Wi-Fi extenders are the most common booster devices used for improving Wi-Fi signals and improving network coverage but there are situations in which setting up and operating a mesh Wi-Fi network system is more suitable.
Pros of Mesh Wi-Fi: Benefits and Applications
A mesh Wi-Fi network system is somewhat similar to a Wi-Fi extender in regards to extending the range and coverage of a main Wi-Fi network. However, as regards its difference, instead of simply retransmitting or rebroadcasting signals, it involves using multiple satellite nodes or multiple access points that are connected to the main Wi-Fi router. Each node has its own signals and it communicates with one another to create a single and seamless wireless network with a wide area of coverage.
Below are the specific benefits and applications:
• Expands the Coverage of the Wi-Fi Network: A mesh Wi-Fi network is applicable in large areas such as a huge house or an office space with multiple divisions or floors. It is also suitable in situations that involve multiple devices and multiple users. The area of coverage is limitless because the mesh network can be expanded with the addition of more nodes.
• Seamless Coverage and Uninterrupted Connection: The entire mesh network system automatically routes traffic through the best available connection. This can be the main router itself or one of its nodes. A connected device moving in the entire coverage area would automatically connect to the best note with the strongest signal without interruption.
• Extends High-Performing Wi-Fi Bands: There are three main Wi-Fi bands. These are the 2.4 GHz band and 5 GHz band, as well as the newer 6 GHz band. The 2.4 GHz band has the longest range but has the smallest bandwidth. The 5GHz and 6 GHz bands have the largest bandwidth but they have the shortest range. A mesh network can extend these bands.
• Network Scalability and Ease of Setting Up: Another advantage of a mesh Wi-Fi network over a Wi-Fi extender is that it is scalable. Remember that the coverage area is limitless because expanding the network requires adding additional nodes. Setting up the mesh network is also considerably straightforward. There are devices that come with intuitive apps.
• Smart Features and Smart Home Support: Most systems nowadays also come with smart features such as intelligent bandwidth allocation or device prioritization, parental controls and other access controls, and device management. A mesh network also supports smart home devices such as smart speakers, control systems, and smart light bulbs, among others.
Cons of Mesh Wi-Fi: Limitations and Issues
A mesh Wi-Fi network system provides a superior wireless network experience over a base Wi-Fi network system or an extended network via a Wi-Fi extender or signal repeater. Remember that it is ideal for large homes, residential complexes, and large office spaces because it solves network coverage issues due to physical obstructions and range limitations. It is also suitable for situations with multiple users and multiple devices. However, despite these advantages, it is not the best solution for all situations.
Below are the specific limitations and issues:
• More Expensive than Wi-Fi Extenders: One of the main disadvantages of a mesh Wi-Fi network is that setting up means incurring additional costs. It is also more expensive to implement than a Wi-Fi extender. Take note that an extender is priced between USD 20.00 to USD 100.00 while a mesh Wi-Fi network system can cost between USD 250.00 to USD 500.00.
• Can Still Be Complex to Set Up and Use: Remember that most mesh network systems are relatively easy to implement. However, in some cases, there are systems that might not be as intuitive to set up and require technical assistance because of the absence of a complementary app. Non-tech natives might also have a hard time setting up a system on their own.
• Has Notable Limitations in Performance: It might offer superior performance over extenders or a base Wi-Fi router but it does not provide the same level of network performance as a wired network. Its performance is also determined by the main router and the internet plan. The network is also susceptible to interference from other signal-emitting devices.
• Possible Compatibility and Usability Issues: Most modern mesh Wi-Fi systems from well-known brands are compatible with modern Wi-Fi routers and devices. However, in certain scenarios, such as in the case of older systems, satellite nodes, routers, and devices, issues as regard compatibility and overall usability may arise. It is better to do prior research.
• Not Suitable in Simpler Issues and Some Cases: Remember that it is ideal to use a mesh Wi-Fi network for situations involving large spaces and multiple devices. However, considering the cost of implementing one, it is not ideal for simple wireless network coverage issues that can be solved with a better router or a Wi-Fi extender.