You’re trying to decide what’s better, Range extender or WiFi Mesh? This quick read is here to help you make the decision and point you in the direction of the best products on the market. In this we’ll cover the differences and ideas behind Range Extenders and WiFi Mesh systems.
Take a look below for a quick over view of the two. It’s a great 4 minute watch to get a good idea of how the two work and where the one would perform better than the other.
So! What’s better, Range extender or WiFi Mesh? To get to the bottom of this we need to operate the two and know what does what.
A range extender does what it says on the tin. It takes the signal from your WiFi router and redistributes it, literally repeating it. Now with this, there can be some drawbacks. As it takes the original signal and works on repeating it, it can sometimes depreciate the original signal as it’s only pulling in the data it can cling on too, it’s not point to point.
Range extenders are great for short reach, and good for single use, say if you wanted to increase the strength of your WiFi connection to a home office on the top floor of an old house or just at the limit of your standard routers wireless reach. But they do have draw backs. For example they take your existing WiFi signal and repackage it as their own. This may mean that you have multiple SSID’s for your home, e.g HomeNetwork, HomeNetwork1, HomeNetwork2 etc. You also run the risk with cheaper models that it doesn’t fully disconnect from the Extender to the normal router without a fight. you end up with an even weaker signal than when you first started with before you wandered around the house.
If you’re going to look at Extenders, aim for middle of the range and upwards to get the best results.
Now an Ai Mesh is a powerhouse of WiFi distribution. It’s a smart bubble that works between nodes and looks to distribute a single SSID to nodes. All those nodes work together to cover a certain area and deliver 2.4,5 and 6Ghz signals. They’re great for the home or for small businesses. I use them to distribute a WiFi signal between two buildings in a 150 year old house and still maintain 100mb Wirelessly. They are expensive but worth it all, you can always extend the coverage with more nodes which can be inexpensive on their own.
They seamlessly handover devices from node to node to maintain connectivity and speed with every device. If in the future you decide to hard wire (thoroughly recommended), you can turn the individual nodes into Access Points by ethernet backhaul.
The downsides to these are minimal as it’s such a well integrated system. You have to manage your expectations when placing them for the best results and keep testing until you reach the perfect set up. They’re a lot more adaptable than your normal ISP router and a lot more secure as you have greater control over QOS, Gateways, Port Forwarding and fine tuning settings like MTU and RTS.
- Cost effective
- Plug into a plug socket
- Signal deterioration
- Could create a separate SSID
- Might not disconnect properly from your device
- No real Handover
- Performs handovers between nodes
- Self healing network
- Great work around for congested areas
- Paired with a Router, you can customise your network
- being realistic with where you place them
So then, what’s better, Range extender or WiFi Mesh? In my opinion, the Ai Mesh is a great investment into the home or businesses. when paired with a compatible router, you have complete control over your network, WiFi and security and can ditch the ISP standard router which has little to no performance advantage. Long term they’re worth every penny and will last if you future proof yourself with WiFi 6.
The Range extenders are great for the short reach and short throw improvements button that great for the long run as you have to invest in decent mid to higher end extenders. But just don’t have the power or adaptability of a mesh system.
Got any questions about the two or looking for recommendations, you can always contact us or leave a comment below. Any of the devices mentioned in this post are recommended by us for their price, usability and performance.