Why Choose a Mesh Network Over a Wireless Router
Jeremy AtkinsOctober 17, 2018
You’re lying in bed catching up on the most recent YouTube videos and suddenly the video stops and you get the little pinwheel loading screen. You check to see how much signal you have from your Wi-Fi and realize your bed is a dead zone. Your Wi-Fi signal doesn’t reach far enough. How do you fix this? Welcome to the new wireless home networking solution: mesh router systems. Simply put, mesh router systems are multiple small routers that talk to each other to provide a seamless wireless network throughout your house. Here is why you should make the switch from a wireless router to mesh network.
Flaws of the Traditional Wireless Router
Before getting into mesh systems, it’s key to understand why traditional wireless solutions don’t work. There are a couple main reasons manufacturers are switching over to produce mesh systems. First of all, a wireless router works best when it’s in the middle of a room. The problem? The look of traditional wireless routers range from boring to alien spaceship. Most people don’t want the below wireless router in the middle of their living room.
The second reason wireless routers are decreasing in popularity is that they take a lot of know-how in order to be set up correctly. Here’s an example of what you have to go through. First you make sure there is a hard connection to the router. Then you enter a series of numbers into the address bar on your web browser to access the setup screen. Don’t forget the default login and password! Meanwhile, you’re checking to make sure the subnet mask is correct and the static DNS is run through the right port on the router…what!? This process is especially onerous when trying to set up multiple access points through your house.
Enter: Mesh Network
There are many benefits to mesh networks. Here are the main ones:
- They are simple to set up and work with an app on your smart phone. All you have to do is place the units in your home, pick what room they’re in on the app, and you’re good to go. (Note: You will still need to have an Internet Service Provider, just like you would with a traditional wireless router.)
- They require minimal wires. Another benefit is that mesh networks require minimal wires. Instead of running cable throughout your house to plug every unit in, you only have to connect the main unit to the modem. The other units just need power. This easy solution avoids you cutting holes in the walls to plug in every individual unit.
- They’re built with aesthetics in mind. Because mesh networks are best placed out in the open, these routers are built to look good and blend into the background. Some have glowing lights to let you know how the network is performing (these can also be turned off). The units fit on shelves of knickknacks better than any alien spaceship (Super Star Destroyer Legos notwithstanding).
- They reach a lot of space. The most popular mesh networks on the market will cover a house up to 4,500 square feet. That’s a pretty big house. You won’t find a single wireless router on the market that will be able to cover that much space. Now, coverage that large does come at a price. The best mesh networks on the market can range anywhere from $250 to $600. But when high-end wireless routers approach $300 themselves and can’t cover your whole house, $250 isn’t too bad.
Product Choices: Mesh Network Systems
While there are many mesh network systems, I recommend looking at three products: Google Wifi ($300), Orbi Home WiFi ($370), and eero Home WiFi System ($400). They are all simple to set up and coordinate with an app on your Android or iPhone. Another benefit is the parental controls feature, so you can turn the Wi-Fi off during family dinner or bedtime. Lastly, they all look nice and are unobtrusive. Check out a video or two on YouTube to make an educated decision on which system would fit you best.
Mesh networks are the new trend in wireless networks. Don’t settle for the loading pinwheel when you’re trying to get work done on your network. Step up your wireless game and get a mesh network.