Coming from the professional world, WiFi Mesh networks are already a reality in the home. We tell you how they work and why it can in many cases be the ideal solution to have better Wi-Fi at home.
Home Wi-Fi networks can be a nightmare for many consumers who, due to the number of devices already connected to them in their home, or because of the size, configuration and peculiarities of their home, see how they have continuous connectivity problems.
Improving the home Wi-Fi network does not always go through a more powerful router or repeaters
Various smartphones, televisions, tablets, laptops, security cameras, thermostats … the number of devices at home that connect wirelessly to the Internet is growing exponentially. And with this growth in devices, despite having a high-level fiber optic connection, the home Wi-Fi network can end up working worse and worse in homes where the size of the house is considerable or there are many rooms.
In some devices, not having adequate bandwidth or having a short range may be admissible, but others such as our smartphone, the television with VOD systems such as Netflix or the laptop for leisure or work, are critical when it comes to having a Wifi network with sufficient flow and coverage.
The biggest problem with Wi-Fi networks in those large or long houses are dark areas, that is, without optimal coverage. The solutions most used today to reverse this situation resort to PLC systems, a more powerful router or with more antennas, and especially repeaters or network extenders, mainly due to their affordable cost. However, the problem remains in many cases or the overall performance is not what we expected.
If you have ever wondered how hotels, restaurants and large leisure areas do to have a stable Wi-Fi network despite the area and number of clients to be covered, mesh or mesh networks are the answer.
In recent years, with a lower price and more options for the consumer market, Wifi mesh networks are a highly recommended alternative to the router + lifelong repeaters.
What is a mesh or mesh WiFi network
Little by little, in the domestic sphere, people are talking more about mesh networks. Basically, a mesh-type Wifi network is a network made up of a router / base station and its satellites or access points that communicate with each other to form a single Wifi network with the same SSID and password for the user.
A priori it may seem that they do the same as a current router with several repeaters, but it is not. To begin with, repeaters do not all communicate with each other but usually only with the router. In the case of Wifi mesh networks, its strong point is precisely in the advanced management of the elements of the network.
A mesh network is capable of redirecting traffic through the network always in the optimal way to always have the best possible signal in our network. Wifi mesh networks calculate to which node / satellite it is best for us to connect at any given time according to the status of other nodes, the connected devices, the distance to each of the satellites, signal strength and many other factors, completely Transparent to the user, who does not have to worry about which node he is connected to.
This intelligent management of traffic and network situation is the other great difference with repeaters, to which devices are usually connected according to their proximity and not the real situation of the WiFi network. Thus, even if a node or AP fell, in a mesh network we would not lose the signal because the system would automatically redirect the traffic to our device through other nodes on the network, which can be connected to any other node in the mesh network.
Indeed, in many cases the use of repeaters tends to cause problems in areas where, because the management system is not advanced, the device can lose the signal due to not knowing which repeater to connect to or if it must still connect to the main router. In this indecision there are small cuts and even continuous jumps between repeaters or repeater and router that are what end the patience of users who had made a significant investment in devices that have not just improved the Wi-Fi network at home.
Advantages and disadvantages of wifi mesh networks
So far we have talked about mesh networks with the overwhelming majority of advantages. This intuitive ready-to-use configuration, and the fact that the system takes care of finding the best way for us to have the best signal at all times, are the great advantages of mesh or meshed Wi-Fi networks. The user does not have to worry about how his Wifi network works.
The wireless mesh devices are also network equipment very well designed, with internal antennas in most cases, and perfect for integration into any room. They are nothing like classic routers, and the extra access points, which we can expand at any time, do not require more than a power cable.
In some Wi-Fi mesh equipment, the systems do not use the bands reserved for the Wi-Fi network for their own communication or with the router, so it is bandwidth that is free for the consumer and the Wi-Fi signal itself.
But not everything are advantages. Currently, WiFi mesh network systems have a higher price than routers or a combination of router + repeaters equivalent in performance, but we insist that, depending on the case, they ensure a more optimized operation and better coverage of dark areas of large houses or complicated for classic Wi-Fi networks.
Neither do Wi-Fi mesh networks have the same variety in brands, models or configurations as current systems, and they are usually systems where the expert or passionate about networks has fewer options to modify, since the key to these Wi-Fi mesh networks is usually more on the side of advanced software rather than hardware. Plugging in and pulling the app to start up is the only thing the user has to do.