Benefits of a mesh system and picking the best mesh router
The wireless mesh network is an emerging technology that enables seamless connectivity. Research states that for an IOT ecosystem, mesh routers can be considered a key enabler – and it is quite easy to see why this is true. The biggest advantage is that the network is truly wireless, meaning that there is no need for cables buried in walls and ceilings.
Mesh also relies on the same wi-fi standards that already exist for most wireless networks. It can bring fast wi-fi where it is needed without getting complicated. People whose wi-fi system is completely broken and frustrating, should consider a mesh network. It is ideal for multi-story homes/offices or larger homes and offices since it sends out a powerful signal in all directions.
Benefits of mesh system
The wireless mesh system is convenient for an office or home that has several stories where regular wi-fi connection can be blocked by walls and other things. If wireless signals are sporadically blocked, the mesh network can adjust to find a clear signal from another nearby node. Even when nodes are blocked or lose signals, the mesh network automatically finds the fastest and most dependable path to send data.
Mesh is also configured in such a way that local networks run faster because there is no need for local packets to travel to a central server. A computer that is within the broadcast range of four nodes taps into four times the bandwidth of a traditional wireless router. Best of all, it is easy to install or uninstall wireless mesh nodes.
Picking the best mesh router
Nest Wi-Fi, Eero, Netgear’s Orbi and AmpliFi’s Instant are great mesh systems, but each system provides a very different experience that caters to different needs. Things to consider are performance, a user friendly setup, and the phone app.
Nest Wi-Fi by Google is fast, has almost automatic setup, and is easier to get into the settings through its smartphone app. It is esthetically nice to look at, provides constant updates, and can be expanded with Nest Wi-Fi Points or Google wi-fi routers. The router covers 2,200ft2 with a strong signal. On the downside it has few advanced features, needs a smartphone or a Google account to setup and use, and has limited settings and options when connection is lost. Price on Amazon $299.
The Orbi is not a mesh wireless system but it works in the same way and extends the network by using satellite units. It effectively speeds up the network anywhere in the house. Its advantages are that no account is required, it has advanced settings, has seven ports, provides more options, the satellite and the base are pre-programmed to work together and there is no speed loss from mesh forwarding.
Disadvantages are that it is big and not easy to hide, setting up can be confusing because of too many options and it is expensive if a second satellite is needed. Price on Amazon $301.
Eero is a tri-band mesh system. The units are small and look good and are easy to set up through an app. Eero Pro has a dedicated communication band that helps to deliver better speed because it leaves the other two bands open for devices. Its disadvantages include limited settings, setup requires a smartphone app, Eero Pro only has one open port and there are no ethernet ports on the Eero Beacon. Price on Amazon $399.
The AmpliFi HD looks different from the competing products. Each satellite has to be plugged into a wall outlet. It delivers strong whole-house Wi-Fi covering a 2,300ft2 area from one base. It offers 5 Gigabit ethernet ports on the base, does not need an account or a smartphone app and offers advanced settings.
Unfortunately, the satellites are huge and need to be mounted on a wall outlet and are not childproof. The satellites don’t have ethernet ports and they are not attractive. Price on Amazon $340.
Which one is the best depends on what a purchaser needs. Nest Wi-Fi is a plug-and-play model but requires internet access and a Google account to setup which some people don’t like. Eero is pretty straightforward, offers powerful performance and is compatible with smaller Eero routers and beacons for expansion.
Orbi has great performance and is ideal for people who need advanced QoS and forwarding options or who run a server. However, it is bulky and costly. AmpliFi is so powerful that it covers the house, the yard and can even be shared with a neighbor. However, it is risky for a house with small children.
Users can’t go wrong with any of these choices in terms of results. For a closer evaluation, read this resource on mesh routers.