With the evolution of technology across the board, the global population has started to become more and more dependent on internet access for information dissemination and communication. This development has made technology surrounding the internet more elaborate and faster to better cater to the needs of the people. One of these developments has made its way into the market in the form of mesh Wi-Fi, a system or network of Wi-Fi routers that create a single, large wireless network within a property or home – allowing all members to access fast-speed internet regardless of where they are and what they’re doing. In this article, we’ll talk about what mesh Wi-Fi systems are, and how they differ from the more traditional Wi-Fi routers that have been in use for decades. We’ll also settle the score regarding the mesh Wi-Fi system vs. traditional router debate.
What is a Mesh Wi-Fi System?
Before we can decide which one wins the debate of home mesh Wi-Fi vs. routers, we first need to be familiar with what they are – starting with what a mesh Wi-Fi is.
A mesh Wi-Fi system is a network of individual nodes that communicate with each other to create a single, unified network. Each node is equipped with its own antenna and can transmit and receive data. This allows the Wi-Fi mesh system to cover a larger area than a traditional wireless router. However, as with other devices, mesh Wi-Fi systems also come with their pros and cons, which may affect their performance depending on your expectations. To help you better understand its advantages and disadvantages, here are the pros and cons of mesh Wi-Fi systems:
The Pros of a Mesh Wi-Fi System
A mesh Wi-Fi system is a network of routers that work together to create a single wireless network. This type of system has several pros, including:
1. Increased coverage
A mesh network can cover a larger area than a single traditional router. The advantage of a mesh Wi-Fi system is that it provides redundancy. If one node fails, the others will still be able to communicate with each other.
2. Reduced congestion
With multiple nodes working together, the network will be less congested and will provide faster speeds. You don’t have to worry about getting disconnected or needing to switch to a different internet connection since mesh networks can provide you with a consistent and stable internet connection.
3. Increased security
A mesh network is more secure than a single router, especially since many mesh network manufacturers provide advanced security features to protect your network, as well as the devices connected to it – a feature that’s not always offered in the more traditional routers. In addition, mesh Wi-Fi systems typically have auto-update features that allow each node to be updated when it comes to security and stability.
The Cons of a Mesh Wi-Fi System
A mesh Wi-Fi system can be a great way to improve your home’s Wi-Fi signal, but there are some potential downsides to consider before you make a purchase. These include:
1. Mesh Wi-Fi systems can be expensive.
Compared to the more traditional routers and extenders, mesh Wi-Fi systems come at steep prices – with some coming in at prices almost double that of the more traditional options. However, this is due to the advanced technology it offers, which may more than make up for the expensive price tag.
2. Individual mesh Wi-Fi nodes may be harder to set up.
As mesh Wi-Fi systems work with multiple connecting devices, users will need to set up more than one device before being able to launch the network and enjoy a reliable internet connection. However, this may easily be solved by reading your mesh network’s manual, which may help guide you on how to use your mesh Wi-Fi effectively.
3. They may not be compatible with all routers and devices.
Since mesh Wi-Fi systems are relatively new to the market, there’s no guarantee that they’re compatible with all devices and routers. This is why a lot of manufacturers promote the use the same-brand mesh systems and routers to ensure compatibility.
Before you invest in a mesh Wi-Fi system, be sure to research the different options available and read reviews from other consumers. That way, you can be sure you’re making the best decision for your needs and budget.
What Are Traditional Wi-Fi Routers?
A traditional Wi-Fi router is a device that transmits and receives wireless signals in your home or office. It creates a local network, or hotspot, that allows devices to connect to the internet. Most traditional routers use the 2.4GHz frequency, which can be susceptible to interference from other devices, like microwaves and baby monitors. Traditional routers also have a shorter range than mesh Wi-Fi networks.
But traditional routers are still a good choice for people who don’t need the extra speed and range that mesh Wi-Fi systems offer. They’re also typically cheaper, and relatively easier to set up. Traditional routers offer some clear benefits.
The Advantages of a Traditional Wi-Fi Router
Now that you’re familiar with what a traditional Wi-Fi router is, it’s now time to see what advantages they offer. While they may be seen by the more tech-savvy users as an older version of internet networks, they’re still the more popular option for homes. To help you decide, here are some of the pros of traditional routers:
1. They're easy to set up.
Traditional routers are easy to set up after a purchase, especially since they’re designed to be easy to use. All you need to do is connect the router to an established internet connection and hook it up to a desktop computer. If you’re sourcing your traditional router from a service provider, there’s even a chance that you won’t need to set it up yourself.
2. They tend to be really affordable.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems are typically more expensive versus the price of traditional routers, with many router options available at about PHP 3,000 or less.
3. They give you a lot of control over your network.
With a traditional router, you can manage who gets to use your Wi-Fi and for how long. You can also set up parental controls to keep your kids safe online.
4. They offer good Wi-Fi coverage.
A traditional router can give you a Wi-Fi signal up to 500 feet away from your home. That’s more than enough distance to cover your backyard and the street in front of your house. The only problem is that traditional routers may have signal problems, especially for homes with reinforced concrete for walls.
The Disadvantages of a Traditional Wi-Fi Router
You might be wondering what the downside of using a traditional Wi-Fi router is. Well, here are a few things to consider:
1. Slow Speeds
Some traditional routers offer slower internet speeds, making it extremely frustrating for some users. They can take minutes to load a single web page, and even more to download files and media.
2. Limited Range
A traditional router has a more limited range versus a mesh Wi-Fi system, meaning you can only use it in a specific area of your house. If you want to use the router in another part of your house, you have to move it there, which can be difficult and inconvenient. The range of a traditional router is also limited by the number of walls and floors it has to pass through, so it may not be able to reach the corners of your house.
3. Interference From Other Devices
One of the main disadvantages of using a traditional router vs. using a home mesh Wi-Fi is that it can be affected by interference from other devices. If you have a lot of electronic gadgets in your home, it’s likely that you’ll experience some interference when you’re trying to use your router.
This interference can cause your internet connection to be slow or even drop out altogether. It can also cause problems with your phone or cable service.
4. Security Vulnerabilities
One of the main disadvantages of using a traditional router is that it is susceptible to security vulnerabilities. Hackers can easily gain access to your network if you’re using a traditional router, and they can steal your personal information or even crash your network.
Traditional Routers Vs. Mesh Wi-Fi Networks: Which Is Better?
Now that we’ve seen the pros and cons of both Wi-Fi options, it’s now time to put them against one another. In the talks of traditional routers vs. mesh Wi-Fi networks, which one is better? The answer is: it depends.
It basically all boils down to your preference, budget, the type of home you have, and your internet speed needs. If you have a large home with many corners and walls and you’re looking for the best performance for your home network, then a mesh wi-fi system might be a better option. If you have a smaller home or an office and you’re not too much of a heavy internet user, then a traditional router might be the better choice.
If you’re still not quite sure what’s the best option for your home or office, you can reach out to us at Kital Philippines Corporation, and we’ll help you figure out the best choice for your internet connection needs.