What is Mesh WiFi and how does it work?

What is Mesh WiFi and how does it work?

Date: 19/09/23

Author: Anthony Harrison

If you want to level up your internet and eliminate WiFi dead zones, Mesh WiFi is a superb solution. It works by using multiple access points to create seamless WiFi connections.

People call it 'Whole Home WiFi', or even the 'Home WiFi Guarantee', and it lives up to these titles — Mesh WiFi eliminates weak signal in the farthest corners of a home or office.

We use Mesh WiFi to guarantee Premium WiFi* for our customers, so we’re happy to offer a clear and honest explanation about what it is and how it works.  

You’ll get guaranteed WiFi wherever you roam throughout your home, which offers London’s highest speeds as part of our 1Gpbs and 3Gpbs service packages. 

We’ll shout you three months’ free broadband if it’s not possible.  

Our skilled engineers will install routers across your premises to make sure you receive at least the minimum upload and download speeds of 35Mbps, dependent on the capability of the device you’re using. Sounds like a good plan? 

Mesh WiFi in simple terms: What is it?

Mesh WiFi is a system that spreads strong WiFi coverage all around a space by using multiple interconnected access points. It’s like a team of routers that work together.

You have a main router and then two or more access points (sometimes called nodes), which you strategically position to get a seamless connection over a large area.

Learn how our engineers install Mesh WiFi for optimal performance.

Mesh WiFi vs traditional WiFi

Let’s break down how Mesh WiFi is different from regular WiFi:

  1. Traditional WiFi relies on a single router that broadcasts the signal from one location. It might struggle to reach every corner of a building, resulting in dead spots.
  2. Traditional routers can only handle a certain number of devices at a time, and as you move further away or encounter obstacles like walls — the signal can weaken.
  3. Mesh access points work together to extend the coverage effortlessly, and adding more is simple — so there are no tech headaches when extending your coverage. With Community Fibre, our engineers figure out how many nodes you need and where to put them, taking the fuss out of installation.
  4. Unlike traditional range extenders that create separate networks (or SSIDs), Mesh WiFi boosts the coverage of the same network — so no switching is necessary!

Overall, Mesh WiFi irons out frustrations with reliable coverage that blankets a big area.

Think there’s a problem with your WiFi? Learn more about the materials that can block a WiFi signal. 

Benefits and drawbacks of Mesh WiFi routers

Mesh WiFi has some truly remarkable benefits, for example:

  • Wider coverage: As Mesh WiFi creates a seamless network using multiple nodes, you get strong and reliable coverage throughout your home or office.
  • Easy expansion: It’s easy to add extra nodes in Mesh WiFi systems, such as for a new office or a garden building, for a strong network with reliable performance.
  • Network stability: There is no signal interference or stuttering speed drops as the system automatically routes traffic through the best path.
  • Freedom to roam: Mesh WiFi lets you roam between access points without interruptions or connection drops, so you can keep connected wherever you go.
  • Ideal for bigger homes or offices: Traditional WiFi might require manual switching between access points, but Mesh WiFi creates a seamless internet experience.
  • Easy to manage:  Mesh WiFi systems are designed for easy installation and management, with simple configurations and user-friendly controls.

Of course, while the benefits of Mesh WiFi are vast, there are some factors worth keeping in mind:

  • Price: Mesh WiFi systems can be pricier than traditional routers, especially if you need to cover larger areas. See more about Mesh WiFi prices.
  • Overall speed: Mesh WiFi provides more coverage, but multiple nodes may cause a slight speed reduction compared to one high-performance traditional router.
  • Installation complexity: Setting up a Mesh WiFi system might require planning and optimisation for ideal node placement, but engineers can take care of this.
  • Nodes may go down: Mesh networks rely on nodes working together. If a node breaks or encounters an issue, it can affect the entire network's performance.
  • Interference: Mesh WiFi systems can still have interference from neighbouring networks or physical obstacles — although proper placement can mitigate this.
  • Compatibility: Mesh systems generally work with all devices, but some older WiFi standards or specific devices might not work as well.

The pros or cons of Mesh WiFi vary depending on the system and your requirements. We provide high-quality Dual or Tri-Band Mesh routers to customers to avoid problems.

How does Mesh WiFi work?

Mesh WiFI might sound complex, but the process works in the following simple steps:

  1. Instead of one router, Mesh systems use several devices called nodes–these are like a powerline adapter, but for wireless connections and with much more power
  2. You attach one Mesh point to the router with an ethernet cable, acting as the main connection hub — all other points work wirelessly.
  3. The nodes then communicate with each other, creating a network "mesh" that covers your space with WiFi signal.
  4. Each node acts as a WiFi hotspot, so you're always connected to the closest, strongest signal wherever you happen to roam.
  5. If one node has an issue or goes offline, other nodes automatically step in to cover the gap, ensuring a stable connection.

Simply put, Mesh WiFi uses a group of mini routers that work together, providing you with better and more reliable WiFi coverage throughout your home or office.

If your WiFi struggles with walls or long distances, learn how to boost your WiFi signal through walls with our guide on the topic.

Mesh WiFi FAQs

We aim to make all of the information on Mesh WiFi clear, but here are answers to some common questions:

Is Mesh WiFi better?

In many cases, yes. Mesh WiFi can be better for large areas with many devices, as it provides more coverage and better network stability than traditional WiFi routers.

What does a WiFi “mesh” do?

A WiFi “mesh” uses multiple access points called nodes to form a seamless network, creating a blanket of coverage that ensures a strong WiFi signal throughout your space.

What is the difference between Mesh WiFi and regular WiFi?

Regular WiFi relies on a single router, while Mesh WiFi uses multiple access points to create a network "mesh" of signal for extended coverage and improved performance.

What are the disadvantages of Mesh WiFi?

Mesh WiFi systems can be more expensive. Multiple access points may also result in a slight speed reduction compared to a single high-performance traditional WiFi router. Setup and compatibility can also be more complicated, depending on the system.

Do I need Mesh WiFi and how do I get it?

Choosing a Mesh WiFi system may be a good idea if you:

  • Consistently experience WiFi dead spots
  • Have a large home or office area to cover
  • Want lots of devices to connect to a network at once
  • Prefer to roam without switching WiFi networks
  • Require stable speeds and a reliable, scalable solution 
  • Have an unusual home layout
  • Live in an older building, or have thick walls

If you want to get a Mesh WiFi system, you need a reliable network provider too. Mesh WiFi requires the fastest broadband speeds that can handle a high level of use. Additionally, if you find your current broadband speed can’t handle all your devices, pairing Mesh WiFi with a faster broadband connection is the ultimate solution.

As Mesh WiFi is a bit more complex in comparison to traditional WiFi, a provider with a good support service is also essential–just in case of any technical hiccups. Community Fibre engineers install all the necessary nodes for Mesh WiFi, eliminating any potential fuss or confusion.

It’s also important to find a provider that offers easy switching options, for a smooth transition to better coverage and faster connections.

If you live in London, you can check your postcode to see if our broadband is available in your area. We offer Mesh WiFi as part of our unbeatable Premium WiFi service – not just any speed, London’s fastest guaranteed speeds 

Read our guide on how to boost your WiFi signal for some expert tips on getting a better signal, and make sure you check out our blog for more tips, updates, and information.

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