Wi-Fi Extender vs Mesh Router
Mesh routers and Wi-Fi extenders are two popular options to boost your Wi-Fi coverage. For example, you can use them to extend a Wi-Fi network that is too far off or accept signals from multiple access points.
If you are on the fence about which is best, let me help you make an informed decision. The first thing you should decide is if you really want the extended range of Wi-Fi and your money would be well spent if the additional range would help with video streaming, gaming, or music streaming.
Let’s compare the two and see which one is better suited to your needs.
The main function of a Wi-Fi extender is to boost the existing Wi-Fi signal. The extender receives the original Wi-Fi signal and rebroadcasts it at full strength. However, one drawback of this technology is that it only works if the original network router is in range. If you want to access the Internet at a different location, you will need an Internet connection from there as well.
Wi-Fi extenders are easy to set up and there is no need for any additional wiring. They are generally able to cover an area of about 1,000 square feet. If you have a larger home and want to boost multiple networks, you can simply add another one. The range depends on the quality of the extender itself and the strength of the wireless router that it connects with.
Most Wi-Fi extenders are plug-in units that either go on top of the router or are plugged into any nearby power outlet. Some newer models can be placed anywhere in the home to provide coverage throughout your home. They come in sizes that can be stuck to your wall or used as a portable device.
You can attach an Ethernet cable to a Wi-Fi extender and easily connect it to your network router with an Ethernet cable If it has a USB port, you can also just share one of the ports on the router for an additional connection.
Mesh Wi-Fi Systems
A mesh WiFi system is a system of multiple nodes that work together to spread a wireless connection throughout your home or business. The advantage over extenders is that you don’t have to place the router in the optimal location. You can add the additional nodes any where you need one and place them wherever there are power outlets. Your entire home will be covered by your own private network. From your bed to your backyard, your network will be good anywhere!
Once you link up all of the devices, you can also easily monitor how much data each node is transferring in an effort to control how much bandwidth each device uses. The Mesh WiFi system will automatically monitor network activity and gradually adjust the connection to all participating nodes to prevent any strain on your Wi-Fi.
Mesh systems usually have advanced antennas that can send a signal to any room in your home. They have one or more antennas that are wirelessly connected in order to provide coverage throughout your house, office or place of business. You can connect multiple nodes together into a mesh network and expand the range just as easily as you would add a single node.
Proven technology and easy setup make mesh wireless systems ideal for homes or businesses with multiple locations for Internet access. They take no special preparations and set up is quick and easy with no extra wiring needed. You can expand at any time since the system is already running.
Once you link up all of the devices, you can also easily monitor how much data each node is transferring in an effort to control how much bandwidth each device uses. The Mesh Wi-Fi system will automatically monitor network activity and gradually adjust the connection to all participating nodes to prevent any strain on your Wi-Fi.
There are other wireless mesh systems that use a software-based system to form a mesh network. You can try some simple approaches to setting up such a system, but you may still need to purchase additional devices and implement a full-fledged system with its own management software.
When it comes to coverage, you can expand the range of your Wi-Fi network in two ways: with a mesh router or with a Wi-Fi extender. How do they compare? We’ll start with the advantages of using a mesh router.
Mesh routers are ideal if you want to extend your existing Wi-Fi network or want to expand its total coverage area.
Wi-Fi extenders are best for extending wireless networks from a distance. Generally speaking, an access point can cover a wider range than a mesh router.
Both types of devices can cover very large areas and offer excellent internet speeds. However, if your network is just too large or too far off, a Wi-Fi extender might be your best bet. Otherwise, you might want to consider a mesh router.
Speed and Latency
Consider using a mesh router if you want the lowest possible latency. A mesh router is generally faster than an access point or extender and offers a more consistent signal. Wi-Fi extenders, on the other hand, can be slower because they work by receiving the original network’s signal from another access point.
However, if you want to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network and don’t mind a higher latency, a Wi-Fi extender is a good option for you.
Installation and Usability
While mesh routers can be installed in minutes and are as easy to use as any other router, Wi-Fi extenders can take time to set up. You’ll have to connect your devices to the second access point or router in order for them to work with the network.
If you’re using a Wi-Fi extender, you’ll have to connect your devices to the access point before using them. You may also have to re-connect your router’s network name (SSID) and password, as most routers broadcast unique passwords for each device.
Number Of Access Points/Routers
Wi-Fi extenders generally only work with one router. They might be able to support two access points, but this is rare. Mesh routers are only connected via radio waves, which allows them to work with as many devices as possible. This can make them more versatile than Wi-Fi extenders.
The cost of a mesh router can vary tremendously between brands and models. Unfortunately, many of the most affordable options are also the most limited. If you’re looking for more than a simple extension, you’ll probably want to spend more money on a mesh router.
If you’re using a Wi-Fi extender, you’ll have to pay more attention to the model’s price. And while they can be relatively inexpensive, they often come with big limitations and restrictions.
If you’re looking for an affordable way to extend the range of your Wi-Fi and are willing to sacrifice some features, a Wi-Fi extender might be best for you.
Measuring Wi-Fi Range
You should understand how range is measured. It is always measured in two different ways:
Upstream Ratio – This ratio determines the strength of the connection between your router and a device/node. Downstream Ratio – This ratio determines the strength of the connection between a node/device and an Internet-connected computer or other devices.
Understanding Upstream and Downstream Ranges: Understanding Upstream and Downstream Ranges: You can think of a Wi-Fi extender much like an amplifier for your car’s sound system. The extender amplifies the signal sent from your router, thus extending its range. Mesh networks need a good amount of range in order to work. Depending on the size and layout of your home, it may be difficult to expect that all the rooms could be covered by the same network. Thus, you will have separate networks for each room. However, there are also ways of extending the range without increasing the number of nodes if needed.
Most wireless routers used with this type of system come with antennas that can spread a signal over multiple Wi-Fi points into your home or office.
What Are The Top Mesh Router Options Out There?
If you’re ready to try the mesh technology, here are three of the best mesh routers we’ve found:
Eero Mesh Router
Eero has created a new generation of Wi-Fi routers that offers incredible coverage and unparalleled range. It is an ideal solution for large homes and offices, offering a simple set-up process and four Ethernet ports. If you need
to reach every corner of your home or office with Wi-Fi, consider this device as your top choice.
TP-Link Talon AD7200 Mesh Router
TP-Link Talon AD7200 offers some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen. The best part is that it can cover an area of around 4,500 square feet. It’s not just ideal for one room, but the whole home or office. This device detects how much bandwidth each device is taking and distributes it accordingly.
Google Wi-Fi Mesh Router
Google Wi-Fi offers a sleek design with incredibly fast speeds. It is typically marketed as a Wi-Fi extender, but it also works with mesh technology. This router offers a beamforming technology that focuses network signals to create a stronger connection.
If you’re looking for even better coverage, you could consider the Google Wi-Fi mesh extender. It’s one of the best mesh routers on the market and ideal for homes with larger coverage areas and many devices. However, while it provides great value, it is expensive and not everyone will be able to afford it.
The Bottom Line
While the idea behind mesh routers is simple and they’ve been around for years, they have made huge leaps forward in the past five years. They now offer considerably better coverage, faster speeds, and more reliable connections.
If you live in a large area with many devices and you’re looking for something that can cover all of your devices no matter where they are located, consider getting a mesh router. They will be able to offer you seamless coverage from every corner of your home or office.
However, if your space is smaller or you don’t need something as powerful as a mesh network, there are cheaper options available. Wi-Fi extenders are ideal for small homes or offices with fewer devices and smaller spaces.