How can Mesh Wi-Fi help clear up your Wi-fi blackspots?
Like most homes, you probably have your router in one room resulting in a great signal in that room, and a sharp drop off as you move around the house.
Up until recently, people got around this by using Wi-Fi extenders such as powerline adapters to give their wi-fi a boost with mixed results. Yes, you can get a boost in most areas but it introduces a host of new issues.
The main issue people find is that each extender acts like a new router that your device needs to connect to. Walking around the house often results in your device failing to automatically change to a better connection. Staying connected to the wrong, furthest away, one resulting in poor speed.
In steps Wi-Fi mesh. Up until very recently, this was an expensive solution, but in the last 2 years, prices have really started to dropdown.
How Wi-Fi Mesh works: Without getting too technical the mesh system shares the one network signal around the house. As you move from room to room your device will appear to stay connected to the same network, but behind the scenes, the clever little mesh devices are swapping you over between them to ensure you get the best experience possible.
The set up: Set up is remarkably simple. Most of these have a pretty easy to use App. Packs usually come with 2-3 little devices but can go up to 5 or 6. For most Irish homes 2-3 is plenty.
The first device simply plugs into (and takes over from) your router. You then plug in the other satellite devices around the house. They should connect to each other but might need help in the App) and that’s it.
There are a number of different Mesh Wi-Fi solutions, and the price varies greatly.
If you have a sub 100mb connection then it is hard to pass up the Tenda Nova MW3 packs. Sure the tech is a little older and you could run into trouble if you get a faster connection down the line. But if <100mb is okay, then these can be snapped up for around €80.
If you are looking for a faster solution then the big brother the Tenda Nova MW6 is a great purchase. Often coming close to and matching the more expensive options but at a fraction of the price. They hover around the €170 mark but have gone as low as €120 so keep an eye on them.
Google Nest Wi-FI is a higher-end product and the price reflects it. You do get what you pay for, rock-solid performance and speeds and great distance coverage. A single router will cost €159, and each access point is €139 (Buying as a bundle can reduce that price to €259). The Access Points also double as Google smart speakers so you can add voice activation, and the ability to listen to your music to the list.
Top of the list is the Netgear Orbi, a three-pack will set you pack the best part of €350 but it is the best on the market for a reason. If you have a number of data-hungry devices, or perhaps a home office set up that needs this kind of investment then it is the gold standard.
Overall: Each home will be a little different and to be honest you can’t go too far wrong with any of the options above. They will give you the range and speed. If it was up to us, then we recommend the Tenda Nova MW6. The cost to performance ratio can’t be beaten.
But, if you don’t have existing smart speakers (Alexa or Google Home) then the Google Nest Wi-Fi option is a great investment for a strong smart home enabled network.