In this post we are going to look at the relatively new concept of the wifi mesh and how it will improve your wifi experience.
It is very rare that you speak to someone and they say that their Wi-Fi network is brilliant. Well that is all about the change. One of the newest pieces of technology on the market at the minute is Wi-Fi mesh.
What is a wifi mesh?
A WiFi mesh is when you have two or more satellite routers (they are called nodes) that are connect to each other to create one bigger wifi network. This gives you more area that your network can reach.
How is it different to the wifi extenders?
Wifi extenders take a signal from your existing wifi network and create their own boosted signal. The problem with this is that you have two networks then. Even if you call them the same name (which is what professionals will try) your phone has to disconnect from one and reconnect to another.
How does a wifi mesh work?
With the wifi mesh, you place the main node beside your existing router and connect it via an ethernet cable, this gives the wifi mesh its signal. You then place nodes at points around the house within signal of the main (first) node. Once you have the second node connected to the main node, you can then proceed to place the third node within signal view of the second one and so on with the fourth or fifth. (you can buy the wifi mesh in different amounts)
Another positive point to a wifi mesh is the speed you achieve, or rather how little speed you lose from one to the next. With WiFi Mesh there is little drop off in speed compared to wifi range extenders.
I got a wifi mesh for my own house and I can honestly say it is one of the only bits of technology that when I tested it I said “wow”. It is brilliant and works so well. There was areas of my house that were wifi dead spots with the existing wifi router from the service provider. The wifi mesh has changed that. I know have WiFi 20 metres into my garden. This is how much is has boosted my signal.
The wifi mesh I chose was the Tenda Nova MW3. It comes in a pack of 3 nodes, You could purchase other nodes to extend the network further if needed. Three of the Tenda Nova nodes will cover 3,500 sq ft. which should cover the majority of standard houses. But you can also get the MW6 version which is designed for larger floor space of 6,000 sq ft.
The Tenda Nova MW3 is at the lower price points of the wifi mesh systems. But you shouldn’t let that make your decision for you, this is a great piece of kit. See the link below for current pricing, at time of writing its as cheap as most wifi extenders.
Setting up was very simple. You first download the app onto your smartphone (You will use the app later to monitor the network once it is up and running). You plug the power lead of the first node into the wall close to the existing router and connect the two via ethernet cable. I have included a picture to show you the back of each. most wifi routers will have the 2 or 4 ethernet ports. You can see mine in the picture are yellow.
The app will detect the first node and you follow the instructions from the app.
The app will tell you to position the second node within range (30ft or so). Plug in the second node and you will see the light on the node change colour. You want to see green here to indicate that you have a good signal. This means that it is close enough and able to “speak” to the first (main) node.
Following the instructions on the app you just repeat this process, until all the nodes are set up. I have three in my house, you may only need two or even four or five. The nodes can be hidden behind a unit or picture frame if you don’t like the look if them. the only thing they need is an electrical socket. The nodes have a spare ethernet port on them.
So if you have a smart tv in a bedroom or a desktop PC in an office you can have a wired connection. This will give you a more stable connection than depending on wifi alone.
Using the app you can
- Monitor the network
- Change the network name and password
- See the nodes that you have connected
- You will be able to see the devices connected to the network
- Set up a guest wifi network
- Connect unto 60 devices (3 nodes)
- Parental controls (I will go into detail next)
- Block devices from network
This is a massive feature for parents, you can create a profile and select the “Kids” devices. You can turn off wifi with the tap of a button in the app. You can also pause the wifi and you can also set limits like “bedtime”. This will allow you to set up so that the kids devices won’t be able to access the internet between the specified times. You will be able to turn on or off by using the toggle switch
When I finished setting up my wifi mesh i turned off the wifi signal of the original router from the service provider. the wifi mesh is getting its signal from the ethernet cable so doesn’t need this. It produces its own wifi signal. Turning off the original wifi signal means you won’t have two wifi networks, just the new network that we created with the mesh.
To turn off the wifi signal depends on the original router, some may have a button, others may require you log into the router, a quick google search “turn off wifi + router name” will give you a quick result.
I can only speak for the Tenda Nova MW3 as it is the only one that I have tested but i found it to be a brilliant piece of kit. I have recommended it to so many people and even installed a few for friends and family, who have all been very impressed with the improvements to their wifi, (even though they don’t know how) bout it is very simple to set up and not too expensive when compared to other mesh systems.
This definitely is the future of wifi and as the old saying goes “every house should have one”