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Finding the right solution that meets your requirements in any environment where you need reliable internet for serious work could be tricky. Most people only consider using a single router with a built-in wireless access point for their home or business until they realise this may not suit their needs.
If you're in this kind of scenario, this article can help you find an easy way to use a mesh network. This article details the essential facts you need to know about a mesh network with wireless access points to help you understand how to use it. Read on!
The Basic Design of a Mesh Network
Instead of relying on a single router, you can use multiple routers and wireless access points through a mesh network to distribute the wireless network in your home or office. One top benefit is that the wireless network distribution could be done more uniformly over a larger space.
They can eliminate the dead spots you sometimes encounter in large homes where a single Wi-Fi router is used. A mesh network differs from a traditional network that relies on a single router and wireless access point because it has several routers and multiple access points, with each router acting as a gateway that connects to the internet.
This is usually through the (DSL) Digital Subscriber Line or cable modem. However, it can also be through a fibre cable, Australian NBN (National Broadband Network) and the new satellite-based internet from Starlink.
In the mesh network, each router and access point acts like an interconnecting node communicating with any device in range. With this, a mesh router and access points system create a virtual Wi-Fi blanket over a large area which could be your home or office, without making any dead spots.
How Do Wi-Fi Mesh Networks Work?
A wireless mesh network uses multiple nodes (routers and wireless access points) that communicate seamlessly with each other by sharing a Wi-Fi network connection over a larger area. Then each of the routers connects to the internet gateway or modem.
Additional nodes besides the primary node must be set up around the home or office. These nodes help improve the Wi-Fi system and eliminate dead spots. One of the good things about mesh networks is that all access points are wirelessly connected.
The node connected wirelessly to the modem allows the other nodes to communicate with one another as long as they are within the access points range. As such, each node can wirelessly share its internet connection with other nodes within their range without needing a router or switch.
This may look like you have multiple home Wi-Fi routers and wireless access points, but you share one seamless Wi-Fi network. Likewise, you can increase your home's wireless internet coverage with numerous Wi-Fi nodes.
How to Install a Mesh Network
You can install a mesh Wi-Fi system within minutes because you don't need extensive knowledge to get it done. Different mesh network models exist, such as Netgear Orbi and Google Nest Wi-Fi. Each has a different setup process, but the details are similar. The following is what a general installation process looks like:
- Most systems will need you to download a mobile app to walk you through an easy setup process. The app will provide you with some simple instructions you can follow to achieve your objective.
- After downloading the mobile app, log into your existing account or create it if you don't.
- It is recommended that you unplug your modem or wireless gateway before you connect the devices. You can connect the modem to the WAN port of the central node with the aid of a network cable. After the connection, you can reconnect your modem and start up your devices.
- While using the app, follow the instructions to connect the modem to the central node. You must enter the location where the central node will be installed. Additionally, you will have to create a network name for identifying the system (SSID) Service Set Identifier.
- As soon as the primary node has been connected, you can use your tablet, laptop, or smartphone to open Wi-Fi settings. Search for the wireless mesh network name and access point you created and complete the connection.
- You can add more nodes once the central node has been successfully connected. As you add more nodes, you will need to enter the location of use for each of them. How these nodes are placed is critical, and it is recommended that you place them midway between the dead zones and the central node.
Ensure a power point is nearby because connecting these nodes to a power supply is necessary. If you need assistance determining where to place the nodes, some apps can help you find the best locations for their placements. Some nodes have a light-emitting diode (LED) that lets you know if they are too far from another node.
What are the Top Benefits of a Mesh Network?
If you have ever benefited from using traditional Wi-Fi, you will understand that the ease of connection makes it top-notch technology. There are some more benefits you can look forward to enjoying with the use of a mesh network with multiple access points, which include the following:
Simple setup and ease of use
Most mesh networks with access points have user-friendly apps that can assist you with installation and even monitoring the system. You can create guest networks, scan the speed, check the quality between connection points, add parental controls, remove any user from the network, and more.
Although a mesh network is an extensive Wi-Fi system with multiple nodes, it only has one network name and a password. The wireless devices you use can automatically connect to the closest node with the single network in the home. You won't even have to change the network connections manually.
Flexible and expandable
Adding extra nodes to expand the Wi-Fi coverage to reach distant areas for a reliable internet connection is extremely easy. You can easily rearrange or remove these nodes if the occasion calls for it.
Innovative technology seamlessly adds, removes, or rearranges the nodes (access points). A mesh network can automatically configure itself to locate the best routes for sending and receiving information.
Additionally, if a node stops working, the system self-configures to identify and register the change. Information can then be re-routed to jump through a different path.
Some extenders or traditional routers are not very pleasing to the eye. Often, people try to tuck them away from sight. On the other hand, mesh networks are small, and their design matches most home décor.
There won't be the need to hide them in a drawer, closet, or behind furniture. Some mesh node models feature speakers powered by virtual assistant technology such as Alexa and Google Assistant, making them more appealing to the eye.
Mesh systems are relatively more secure because they use WPA2 or WPA3 privacy encryptions which are the most secure encryptions available. WPA3 is the improved version of WPA2.
Using these secure encryptions ensures that public Wi-Fi networks are safer. Hackers will find it tough to access your private network with these encryptions. They may only be allowed a limited amount of information.
Disadvantages of Using a Mesh Network
There is no known disadvantage to using a mesh network with multiple access points in the real sense of it. The only drawback is the overall high cost of procurement and installation. Prices will likely vary based on several factors, such as the number of extra nodes and the brand of kit you want.
Consult an IT Professional for Advice
Many people try to buy Wi-Fi routers themselves but soon discover that they need professional help. If you are stuck midway or have not purchased anything, the best approach is to talk to a professional IT consultant.
They will look at your needs and advice on what you need to buy at a minimal cost. They are also the best and most qualified to ensure proper installation for your mesh network and access points.