No one wants to struggle with dead spots or slow connections on a home or business Wi-Fi network. Adding Wireless Access Points or a mesh network are two effective ways to eliminate these problems by expanding your Wi-Fi network, offering you a reliable, secure connection everywhere you need it.
What is an Access Point?
An access point is a device that creates a wireless local area network, or WLAN, usually in an office or large building. An access point connects to a wired router, switch, or hub via an Ethernet cable, and projects a Wi-Fi signal to a designated area. For example, if you want to enable Wi-Fi access in your company’s reception area but don’t have a router within range, you can install an access point near the front desk and run an Ethernet cable through the ceiling back to the server room.
What is Mesh Wi-Fi?
Mesh Wi-Fi is a multi-nodal Wi-Fi network, where you have not just one single router that’s hooked to your internet cable or modem, but a combination of one main router and multiple other nodes. These nodes act as extensions and can be placed around your home or office setting to expand the range of your Wi-Fi network.
This comes in handy, especially if you have a bigger house, perhaps with multiple floors. More rooms mean more concrete walls that will often decrease your Wi-Fi range and affect performance. Mesh Wi-Fi solves that problem by using its strategically placed nodes to offer, in most cases, the same experience to all devices in the house.
How does a mesh network work?
In a mesh network, the multiple nodes are not connected in a series, but are all capable of interacting with each other independently. In networks with more than two or three nodes, a mesh network system will determine the quickest route (and one with lesser devices on it) from the main router to the device you’re using. This minimises overcrowding on a single channel while others remain unused.
Are Mesh Wi-Fi networks for you?
Mesh networks are great but getting them set up also involves a higher cost, and the whole gig may not end up being worth it if your needs don’t demand it. So if you live alone in a small flat or are sharing your room with a few roommates, you don’t really require a mesh network. If your house is big and you have a number of walls that hamper the Wi-Fi signal and quality for other devices which belong to you or other members of the house, a mesh system might be worth investing in.
Remember that a mesh network will not directly translate to faster speeds, which usually is the sum of a lot of other factors as well. Take into consideration all these factors from your internet speed plan, to the number of devices eating on the bandwidth at once, and then decide if the benefits of a mesh network will really help you.
How to Choose Between Them
Both Wi-Fi network expansions can expand coverage to every corner of your home or office, and offer connections that will feel seamless as you move between rooms. Mesh networks may be a little slower (though you may not notice it) because they share the Wi-Fi signal, and need extra milliseconds to coordinate data transfer with each other. While a more robust connection comes with WAPs, they do require data cabling to generate that connection. Both ways of widening your Wi-Fi signal produce effective, reliable results, and choosing between them can depend on your budget, networking needs, and other preferences.