What is a Mesh Wi-Fi System?
Optimizing your home network has become necessary these days due to the new normal of working from home brought about by the pandemic. People need a reliable and stable internet connection wherever they are now at home. It would be embarrassing when your internet cuts off during a video conference because your network isn’t stable. Or when on a call with people and you can’t move in and out of your room because of wi-fi dead spots around the house. This is where mesh Wi-Fi systems and optimizing your home network come in.
What is a mesh Wi-Fi system?
If you have a home with two floors, has many walls, or a weird layout, you probably encounter many Wi-Fi dead zones. The modern solution to this is using a mesh wi-fi system. A standalone router (provided usually by your internet service provided or ISP) limits your wi-fi coverage to just a small area. So it usually is strongest where your router is placed at. A mesh wi-fi system is like having multiple routers around your house that create a single network. A mesh wifi system triangulates the signal and gives the max speed you’re paying for throughout the house.
Modern mesh Wi-Fi systems are also straightforward and intuitive to set up. Many brands have easy-to-use apps that can instantly set up your mesh wifi after plugging in. And one of the best things about having a mesh Wi-Fi system is that you can go around the house without switching Wi-Fi networks. Your smart devices all automatically switch to the strongest signal available within that network.
Should you buy a mesh Wi-Fi system?
The simple answer is yes, for a lot of reasons. If you plan to move to a bigger house in the future, investing early in a mesh Wi-Fi system is something you could do. If your needs involve having a stable internet connection throughout the house, a mesh system could do wonders for you.
If you need a Wi-Fi system that is easy to control, most mesh Wi-Fi systems offer apps that allow you to control almost anything in your network. From limiting network access to certain people, firewalls, speed tests, and even creating guest networks, a mesh Wi-Fi system usually is easier to control than other traditional wi-fi setups.
I know a lot of you are also asking why not use a range-extender instead? Range extenders, even the most expensive ones, create a separate Wi-Fi network that you have to connect to (which isn’t the most intuitive thing to do when moving around the house). A lot of range extenders also don’t give you the full speed your network is capable of.
Most brands these days also allow different models of their routers to be used as a mesh network. So you can mix and match different models if you don’t want to buy a 2 or 3 pack system all at once.
Another advantage of a mesh Wi-Fi system is that newer ones are made for modern homes with multiple devices. We have smartphones, TVs, smart hubs, smart lights, and all the other Wi-Fi-connected devices managed by modern mesh systems using newer technology.
The only downside to a mesh system would be the cost. You have to buy 2-3 nodes or pieces to fully envelope your house. But these days, there are cost-effective models from different brands that offer mesh Wi-Fi system capabilities. You can get a 3-pack for PHP 5K, or you can go for more expensive ones ranging from PHP 11K to 15K. Some telcos are also bundling them with their fiber plans.
How do you optimize your network with a mesh system?
Of course, it starts with location, location, location. You have to position your router and the other mesh units in strategic places around the house where they can encompass the most space. You can place one per floor if you have multiple floors. Make sure you also put these nodes up high and where there aren’t any obstructions. Remember, Wi-Fi signals shoot down, so putting them higher optimizes their effectiveness.
As you install your mesh wifi nodes in different spots in the house, try to do speed tests and compare them to what you are paying to make sure you are getting the best internet speeds possible in different rooms of the house.
Once you’ve installed your Wi-Fi network, it’s time to go into the settings of your router. You will usually use the app provided with your mesh system, or sometimes you have to use your browser and go to a link like 192.168.1.1. Once you’ve accessed your router’s settings, the first thing to do is to upgrade the firmware. Make sure you are using the latest firmware or updates that your mesh system has to offer.
Most Wi-Fi networks also have two networks available to them. Don’t be surprised by this. One is your traditional 2.4GHz network, and one is the 5GHz network. The former reaches rooms further, but the 5GHz network is faster. Many routers and mesh systems separate the name for each band. One says 2.4GHz, and the other says 5GHz. Most of the time, they use the same password as well once you’ve set it up. Usually, you have to connect to the 5GHz network most of the time and only switch to the 2.4GHz when you’re pretty far out from the node.
Aside from having a mesh Wi-Fi system, the best way is to use an ethernet cable straight to your router if you use a PC or a laptop. The advantage of a mesh Wi-Fi system is that you can plug in an ethernet port from a node straight to your PC, even if that node is wireless. That will stabilize the internet connection of your PC or laptop.
Some routers also offer Quality of Service or QoS settings. This allows you to prioritize certain types of network traffic over others. You’ll find this handy if you are a gamer and want the bandwidth to prioritize your computer when gaming. You can make sure things take precedence depending on your preference. Certain routers also offer parental controls to block certain websites you don’t want your kids to access.
A mesh Wi-Fi system is really designed for the modern home. Everybody in the house is connected to the internet one way or another, and we all want to have the best possible experience when doing so. We also want to make the most out of the internet plan we are paying for. Sometimes a newer router or a mesh system will be the solution you need to maximize your internet at home. Whether it be work or play, a mesh system will go a long way in giving you the best possible experience online.
This article was written by Andre Co.