WiFi Mesh: how to increase wireless coverage

WiFi Mesh
More and more often we hear about slow and poorly covered Wi-Fi networks, especially in buildings and houses where there are many similar networks nearby.
In addition to focusing on a more powerful modem with directional antennas, we can improve Wi-Fi coverage and obtain excellent connection speed in every room of our home by focusing on WiFi Mesh technology, increasingly present in new modems or points wireless access of the latest generation.
We will, therefore, show you in this guide what is WiFi Mesh, how can we configure it for any type of house or home e the best compatible router and Wi-Fi Extender models with technology, so you already know what to buy.

 

Complete WiFi Mesh Guide

In the following chapters we will briefly show you what a WiFi Mesh network is, what we need to do to configure one and finally a series of modems, routers, and Wi-Fi Extenders compatible with the technology. At the end of the reading, we will be able to configure our WiFi Mesh network and increase wireless coverage in any scenario.

What is WiFi Mesh

WiFi Mesh is a transmission technology that allows devices to always connect at maximum speed, following the transmitted and received data as short as possible (in a typical configuration with 2 or more Mesh units). The various Mesh units, therefore, see each other as an integral part of the same network and not as an “extension of the other”: this allows us to obtain a strong signal and a high transmission speed even in houses larger than 100 square meters or on several floors.
In the Mesh network, the fundamental unit is not the access point or gateway, but a “node”. A node typically contains two or three separate radio systems and firmware that allows you to communicate with each other, even if some are out of range from the others. Client Wi-Fi adapters in phones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, devices, and other devices normally connect to these nodes, just as if they were network gateways or standard access points. Mesh nodes determine the optimal path for transmitting each packet of data from the first node that receives it to the node closest to its destination. A phone and a computer on the same network could, therefore, connect to different nodes. Since nodes dynamically and constantly regulate radio and routing parameters, optimal performance and coverage are always achieved.
Mesh

The transmission frequencies used are the same as for simple Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz), as well as transmission protocols (IEEE 802.11n or 802.11ac / ax). In fact, we can connect to any point of the Mesh network always using the same network name and the same password, without any distinction (which differentiates it from the simple Wi-Fi Extender). To learn more about wireless technologies, we invite you to read our guides to Differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks; which is better? is Better an 802.11ac or 802.11n router?

How to configure WiFi Mesh

To configure a WiFi Mesh network we will need at least two devices: one that acts as a “Master” (Internet signal management and propagation) and another (or the others) that act as “satellites”. Even single solutions with a single module are on the market they are not superior to simple modems or routers: to create a true WiFi Mesh network you need (at least) 2 modules compatible with the technology.
Mesh extender

The module identified as “Master” can be connected via Ethernet cable to the modem supplied by the operator, so as to be able to correctly propagate the Internet signal on the Mesh network that we are going to create; the satellites will instead be positioned in the field of coverage of the Master (where the signal is still strong), so as to be able to extend the Mesh network without configuring anything (the Mesh network will use the SSID name and password set on the Master module). By connecting a device to one of the satellites of the Mesh network, we will obtain the same speed that can be obtained if we connect the same directly from the modem or to the Master, even if we are at a reasonable distance from the actual access point.

The Master can also be “interpreted” by a modern modem: the Fritz! Box modems, for example, create their own Mesh network and allow you to take advantage of this technology with the Wi-Fi Extender and Wi-Fi Powerline of the same manufacturer, so as to avoid the addition of a new Master to the modem to manage the new satellites.

Which devices to buy to install a Mesh network

After seeing what WiFi Mesh is and how it works, we will show you the best WiFi Mesh kits that we can buy online, so as to save a little something (we consider that this technology tends to be very expensive at the time of writing, so we will have to carefully choose the kit to buy).

Mesh Network AVM FRITZ!

If we want to create a very powerful Mesh network that can cover even the largest houses, we can focus on AVM products, also known in Italy as AVM FRITZ!

As Master of the Mesh network, we will use the AVM FRITZ! Box 7590 (199 €).
Mesh AVM

It presents itself as a complete modem/router compatible with ADSL and VDSL (mixed copper fiber or FTTC), can be used in cascade on pure fiber optic modems, and has a fast wireless connection AC + N 2533 Mbit / s, which can be extended through dedicated Mesh technology.

We can connect the AVM FRITZ! Repeater 1200 (€ 69), the AVM FRITZ! WLAN Repeater 2400 (€ 85) or the AVM FRITZ! Kit to the AVM modem. Powerline 1260E WLAN (€ 150) to create an effective self-configuring and immediately ready-to-use mesh network.

TP-Link Mesh Network

If we want to save money on the Mesh network, we can focus on the complete TP-Link Deco E4 kit (€ 89).
TP-Link mesh

The Kit includes a Master (to be connected to the modem) and two satellites ready to be placed in the most distant areas of the house, so as to be able to take full advantage of the Seamless Roaming system, the AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi network and the 2 Ethernet ports integrated on each module (for cable connections).

Huawei Mesh Network

Huawei also provides its practical solution to create the WiFi Mesh network, focusing on the Huawei Wi-Fi Q2 Pro kit (€ 149).
Huawei mesh

With this kit, we will have a Master to be connected to any modem or router and two satellites able to function both as Mesh repeaters and as Powerline WLAN, with an optimized system to take advantage of the 5 GHz Wi-Fi for video streaming and for video games.

Netgear Mesh Network

One of the best Mesh networks we can create involves the use of the Netgear Orbi WiFi kit (€ 279).
Netgear mesh

With it we can create a fast Mesh network for pure optical fiber with wireless Triband AC2200 with extended coverage up to 370 square meters, parental control, integrated protection from major cyber threats and optimization for video, streaming and video games.

Google Mesh Network

Finally, we point out what for many is the best Mesh network applicable in the home, or Google Mesh (€ 300).
Google Mesh

Each satellite has a 2×12 dual-band Wi-Fi AC1200 Wireless connection, support for IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac protocols, Beamforming, 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and full control via a dedicated app (Google Wifi, available for Android and iPhone).

Conclusions

The WiFi Mesh network is a great step forward towards the future of wireless connections, since it allows you to connect to the faster and less prone to interference network (i.e. the 5 GHz network), overcoming the limits dictated by the electromagnetic frequency (no longer of one or two roofing rooms), thus obtaining high connection speeds and adequate coverage even in larger houses.
With the current generation of devices, I suggest choosing the Mesh network for these reasons:
– Poor coverage or jerky video streaming on the current network
– No Ethernet cables at home or in the office.
– Ability to improve network performance in the future by adding devices.
– Willingness to no longer configure the network via a router administration interface.

Always on the theme of covering large houses, we recommend you read our guides on Long-distance Wi-Fi coverage and extended range is Best 5 GHz WiFi repeaters, to increase internet coverage.
If we do not know which modem to use for the connection of the Mesh network Master, we can take a look at our article Best Modem to buy (fiber, dual-band, wireless AC).

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