Wireless networking technology has come a long way over the past several years. Modern Wi-Fi routers can, at higher price points, offer impressive range, excellent functionality, and a great deal of flexibility. They are, however, still not without fault.
Their range will always be limited, and expanding them beyond a certain point will end up being an exercise in frustration, fraught with dead zones and needlessly-complex network architecture.
That's where mesh networks come in. Rather than a single access point, mesh networks consist of multiple 'nodes.' Not only are they more dynamic and flexible than traditional hardware, with the release of Wi-Fi 6 they're almost entirely future-proof.
Here are just a few of the considerable advantages mesh Wi-Fi has over traditional.
Mesh networks are easier to configure
The initial setup for a mesh network and a traditional router follows most of the same beats. Make sure everything's connected and powered up, set up your SSIDs and passwords, and make sure all your devices are online. It's where scalability comes into the picture that mesh networks distinguish themselves, though.
If you want to expand a traditional wireless network, your only real option is to purchase a Wi-Fi range extender. Unfortunately, these devices don't so much expand your network as they use its signal to broadcast their own network. This means you're pretty much left with two separate networks, and have to toggle between the two when you move out of range of one.
With mesh, you don't have that problem. Expanding one is as simple as purchasing an additional node and wiring it into your existing network. No need to worry about multiple SSIDs, and no need to go through a lengthy configuration process – you can have a single SSID covering your entire home.
Mesh is far more resilient
If you're using a single router with range extenders, your entire network rests on the back of a single device. If something goes wrong with the router's firmware or hardware, then everything is offline. Mesh networks don't suffer from that drawback.
Because a mesh network consists of multiple 'nodes,' it tends to be a great deal more failure-proof than a traditional Wi-Fi network. Even if, for some reason, one node happens to go offline, the rest of your network will still remain functional. Where possible, the other nodes will even pick up the slack for the offline access point.
There are fewer dead zones
One of the most frustrating things about older networking hardware is its propensity to create dead zones. There's always that one single area of your home where, try as you might, you simply can't seem to get a reliable connection. A strategically-placed set of mesh access points can help you avoid this, ensuring better coverage and lower signal loss across your home or office.