The ideal smart home has changed a lot over the last few years, from a few smart bulbs and a thermostat to video doorbells and robotic lawnmowers. With an ever-growing number of connected devices in your home, there is an obvious bottleneck that can occur: Wi-Fi reliability.
The more devices you pile onto your network and the more widespread throughout your home they are, the more you’ll notice holes in your Wi-Fi coverage. That’s why if you are planning on making your home smart, you should have a mesh Wi-Fi system.
What is a mesh network, anyway?
It should first be noted that wireless routers are much better than they were just a few, short years ago. They support faster wireless speeds to better match the speeds your internet service provider delivers. They can also deliver enough range to fully cover a 3,000-square-foot (279-square-meter) house… assuming it’s located near the center of the house.
Before affordable, personal mesh networks came into play, if your router couldn’t reach a far corner of your home, you’d likely turn to powerline network adapters or convert an old router into a wireless bridge. While these are affordable solutions, they’re finicky and fairly complex to set up for a networking novice. And they don’t always play well with smart home gadgets anyway. A mesh network, on the other hand, is a combination of two or more wireless access points that communicate with one another to blanket your entire home with stronger, more reliable coverage. Almost all of the mesh kits available are incredibly easy to set up and use, and they can be tailored to suit your needs.
That means you can add more access points at will, with minimal setup, to bring Wi-Fi into parts of your home that were unreachable before.
Of course, mesh networks aren’t perfect either. Despite prices falling gradually, they’re still prohibitively high for most. Your network speeds, especially at the far reaches of your home, will be noticeably slower than near the node that’s attached to your modem.