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25th Jun 2018

Could a Mesh Wi-Fi Network Be Right for You?


Trying to watch the latest episode of your favourite Netflix show? It can be a real pain if you have a poor Wi-Fi signal. In fact, if you’ve got Wi-Fi troubles, you may find that things like streaming videos or playing games are virtually impossible.

It’s frustrating when your wireless networks are causing your Internet to work at a snail’s pace. And in 2018, there’s really very few excuses for slow Internet speeds. Fortunately, there may be a solution to your problem: Mesh Wi-Fi.

Is Mesh Wi-Fi Right for Me?

There are many reasons that you might consider incorporating a mesh Wi-Fi system into your home. In a moment, we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of mesh, but the basic premise of mesh is that it allows for a stronger, more reliable Internet signal to be broadcast throughout your home. Weak Wi-Fi in the bathroom? Not anymore. Dead zone on the back patio? No worries. Mesh serves to expand your wireless network to work well across your property.

You might want to investigate installing a mesh system if you consistently experience lagging web speeds, despite efforts to remedy the matter. Before investing money into new equipment, however, make sure you’ve spent time examining all options.

Check your router. Often, Wi-Fi troubles are just symptoms of the need for a hardware upgrade. In some cases, you may simply need a new piece of equipment.

Also take steps to ensure you’re maximising the potential of your wireless networks. There are factors that can influence your signal and range---even seemingly minor things. Double check to be certain you’re not inadvertently creating your own problems. Our article on factors that can impact your nbn™ speeds is written with Australia’s nbn™ in mind, but the key points can apply to all types of wireless networks. One important thing to check: is your modem or router placed in the best possible location in the home? The fix might be easier than you think.

If you’ve gone through and optimised your home for your Wi-Fi networks, but you’re still experiencing issues, it might be time to consider mesh. Mesh networks can be a great choice for those living in large, multi-room homes. Even smaller, more modest homes could potentially benefit from a mesh system, particularly if the building has thick, concrete walls or other signal-limiting obstacles.

In truth, it seems that the average home might find a mesh system to be appropriate. In these technologically advanced times, our homes have now become ‘smart.’ No longer are we only connecting to the web via a laptop or mobile device, we’ve got smart watches, smart home security systems, and a range of home appliances that use the network, too. While we may only have a handful now, by the year 2020, it is estimated that the average Australian home will have over 30 connected devices. To keep your smart home working “smartly,” you need dependable, solid Internet.

What is Mesh-Wifi and How Does it Work?

So perhaps a mesh system would be right for your home. But what exactly is mesh? It sometimes goes by many names, including whole house wireless or mesh networking. No matter its title, the idea of a mesh network is that it uses multiple connection points (usually called nodes) to send and receive signals simultaneously. This results in a reliable, strong Internet connection at all points of your home.

Essentially, mesh blankets your entire home with a great wireless signal.

A home can utilise as many nodes as is necessary. For very large homes, you may require several. These work in tandem, although there is a primary router (which is the largest) as well as smaller transmitters/nodes throughout the home.

What makes mesh so powerful is that it functions differently than other Wi-Fi extenders or repeaters. These can be a good solution in a pinch, but these merely relay your router's Wi-Fi signal, which means it deteriorates as it goes. An extender might extend the reach of a network, but it might do nothing for the signal strength.

Conversely, with mesh, the nodes all communicate with each other, leading to a strong signal in even the least centralised node. Instead of a one-way street, it’s a multi-directional Wi-Fi highway, and the result is no dead zones.

Imagine being able to move from one room to the next with no loss of signal strength? It’s a great goal, and mesh can enable that to happen. Even better, most mesh systems will automatically connect you to the node with the strongest signal. So as you move through your home, you’ll continue receiving the best possible connection. This is increasingly useful in a world dominated by smart devices.

Mesh systems are still quite a bit more expensive than a single router, with prices ranging around $400+. But users might enjoy their aesthetics. Traditional routers and modems can be a bit bulky, sometimes looking like an overly “techy” item that we’d rather hide away. Many of the newest mesh systems, however, are unobtrusive and subtle. The mesh routers with Google Wi-Fi are small, white cylinders; objects that you’d be unlikely to notice. This makes it easy to tuck them away throughout the home, and rarely having to think of them again. TechRadar gave Google’s mesh Wi-Fi a solid review, so it may be one worth looking into if you’re considering going “mesh.”

Success With Mesh: Your Expected Results

If you’re planning on investing in a mesh network, you may be wondering what the expected return will be. From various reviews circulating around the web, it seems that a mesh system really does make a noticeable difference. The Wire Cutter reviewed a dozen of the most popular mesh systems and reveal which options they found to be the most impressive. If you’re in the market for mesh, take a look at their findings.

Do you think your home could benefit from a mesh network?

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