Is a Wi-Fi Mesh Network Worth It?

The advantages and disadvantages of mesh Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi mesh networks are the latest option for anyone keen to expand their home network. Mesh networks work differently from standalone routers and are created by linking together two or more routers, expanding the area in your home covered by a Wi-Fi signal. They can be beneficial for some users, but they might also be overkill for your needs. Here's a look at what you need to know about whether a mesh Wi-Fi network is worth it for you. 

Is a Mesh Wi-Fi System Worth It?

For some users, it's simple to answer this question. Does your current home network work just fine? You probably don't need a new mesh Wi-Fi system then. 

If you find your existing home network keeps dropping out or there are dead spots in your home where the signal does not reach, then a Mesh Wi-Fi system could be a good solution. Designed to fill gaps in your home coverage, they are particularly well suited to large homes or homes with thicker and older walls.

It's important to consider how much you need extra coverage. If the dead spot is an area you never use and your home network works just fine, otherwise, it might be excessive to buy a new mesh Wi-Fi system just for this when you could buy a Wi-Fi extender instead. 

Is Mesh Wi-Fi Better Than Router?

Mesh Wi-Fi has some substantial benefits over a regular router. Here's a look at the key advantages.

  • Easy to manage. Most mesh systems are fully automated and work via a cellphone app, saving you the need to log into your router regularly to adjust settings. It's often far easier to manage and ideal for less experienced users of networks.
  • Streamlined network. Rather than needing to set up Wi-Fi extenders or power line adaptors, it's possible to use a Wi-Fi mesh network for all your needs saving the hassle of juggling multiple devices.
  • Looks neater. Wi-Fi mesh network devices often look like smart speakers or similar, so they blend into your home surroundings better than a traditional router or Wi-Fi extender. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Mesh Wi-Fi?

Mesh Wi-Fi isn't perfect, although it solves a big issue for many users. Here's a breakdown of some of the critical disadvantages of mesh Wi-Fi.

  • It's expensive. A Wi-Fi mesh network is often more costly to set up than a regular router. That's because it comprises many components, including multiple units. 
  • It's overkill for some. Wi-Fi mesh networks often cover a large amount of ground, which can be overkill for some users. Owners of large homes won't have a problem, but it's worth considering if you have an apartment or a small house.
  • It takes up room. While individual Wi-Fi mesh network units are often subtle-looking, they take up space. You'll need to ensure you have a spare power outlet and place to store each of them. 

Why Is Mesh Wi-Fi Bad?

Mesh Wi-Fi isn't bad, but it can be unnecessary for some users. It's worth considering whether you can better resolve a dead spot in your home using a Wi-Fi extender. 

If you're a fan of tweaking network settings and being able to see what's going on with your network, a Wi-Fi mesh network can also feel quite limited as they rarely offer as many advanced features as a regular router. 

It's essential to weigh how you want your network to work and which features are most important to your home. 

FAQ
  • What's the difference between a Wi-Fi extender and a mesh network?

    Both types of devices strengthen Wi-Fi in your home, but the coverage and set up differ. A Wi-Fi mesh network consists of several routers arranged strategically in your home to distribute Wi-Fi evenly on one network. Wi-Fi extenders are small standalone devices that connect to your primary router and extend the signal where it's most needed.

  • How do I set up a mesh Wi-Fi network?

    When you're ready to set up a mesh network, start by plugging in the primary node to your modem with an Ethernet cable. Use the manufacturer's app or web page to create and log in to your account. Scan or enter the code on the primary node and set a location. Repeat this process for each additional node you set up.

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