Mesh WiFi: What is Mesh WiFi – The Future of True Wireless Technology

Mesh WiFi: What is Mesh WiFi? - Image courtesy to TP-LINK

Image courtesy: TP-LINK

Mesh WiFi commonly advertised as Whole Home WiFi solution by giant networking gear provider built to provide solution by serving a purpose to broaden the wireless coverage mostly for larger homes. This solution was made to eliminate the dead-spots in the house to enable the wireless signal to be made available in every inch of the house while maintaining connectivity, stability and throughput. This seamless solution only requires one single SSID for both bands, i.e. techcyn & techcyn_5G simultaneously to roam throughout the house without any hassle unlike the traditional router. In a simpler layman term, a single node takes charge as the master while the other nodes will follow the order from the master under the same rule.

Why Mesh WiFi is the future?

As the name suggests, mesh WiFi uses mesh network topology by adding more nodes in the same network while retaining its function to enhance the routing of data transmitted to or from the client device. Mesh WiFi eliminates the limitation of traditional wireless router to extend the wireless coverage to the entire house and this can be further enhanced by adding more nodes though it depends on the manufacturer’s advice/solution.

Is Wireless Extender same as Mesh WiFi?

The function of Mesh WiFi serves not only to broaden the wireless coverage, it also serves to maximize the wireless throughput for the connected wireless clients. In other word, a wireless extender halves your bandwidth while mesh solution doesn’t. Some manufacturers include features such as Self-Healing or Seamless Roaming that allows no disruptions in wireless connectivity while roaming throughout the house or if one node fails as other nearest nodes takes charge of the dead nodes within a split second.

Are Mesh WiFi solution can work as a normal Wireless Router?

Yes. Most available mesh solutions in the market can be used as a router. As an example, I bought a pair of ASUS RT-AX92U, and I can make any one of the pair as the main node to function as a router while the another node take charge as the master node orders. However, the downside of mesh solution is, the number of available ports are limited to two or three in some cases with one of them functioning as dual WAN/LAN. If the mesh WiFi solution intended to be made physically available for power devices that requires constant, stable internet connection such as PC, laptops or gaming consoles, this will be troublesome for some as you need to invest in a switch.

No. of Nodes (Incl. Master Node) House Size (sq)
1 < 1000
2 ≤ 5000
3 ≤ 6000
4 > 8000

The table above shows the minimum recommended amount of mesh WiFi node needed to fully utilize the wireless coverage according to the house size. The data given is based on the real-time situation as signal congestion is real and in some cases, a pair of mesh WiFi solution is needed to cover an entire 1400 square-feet house. Other advantages of mesh WiFi’s are it is multi-operational, this means the mesh either can work as a router or as an access point (AP) or as a mesh node.

If I use a router from brand X, can I use the mesh WiFi from the brand X to work with the router from brand X?

Well, it depends on the manufacturer itself. As an example, ASUS standardize their AiMesh feature for their Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6 routers and their mesh solution while TP-LINK’s OneMesh won’t work with their mesh solutions. Always reassure the mesh compatibility of a router from brand X with mesh WiFi from brand X before buying.

Advantages of Mesh WiFi

  • Widely available in the current market
  • Eliminates wireless dead-zones in large homes
  • Supports latest wireless protocols, i.e. 802.11ac and 802.11ax
  • Comes standard with optional mesh nodes, i.e. two-pack or three-pack or more
  • Slightly cheaper compared to high end wireless routers
  • If one node fails, it doesn’t affects the entire wireless system
  • Multi-operational mesh WiFi

Disadvantages of Mesh WiFi

  • Price varies according to brands
  • Not all mesh WiFi solution gets security updates, i.e. kr00k
  • Only theoretical wireless speed is achievable in real-time (same as wireless speed achievable through a standard wireless router)
  • Need a suitable wireless client (adapter) to fully utilize the wireless speed
  • More nodes, more wireless-band congestion
  • Time consuming to troubleshoot if one node fails unless there is a special algorithm coded in the firmware to let know which node fails and vice versa

Conclusion

Since we are moving towards Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be) era, mesh WiFi is one of the recommended solution to eliminate the dead-zones in large houses. Mesh solutions are getting cheaper these days as the demand of mesh solution skyrocketing compared to wireless routers. This is due to most modern users prefers mesh solution instead of having to invest on an expensive high-end routers just to get a good wireless coverage. Large networking gear provider such as ASUS, Linksys, Netgear and TP-LINK are now offering their newest mesh solutions featuring WiFi 6 in their newer models as standard and of course with a higher price in return.





Categories: Editorials

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