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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Mesh Wi-Fi: What it is, how it works and do you need it?

Here are all your questions about Mesh Wi-Fi networks answered, including how they work and whether you need a mesh network system.

By: Tech Desk | Mumbai |
August 25, 2021 8:53:08 am
mesh wifi, mesh wifi router,Here's all you need to know about Mesh Wi-Fi systems. (Image Source: Amazon)

A term used more and more commonly used in the home or office setups these days is Mesh Wi-Fi. The fancy named system claims a better range for your exciting wireless network without the loss of performance. However, they also come in a little pricey, making a lot of people wonder if they actually need an upgrade.

But what exactly is Mesh Wi-Fi? How does it work, and what benefits does it offer over other implementations of increasing your Wi-Fi range like simple range extenders? Most importantly, do you really need a mesh network for your setting? These are some of the questions we’ll answer today.

What is Mesh Wi-Fi?

Mesh Wi-Fi is a multi-nodal Wi-Fi network, where you have not just one single router that’s hooked to your internet cable or modem, but a combination of one main router and multiple other nodes. These nodes act as extensions and can be placed around your home or office setting to expand the range of your Wi-Fi network.

This comes in handy, especially if you have a bigger house, perhaps with multiple floors. More rooms mean more concrete walls that will often decrease your Wi-Fi range and affect performance. Mesh Wi-Fi solves that problem by using its strategically placed nodes to offer, in most cases, the same experience to all devices in the house.

How does a mesh network work?

In a mesh network, the multiple nodes are not connected in a series, but are all capable of interacting with each other independently. In networks with more than two or three nodes, a mesh network system will determine the quickest route (and one with lesser devices on it) from the main router to the device you’re using. This minimises overcrowding on a single channel while others remain unused.

Mesh wifi, mesh wifi systems, The working of a simple Mesh Wi-Fi system. (Image Source: TP-Link)

Benefits over range extenders

A mesh network may sound similar to a system of Wi-Fi range extenders, but it is not. Unlike a mesh system, range extenders will often suffer from poor performance due to the bandwidth taking a hit. This is because most range extenders will simply repeat an existing signal and are incapable of sending and receiving signals at the same time.

Range extenders will also at the end of the day, be separate networks entirely, and hence, not a true ‘extension’ of your existing network. As a consequence you will often have as many networks (SSID networks) as range extenders in your home. Not all devices may be smart enough to automatically switch between these pseudo-extensions and even if they are, it will still be a hassle.

Mesh networks on the other hand are much simpler and smarter. In addition to having the same SSID spread out across all nodes, mesh networks are also ideal for larger spaces, often supporting more than the usual two and three-node setups.

Are Mesh Wi-Fi networks for you?

Mesh networks are great but getting them set up also involves a higher cost, and the whole gig may not end up being worth it if your needs don’t demand it. So if you live alone in a small flat or are sharing your room with a few roommates, you don’t really require a mesh network. If your house is big and you have a number of walls that hamper the Wi-Fi signal and quality for other devices which belong to you or other members of the house, a mesh system might be worth investing in.

Remember that a mesh network will not directly translate to faster speeds, which usually is the sum of a lot of other factors as well. Take into consideration all these factors from your internet speed plan, to the number of devices eating on the bandwidth at once, and then decide if the benefits of a mesh network will really help you.

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