper into the benefits of a mesh Wi-Fi system.
Reasons to Buy a Mesh Wi-Fi System
Now, we’ll look into the key points of what makes mesh Wi-Fi great, and what you should look for when deciding on a system for yourself. A lot of these benefits build upon each other, as well, so you’ll likely see one aspect work to the aid of the others.
Reason #1: Expanded Coverage
As mentioned earlier, the great coverage provided by mesh Wi-Fi cannot be overstated. To use a similar example, imagine how inconvenient it would be to have one sink in your home. Your Wi-Fi router follows the same concept. Mesh Wi-Fi allows you to distribute your network across your whole house because you can place as many child nodes as you need. You can resolve any slow spots or dead zones you encounter with some adjustments.
Reason #2: Enhanced Speed and Performance
While some routers might start to get overloaded with too many devices, mesh Wi-Fi systems are designed to handle tons of devices. Even if everyone in your home is streaming, gaming, or working, you won’t feel any slowdown or lag.
Mesh systems manage your requests to ensure you always have adequate bandwidth. If you have a lot of users in your house or a smart home system with lots of devices, you’ll benefit from having lots of connection points to manage all of your devices.
Of course, you’ll still need to have a fast internet connection from your internet service provider (ISP). Having fast equipment won’t do you any good if your provider is giving you a low speed or a low data cap. You can easily check your internet speed on Fast.com, and see if it matches what you are paying for on your bill.
Reason #3: Seamless Roaming
All nodes of a mesh Wi-Fi system are interconnected. Your device won’t even know it’s connecting to multiple nodes. The mesh will also automatically handle throwing your connection between nodes as you move around your house. Want to move to another room while you’re in the middle of a heated match on your gaming laptop? No problem. The even distribution of your network means your signal won’t drop.
Reason #4: Easy Setup and Management
Although it might sound complex, mesh Wi-Fi systems are about as user-friendly as you can get. Most have an app or website available to help you with your setup. These systems are designed to cater to any user, regardless of technical skill.
Once your system is set up, most apps or sites also give you management tools that make configuring your Wi-Fi a breeze. Network monitoring and parental controls are prioritized in these systems, requiring no technical background or knowledge.
Reason #5: Robust Security
You may think having a broader network means there’s possibly some vulnerability in the system. Mesh Wi-Fi systems are designed with security in mind. Traffic between nodes is encrypted to protect data against any malicious actors that manage to connect. You’ll also have regular security updates to prevent hackers from accessing your network in the first place.
You can enhance your security with parental controls to block suspicious websites and safeguard against potential threats and online bad actors. Don’t want your kids visiting those websites? Set restrictions on users, or even for your network as a whole, to protect your data.
Reason #6: Scalability and Future-Proofing
Moving to a new house usually means buying a better router, but no more! Mesh systems are meant to evolve with your living space. You can get one or two more nodes if you end up in a larger space and store a few if you end up in a smaller apartment.
Since mesh Wi-Fi is relatively new to consumers, it’s also on the cutting edge of Wi-Fi standards. As faster Wi-Fi standards become available, a new mesh Wi-Fi will be ready to handle any updates. The same goes if you need to replace a node. If one of your trusty mesh nodes bites the dust, you don’t have to replace the whole network — just that one node.
Reason #7: Device Compatibility
Mesh Wi-Fi was designed with the Internet of Things (IoT) in mind! If you’ve got a variety of smart home appliances, a mesh Wi-Fi system is perfect for connecting all of your devices. Some mesh Wi-Fi systems also act as smart home hubs!
If you’re using an open-source IoT system like Zigbee, it might be supported by your mesh system. Some mesh Wi-Fi routers may include their own proprietary IoT management in their applications or interfaces.
Reason #8: Guest and User Management
Tired of all your house guests asking you, “Hey, what’s the Wi-Fi password?” Aren’t we all!
Within your management app, you’ll be able to set up a guest network for visitors to your home. Set a simple password or even leave it open. Either way, you’ll have fine-tuned control over those connecting to your network and how much data they can use.
Thanks to the security methods mentioned earlier, you’ll essentially be running two separate, secure networks on your mesh. Guests won’t be able to access your home network or any of your IoT devices, but will still get all the benefits of your system.
Best Mesh Wi-Fi Systems to Buy
If you’re sold on the benefits of a mesh Wi-Fi system and want to pick one up for yourself, the good news is that they are pretty inexpensive. Many of the same brands that make conventional wireless routers also make mesh systems. So, you won’t have to deal with an unfamiliar company or software. Let’s take a look at a few of our top picks for the best mesh systems.
TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi System
The TP-Link Deco is a great option for someone looking to get into mesh Wi-Fi without breaking the bank. On the lower end of the price compared to other options on this list, this is still a great option. TP-Link is a renowned industry leader in consumer Wi-Fi products. They have been making routers, switches, range extenders, and even internal PCIe Wi-Fi cards for over a decade now.
Its Deco system is highly rated by consumers, with an exceptional rating on several sites to back its reputation. Its extensive feature set, low price tag, and ease of use make it the perfect device for most users, and our top recommendation in this category.
The Deco Mesh System has the Deco app to manage your system, as well as built-in Alexa integration. It also promises quality parental controls and smart firmware to manage your network. Consider this for a starter system you won’t worry about regretting.
Amazon eero 6+
- Supports speeds up to a gigabit
- Support for 160 MHz client devices
- Coverage up to 4,500 sq. ft.
- 2 1.0 Gb Ethernet ports
- Backward-compatible with older eero devices
If you have Amazon products like Alexa or their other smart home devices, then the eero 6+ is a great pick. Direct integration with Amazon’s products means that your setup will be a breeze. The eero 6+ also has the advantage of being backed by enough money to ensure it’ll be competitive with anything at a similar price point.
Amazon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so long-term support is a backed promise. The eero app also has some great features available for an extra price, such as password management and ad blocking at the source, among other things.
NETGEAR Nighthawk Advanced
If you want something tuned to gamers, take a look at the Nighthawk Advanced. Each node along the parent router has at least one Ethernet port, making this perfect for game consoles or home servers. Wi-Fi 6 also means that you won’t worry about latency and can enjoy smooth gaming and streaming from anywhere.
The Nighthawk App also means you’ll be able to set up your system in a snap and view your network remotely while having all the management tools you need. Parental controls come standard and get network security at a premium price.
Google Wifi AC1200
If you’re more partial to the Google family of smart home devices, check out the AC1200. Being an internet giant, Google knows a thing or two about managing network traffic and packs those benefits into this system.
A great perk is that you can get network management tools with the Google Home app and enjoy a simple setup that can even integrate into an existing Nest Wi-Fi system. Google also will play well with many other IoT or smart home devices that use Zigbee.
Tenda Nova MW3
Another older name in the consumer networking space, Tenda, is offering one of the more budget options on this list. The Nova MW3 is robust and accommodates up to 40 different devices on this system alone.
If you’re hesitant about getting a mesh Wi-Fi system, consider this if only for the price. The Nova series is meant to be expanded and upgraded, so if you want more, you can upgrade without having to invest in an entirely new system.
NETGEAR Orbi AX5700
- Coverage up to 7,500 aq. ft.
- Great for 4K/ 8K UHD streaming, lag-free gaming, smooth streaming
- Supports 100+ devices
- Supports 802.11n, 802.11ax, and 802.11ac
If you’re looking for some of the best of the best, then look no further. The NETGEAR Orbi has some of the fastest speeds available. The Orbi System gets up to 10 Gbps with a wired connection and up to 6Gbps Wi-Fi. You’ll also get NETGEAR’s Armor software to protect your Wi-Fi and VPN options, as well.
This system is designed for hooking up a true palace, with up to 7,500 square feet of coverage. Plus, a massive limit of 100 devices means you’ll be able to throw those celebrity-style house parties and let all your guests on the Wi-Fi. But it doesn’t come with a palatial price. Instead, you can often pick this system up for under $500 — a steal considering the sweet network capabilities you get.
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