Mesh networks are different than traditional WiFi networks. Mesh networks use multiple WiFi access points to provide full coverage on a physical space. In places where existing cables aren’t there, the WiFi access points will piggy back off of one another to provide full coverage in the desired area. In recent times, Mesh networks have become a preferred method to extend WiFi coverage in a home.
There are a few things to consider when selecting a Wireless Mesh network solution for your home:
First and foremost, there is a big different in the cost of running new cabling vs. setting up a Mesh network. Running a cabled connection is about $150 per run, in addition to that you would have to add a access point to that area as well, so in total your are looking at least $200 per location. Most modern Mesh network solutions cost about $300 for multiple access points.
The type of wireless Mesh system you should purchase depends on the size and layout of your home. Most of the systems have at least two access points included and many of them have three included. Almost all have the ability to add more access points as necessary. For homes that need 2-3 access points, I would recommend using the Luma, Eero, Google, or Netgear Orbi systems. In addition to those options, for homes with large coverage requirements I would recommend using a Ubiquity AmpliFi System. I use one of these in my home because I have physical cabling located in my home on the main floor and the second floor. In addition to these options, there is the Plume system, great for those of you that have especially difficult homes with WiFi barriers all over the place. Plume systems come with a total of 6 units and while the coverage of these units individually isn’t the same as the other devices, together they do allow you to cover a wider area, making them better for larger homes.
All of these devices are available from Amazon, and most of them are available from local resellers like Best Buy, MicroCenter, Frys, Office Depot and Staples.
Configuration / Setup
All of these devices have the ability to be easily setup via a mobile application. Additionally the Netgear Orbi and Ubiquity AmpliFi allow setup from a webpage.
Below are some links to the manufacturers’ websites if you’d like to do some further reading on the different systems. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions on any of the systems. I have had personal experience with setup and use of most of the systems mentioned in this review. Happy WiFi-ing!
Netgear Orbi: http://www.netgear.com/home/products/networking/orbi/
Google Wifi: https://store.google.com/product/google_wifi
Ubiquity AmpliFi: https://amplifi.com