What’s a Mesh Network?
Chances are, you use the internet for a number of different things during the course of your day. The internet plays a key role in everything from gaming and entertainment to social interaction and even work these days, so it’s important that you have a reliable internet connection. Depending on the layout and even the materials used in your house, though, it isn’t always easy to stay connected everywhere within the home.
If your Wi-Fi coverage isn’t quite what you wish it was, replacing your existing setup with a mesh network might be the answer. Mesh networks have become increasingly popular in recent years due to how easily they solve some connection and coverage problems. If you’re curious as to whether your home would benefit from a mesh network, here’s what you need to know.
How Mesh Networks Work
A traditional Wi-Fi network usually has a wireless router that serves as an access point, and perhaps a few additional access points connected to the network depending on its size. All of the data routing is handled by the router, and both signal strength and network speed vary depending on how far away you are from the router and/or the access points. Some materials can also block signals from the access points, explaining why it may be harder to connect to your network in some rooms than others (especially if you only have a single wireless router as your only access point).
Mesh networks remove the need for a central routing device and distribute access much more evenly throughout your home. Multiple network nodes are placed around your home, with each acting as an access point and playing a part in routing your connection through its most efficient path to the internet. One node connects directly to the Internet in much the same way that a wireless router would, but it also connects to every other node within its signal range. Each of those nodes also emits a signal, boosting your network so that it more easily covers your entire house. Your phone, computer, and other wireless devices all connect to the node that is closest to them, and the nodes automatically route the connection through the most efficient path to the internet at large.
Do You Need a Mesh Network?
There are definitely advantages to implementing a mesh network. If a single node goes down, the other nodes will automatically reroute their connections to ensure that coverage isn’t lost. Likewise, when multiple devices connect to a single node, the network can reassign some of those devices on the fly to prevent network congestion. If you have a lot of devices spread out across the entire house, or are trying to provide fast and reliable coverage throughout a large house or across multiple floors, this sort of smart routing and internet sharing will definitely make things easier.
With that said, mesh networks aren’t necessarily right for every home. If you have a small or single-floor home and are able to install your wireless router in a centrally located area, you can likely save money by installing a single fast wireless router instead of buying and installing multiple mesh nodes. This is especially true if you have a mostly open floor plan, as there will be little that would interfere with the wireless signal in most rooms.
Mesh Network Installation
While installing and setting up a mesh network is doable as a DIY project, it’s not a bad idea to talk to an electronics pro to make sure that you’re getting all of the equipment that you need to get yourself set up. You may also find yourself in need of an electrician to add additional outlets if you want to install nodes in areas where power connections are at a premium. Regardless of your need, HomeKeepr is here to help; sign up for a free account today to get in touch with pros that can help you get the network you want without breaking the bank.