What are Mesh Networks?
Many homeowners struggle with poor WiFi access often relying on a single router to spread the WiFi signal to all parts of the home. For example; homeowners who have their bedrooms separated from their router will suffer from stuttering movie streaming and other reduced download speeds.
We’ve relied on old technology.
In the past, the solution has been to use the internal wiring of the house to spread the WiFi signal throughout the house. This technology often referred to as Powerline networking. A pair of Powerline paired adapters transmits high-speed data between two electrical points on the same circuit. The receiving adapter would then rebroadcast this data by creating a localised access point.
The other solution is to have your new home pre-wired when being built with Gigabit Ethernet cabling or have an electrician run cables in a pre-built home. Wi-Fi access points, or APs, are configured at the far end of your home. By laying cable you’ll ultimately get the best throughput, but it is costly and often not possible due to the layout of the house.
The Future of Home Networking
To Mesh or not to Mesh!
Mesh Networking technology over the last few years has made its way into the home. Mesh Networking is a collection of network devices, such as access points, switches, and routers, all working together to improve the reliability and throughput of your Internet connection.
More Nodes the better!
Each device on the mesh network is called a Node. The Mesh nodes actively communicate with each to indicate their availability in the network. If a node fails, such as Wi-Fi access point, then the whole system reconfigures itself automatically to ensure reliability.
For example, a mesh network may include multiple nodes located in various parts of your home. So if someone accidentally unplugs or switches off a node, the other nodes cover for that node, making sure the Wi-Fi connection is always available. When the failed node comes back online, it automatically reconfigures and slots itself into the network.
Therefore your iPad, iPhone, or laptop will always have the “best-possible” connection. You can expect that each node would cover an approximate 185 sq/m of an area of your home. The bigger the house, the more nodes would be needed to ensure that Wi-Fi dead spots are eliminated, and the signal is reliable.
What extra features do Mesh Networks offer
There are a few Mesh networking kits on the market, namely Netgear Orbi, Google WiFi, Luma, and Linksys Velop. Mesh networking kits offer more than just Wi-Fi signal propagation.
They offer functionality such as;
- Offer dual-band support in the form of 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Nodes are backward compatible with an older Wi-Fi device but also providing a speed boost with new ones.
- Seamless initial setup and maintenance by using an App on a Mobile Device.
- Can integrate into Smart Home appliances such as Alexa, Phillps Hue, or IFTTT.
- Parental controls protect your children from undesired content.
- Network traffic from Wi-Fi/Wired devices prioritised over others.
Do you need a Home Wi-Fi Mesh network?
If you have a large home than totals more than +250 sq/m, have multiple floors, or have interior brick walls, then the answer is Yes.
Additionally, getting a perfect and reliable Wi-Fi signal, mesh systems have a few advantages, Easy network management, streamlines connections and tight security come to mind.
However, these systems have their drawbacks. The high cost of these systems can be prohibited for small budgets and having more equipment might not be the best solution either. A well-placed router in the home can often eliminate the dead spots instead. Although these nodes are often designed to blend into your home, having more nodes around the house may detract from the aesthetics.