Household networking is now essential as we connect more and more devices to our internal wireless systems. The problem with today’s standard way of doing wireless networking in the house is degradation of the signal decreasing throughput the further you get from the wireless hub.
There are extenders that can be used however, every hop on an extender drops your speed in half. It’s not the best way to provide good coverage and coverage that can be counted on. Even if you’re in a smaller place such as a condo, performance of the network can be severely degraded at different spots due to one thing and another.
The most current technology that effectively deals with this issue is that of a mesh network.
The Three Best Mesh Systems
Not all mesh systems are created equally alike. However, a certain mesh system might be more appropriate for your situation. For the purposes of this article I’m going to look at three mesh networks that will all likely provide you with what you’re looking for. There are of course more but these are the best known and their capabilities are equally sound.
Netgear produces the Orbi system which generally turns in the best performance but it veers from the spec somewhat. This really isn’t an issue unless you want a system that is true as true can be.
The Velop from Linksys is as close to the standard as you’d want and it’s slightly lower performance threshold is relatively non-significant.
Google produces a mesh network which also adheres to the spec and it‘s a good performer. It along with the others will provide you with a massive coverage area all at good speeds.
Extender vs Mesh
As I mentioned, there are really two significant ways of enhancing wireless networking. One is the extender approach wherein you have primary source hub and a satellite that effectively extends you’re network farther than it can get from the source. The following diagram depicts this form of networking well:
This is relatively simple in concept and it works as such. However, for each hub that you use to extend your network, performance decreases by about half. The farther away from the source, the lesser the performance. Then you extend that and it drops by half.
If you’re using a relatively slow speed network, there might be a non apparent gain. The devices receiving the signal often require a certain speed. The best example of this is your entertainment system. If it has too degraded a signal, the playback can be choppy to it just can’t sustain a signal for playback.
Mesh networks do not have this hop degradation associated with them. Whatever your source is, your extensions will play at the same speed. You can theoretically have a mesh network covering a large house providing an excellent signal everywhere. When looking at the following diagram it is easy to see how the network overlaps but maintains speed and enhances distance performance dramatically.
Some Wifi Hubs are Sufficient however ….
Depending on the geography of your locale, a WIFI hub might prove all you need to reach your outer limits with fine playback. However, if the system needs help, the only disadvantage of an extender is price. A mesh network will win out in all scenarios hands down.
You could easily cover off say a 6000 square foot house adequately. Considering the number of devices being run in a household (computer, smartphone, iPad, AppleTV, Sonos) and the distances from the hub those devices might get (2,000/3,000 ft), you should be looking at ways to improve your signal so that you can surf the net, enjoy music and watch video in comfort.
In this video the fellow talks about why he likes the Google mesh network:
And in this video a comparison between the Velop and the Google Mesh network are outlined:
In Tom’s guide he explains how he found the Orbi to be the best of the bunch.
There are many Mesh Networks but You can’t Go Wrong with any of the Above
It would be easy to compare a wide variety of mesh networks. Not all are created the same. In this article, the three that have been looked at are outstanding. You can’t really go wrong with any one of the three.
However, where you can go wrong is if your network is running sub par because you need to employ something like a mesh network. You won’t necessarily go without some problems but you will enhance your enjoyment of all your wireless devices if they are well connected. Although you might think that some of these networks are pricey, they are coming down slowly in price while you simply can’t beat a movie that plays back flawlessly.