Are you getting enough oomph from your home WiFi? If you’ve got the need for speed, or are looking to boost your WiFi coverage to reach the whole household, a Mesh WiFi system (also called “Whole Home WiFi”) is worth a closer look. Read on to learn the answers to the four most common questions about Mesh WiFi.
What on earth is a “Mesh WiFi system”?
A Mesh WiFi system is a popular alternative to a traditional WiFi router setup and could be best described as a “large WiFi blanket”. Basically, it contains equipment to cover your entire house with a strong and reliable WiFi signal using “mesh routers”. A standard router will act as one highway that traffics the internet signal between your modem and all your connected devices, but that highway has its limits and can get congested. Mesh routers are like having multiple flowing highways that not only carry all that traffic more efficiently, but effectively extend your WiFi to a much greater geographic area. How does it work? Mesh WiFi routers share your network across multiple devices, usually two or more (these setups are completely scalable depending on your needs). You will get multiple sources of the WiFi signal, yet it’s all being broadcast on the same network in a neat package that’s relatively unobtrusive. The mesh system is generally made up of “nodes”, which are smaller components that are much more attractive and compact compared to your typical router.
Why use Mesh WiFi, is it really that good?
Routers have a limited range and tend to provide a WiFi signal in one concentrated area. This means most large or family-sized homes will have WiFi dead zones when relying on one router to go the distance – for example, to the Sonos system on the pool deck, the work PC in the upstairs study or the Nintendo Switch in the kids’ games room at the back of the home. The WiFi may struggle to penetrate all areas of the home where WiFi is needed, and this problem becomes amplified if there are multiple storeys, physical obstructions such as thick interior walls made of bricks or concrete, or if your home simply has a quirky layout. If you’re wanting WiFi in hard-to-reach places such as the backyard or balcony, a Mesh WiFi system is the answer. Mesh WiFi systems offer multiple access points for the WiFi, working with the design of your home – no renovations required! It’s like having a bunch of single routers, but they all share just one WiFi network with the same SSID (service set identifier, or the name assigned to the WiFi network) with one password to make life easy.
What is the difference between Mesh WiFi and WiFi extenders?
While Mesh WiFi systems and WiFi extenders have the same goal, to get better WiFi across the home, they both go about doing it a little differently – and there are some shortcomings with the latter. They both allow multiple WiFi access points but Mesh devices remain on the same network and your portable devices will effortlessly connect to the strongest WiFi signal as you move throughout the home. With WiFi extenders, devices need to manually switch between different networks, depending on which signal is the strongest, as you move throughout the home. Also, while WiFi extenders increase the range of your router, the WiFi signal strength and performance is usually dropped by about half along the way. This is not the case with Mesh WiFi, which allows for seamless roaming at the full speed and performance of your main router. While Mesh WiFi is slightly more costly, it’s a bit more “set and forget”.
How do I get Mesh WiFi set up in my home?
So you’re finally ready to invest in a Mesh WiFi solution! Generally you’ll buy a pack that includes one main device that acts as the router and should be installed in close proximity to your existing router or cable modem. It should be out in the open, not hidden in a cupboard that can dampen the signal. You’ll also get a couple of nodes, which are like satellite modules that only require power to work (no phone line required). Placement is key and you’ll want to position the nodes strategically for the best results and to eliminate WiFi dead zones. Consider the square footage of your home and how many levels there are. You can purchase additional nodes to enlarge your WiFi footprint for the system, as needed.
If you’re not a “techie”, don’t worry! There are hundreds of products on the market, but our telecommunications technicians can recommend a secure, dependable system to provide that blanket coverage for all the corners of your home and in-between. While you can attempt a setup yourself, a professional tech2 installation guarantees you’ll get the most from the system with everything functioning as it should. If you’d like us to install it for you, click here. Once your Mesh WiFi is set up correctly you will enjoy seamless roaming as you move around the home from one coverage zone to another – and you won’t have to worry about your WiFi for a very long time.