What Do I Need for a Mesh Network?

Tips on setting up a mesh network

If you're considering buying a mesh network for your home, it's vital to possess the right equipment. It's pretty simple to do, but we've taken a look a what you need to consider first. 

What Do You Need for Mesh?

To install a mesh network, you only need to consider a few things, but each is critical to success. Here's an overview of what you need for a Wi-Fi mesh network.

  • A mesh network system. You need a Wi-Fi mesh network system before getting any further. Find one that offers the right features for you and matches your budget.
  • Space for the extra equipment. A Wi-Fi mesh network requires multiple devices that look like routers. Plot out where you'll locate them and ensure you have the space and a power socket nearby. Some devices plug into an outlet, so they won't have wires or take up any flat surface (although some do).
  • A modem. You can either hook up your existing router/modem combo or a sole modem to your main mesh router for it to be able to share internet coverage with other devices. 

How Do You Create a Mesh Network?

Setting up a mesh router is relatively simple to do. Often, you need to plug in the first router, download a relevant app to your smartphone and follow the instructions in the app. 

It's crucial to locate other units of the mesh network somewhere convenient. Most mesh network apps guide you through the process, but planning is always a good idea. Consider where you'll put the other one or two units and make sure each is well spread out around your home, so the signal extends to the best of its potential. 

Does a Mesh Network Replace a Router?

Yes, a mesh network's purpose is to replace the need for a router. The only time you may need to use your existing router is if it also works as a modem for providing you with an internet connection.

Otherwise, you should expect to replace your router entirely with the mesh network, just like when buying a new router. However, it is possible to use a mesh network in tandem with your current router, but most shouldn't need this unless your ISP requires it.

Do You Need an ISP With a Mesh Network?

Without an ISP, your mesh network won't connect to the internet, so you'd have to have a specific use case for setting up a mesh network. Most ISPs don't require you to use their equipment, meaning you can use a mesh network separately from an ISP's devices. It's worth checking what kind of equipment your ISP uses in case you need to keep their router and run it in conjunction with a mesh network, or it also doubles up as a modem and needs to be used in that way. 

In terms of setting up a mesh network, it's possible to set one up without an internet connection. Still, it's far more convenient to have internet access so that you can download the relevant smartphone app from your existing connection before you switch things over. 

  • What are the disadvantages of a mesh Wi-Fi network?

    Mesh networks are more expensive and more complicated than setting up a Wi-Fi network with a regular router. Also, bandwidth decreases as information travels between access points.

  • Is there a monthly fee for mesh Wi-Fi?

    No. Your ISP may charge a monthly fee if you rent a modem or router, but you don't have to pay extra monthly to use a mesh network.

  • How do I increase bandwidth in a mesh network?

    Make your Wi-Fi network faster by moving your mesh units closer to the main router and removing any nearby obstructions. Try switching Wi-Fi channels to avoid outside interference. To get the internet speed you're paying for, you also need an appropriate modem.

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