We want to move around, while working with devices and streaming content, but as soon as we move away from the router, signal level degrades more and more until it results in a WiFi dead zone. We are positive that mesh networking can help you organize an evenly spread signal.
With the ever expanding networking the single-router model doesn’t work out anymore, there is no way it can cover our modern requirements.
TP-Link Deco M9 Plus
Eero Home WiFi System
- 957 User reviews
What is mesh networking and how it works
A wireless mesh network consists of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology. Wireless mesh networks combine mesh clients, mesh routers and gateways. They distribute Wi-Fi signal evenly and solidly around your house or office.
In mesh networking, mesh routers are all connected and sending the WiFi signal from one to another as well as to the surrounding area. Basically it is like a patchwork blanket covering the whole space.
If your phone is connected to mesh router A and is trying to communicate with the cable modem connected to router C, the mesh router B in-between will provide the better communication.
These intermediary points are mesh networking “hops”. Each hop will introduce some delay, so there is a point in minimizing their number, i.e finding the most direct route among them. When you have enough mesh routers, if one is offline for some reason, the signal can find the way around thanks to alternative nodes.
Various mesh routers manufacturers (Eero, Luma, Netgear Orbi, Google WiFi) may have some differences, but there is one thing they surely have in common: they all promise to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones by covering your space with an evenly distributed Wi-Fi signal. They are all good-looking, easy to set up, very convenient after all.
Mesh Networking vs. WiFi extenders
If you have a large space that can’t be covered with a single powerful router, or there is no possibility to install a router centrally, or you can’t run Ethernet cables throughout the space, or maybe the walls are made of thick material that causes interference, the good solution would be implementing mesh networking.
A mesh network has a really good feature of self-reproduction: even if one or more nodes are not working or removed, a mesh network will redistribute data via another channel. Also whenever a new node is added, the mesh network can discover and configure new device.
Most of the times a good mesh networking kit will fix the issues with WiFi dead zones and will provide you with an even signal all over the space. And again, it is a no brainer to set such system up. However it doesn’t make your network signal faster.
Of course it will feel faster, because of the multiple access points and devices finding the signal faster and staying connected. A network with multiple access points can well handle a lot of devices better than one WiFi router. However a lot of spaces like single family homes and small businesses don’t have that many devices connected at once.
A WiFi extender is a good addition to your existing router before implementing a mesh network. Such decision will cost you less than getting rid of everything you had and investing in a mesh networking kit. The least expensive mesh kit is around $400.00, and sometimes it may be an unnecessary spending.
Here you can find more info on mesh networking, its purpose and how it can be useful for you.
To see the WiFi dead zones of your home or office, use NetSpot survey app that helps you manage your WiFi network in the most efficient way.
Top 5 Best Mesh WiFi Systems
The best mesh WiFi systems available in 2022 can cover even large buildings with a strong, reliable WiFi signal, eliminating all dead zones and supporting the most bandwidth-intensive applications. When selecting a mesh WiFi system, pay attention not only to its performance and coverage but also to usability and extra features.
The top 5 best mesh WiFi systems listed below can meet and exceed the expectations of the most demanding users, and they’re so easy to set up that anyone can install and configure them — no expert knowledge required.
Designed for homes and office buildings up to 6,500 square feet, the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is an advanced tri-band mesh WiFi system that can do almost everything you could possibly want it to do. It sells in a pack of three units. When connected, the three units broadcast a single 802.11ac WiFi network over one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands, ensuring smooth internet access and wireless speeds of more than 1,000 Mbps no matter how many devices you have.
In addition to being the best mesh WiFi system in 2022, the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is also a smart hub capable of interacting with Zigbee, Bluetooth, and WiFi devices from leading brands such as GE, Kwikset, Samsung, or Securifi.
The initial configuration of the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus is done using the Deco smartphone app. The app provides step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process and help you get your network up and running in minutes. The app is also used to block inappropriate online content, prioritize devices and applications, and protect connected devices from online threats.
- Smart hub capabilities
- Simple installation and configuration
- Built-in security features
- No web admin interface
The Nest Wifi is an improved version of the very popular Google Wifi mesh router, offering faster wireless speeds and more features. Google designed the Nest Wifi with regular users in mind to help them overcome the limitations of traditional routers and enjoy a strong WiFi signal everywhere.
If you live in an apartment, then all you need is the Nest Wifi router, which can cover up to 2200 square feet. To blanket even larger areas in fast Wifi, you can get the Nest Wifi router with either one or two satellites, which seamlessly extend the reach of the router to every room. The routers also double as smart speakers, allowing you to play music, find answers online, or control your wireless network with the help of Google Assistant.
To set up and manage the Nest Wifi mesh router, you need to download the Google Home app. The app provides convenient shortcuts to commonly used options, and it lets you control your smart devices and create automated routines.
- Google Assistant
- Simple set up
- Great performance
If you’re looking for a straightforward WiFi mesh system that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the eero 3-pack is a fantastic choice. It can cover an area of up to 5,000 square feet with a strong and reliable WiFi signal, making it great for large familiar and busy offices. Each eero has two Ethernet ports on the back for hardwire devices, such as your smart TV or desktop computer.
The guided setup process takes less than 10 minutes to complete from the eero app, which also provides an admin interface where you can check the status of your network, share access with friends, and even pause the internet to enjoy quiet time without any distractions.
- Compact design
- Straightforward setup process
- Limited performance
This award-winning tri-band mesh WiFi router is intended for demanding users who refuse to compromise when it comes to WiFi performance and coverage. The Netgear Orbi is equipped with four Ethernet ports (the router has three standard Ethernet ports and one WAN port), so you won’t have any trouble hardwiring all your static devices.
Setup and management are done via the Orbi app. Without overwhelming users with too many options, the app does a great job of exposing all functionality the Orbi has to offer, including parental controls, network monitoring, and NETGEAR Armor, and advanced cyber threat protection capable of stopping cyber threats such as phishing, malicious URLs, and privacy attacks.
- Admirable performance
- Elegant design
- Multiple Ethernet ports
- Relatively large
The LinkSys Velop stands out with its towering design and straight edges. The white or black case hides multiple high-performance antennas designed to emit a strong WiFi signal in all directions for perfect coverage and fantastic download and upload speeds. If you purchase the Velop router with two satellites, you can eliminate dead zones even in a 5+ bedroom multi-story home and provide reliable coverage for 4K streaming, gaming, and other applications.
You can control the Linksys Velop from anywhere using the Linksys App. Through the app, you can easily limit internet usage with features like Parental Controls, set up a guest network for your friends and other visitors, or upgrade the Linksys Velop WiFi mesh system to the latest version.
- Completely modular
- Great value
- Easy parental controls
- Lacks more advanced configuration options
Can I Build a Mesh Network with My Existing Router?
Yes and no. Technically, a WiFi mesh network is a form of wireless ad hoc network (also called computer-to-computer or peer-to-peer mode). An ad-hoc network allows wireless devices to communicate directly with one another without relying on a central router.
Such networks are often deployed to quickly and temporarily connect multiple wireless devices in situations when it wouldn’t make sense to run internet cables or deploy a router. Because ad-hoc networks don’t have any capability for multi-hop, device A and device B can communicate with device C only if the device is within range. If device C is within range of device B, which is within range of device A, device C and device A can’t still communicate with each other.
To create an ad-hoc network on Windows:
- Press Windows + X and select Windows PowerShell (Admin)
- Enter the following command to switch to the ad-hoc mode: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Network key=password
- Make sure to replace the Network variable with the name for your network and the key= variable with your password.
- Enter the following command to start the ad-hoc network: netsh wlan start hostednetwork
- Open Control Panel and go to Network and Internet → Network and Sharing Center → Change adapter settings.
- Right-click on your network adapter and select Properties.
- Go to the Sharing tab and check the Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection option.
- Save the changes by clicking the OK button.
Because ad-hoc networks typically have very limited coverage, it’s a good idea to use NetSpot survey app to discover signal dead spots and optimize the utilization of your network. We also recommend NetSpot when planning and deploying WiFi mesh systems, such as those listed above.
WiFi analyzer app runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10/11) with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax wireless network adapter.
- 957 User reviews
Mesh networking is powered by radio nodes placed in a proper way around the network space for the most optimal coverage. Nodes work with each other forming a mesh of solid signal throughout your wireless space.
Mesh is a network of routers working together and supporting each other in order to cover the surrounding area with an even wireless signal. Just like a system of cells. E.g. if your device is currently connected to router A and is trying to communicate with a modem connected to router C, the router B in between will help get the signal from source to destination.
This way of using the system of routers is called “hopping”. Be aware that each hop introduces a slight delay, so you want to use the minimum needed number of routers placed in the most efficient pattern for the best results. WiFi analyzer like NetSpot can help you find the optimal placement for every mesh router in your network.
A mesh networking kit is definitely the way to go when trying to achieve an even WiFi coverage and minimize dead zones. Mesh networks are also easy to set up. However it is not a cure-all, and there is no guarantee your network signal will be faster, but it will surely help you get a solid signal for all your devices connected to the network. NetSpot app will help you see WiFi dead zones and determine the proper placement for your mesh routers.
If you already have a decent network set up, and just need to extend it to another area, then it is definitely savvier to add a WiFi extender, rather than discarding your existing equipment and investing in a pricey mesh kit.
If you want to get more information about Wi-Fi, check out the following articles about Wi-Fi Extenders, Boosters etc.