Your long-in-the-tooth router may still get you online (barely), but if you’re looking to build a smart home, you should absolutely consider tapping into the wire-free wonders of a mesh network.
Trip-hazard ethernet cables. One or more wireless extenders. Manually disconnecting wireless devices when you need to eke out every possible kilobyte worth of household bandwidth. The chances are good that a lot of us have added some tape-and-wires ‘solution’ to improving wireless speeds around the home or combatting no-Wi-Fi-land.
On top of this, as homes get smarter, we’re knowingly or inadvertently connecting more and more wireless devices to struggling home networks. But like lightsabers stacked next to blasters, there’s a more elegant solution for wireless woes in this tech-loving civilised age. This is where mesh networks step in to save the day.
We’ve done a deeper dive into mesh networks in the past, but here are the main takeaways. Mesh networks take the pros of a router and Wi-Fi extender/s, then combo them into an easy-to-set-up and even-easier-to-expand solution. The result is a far-reaching, powerful and seamless wireless home network that eliminates dead zones and happily keeps the whole home online.
Have a closer look at a few recent examples of great mesh models.
EERO MESH WI-FI ROUTER
This is a great place to start for your first mesh network outing. The Eero Mesh Wi-Fi Router is built to be up and ready to run in under 10 minutes. Simply download the Eero app for iOS or Android. Unbox the Eero mesh bits. Then follow the basic app steps.
You can use any of the three identical devices to connect to your modem. Then power up and sync the other two satellites around your home to create a coverage blanket that effectively eliminates dead spots. With a range of 140 square metres across the three interlinked networking devices, the Eero is built to set up and forget.
GOOGLE NEST WI-FI HOME MESH
Built for homes with three or more bedrooms, the Google Next Wi-Fi Home Mesh is a discrete mesh system designed for set-and-forget wireless coverage. Automatic updates work invisibly in the background, and you can use Google Assistant voice controls or the Nest app. Parents can pause Wi-Fi connections to kids’ devices, too. Speaking of devices, you can connect up to 200 of them.
NETGEAR ORBI RBK852
When you’re ready to future-proof your home mesh network, the Netgear Orbi RBK852 is the right investment. This two-part mesh system offers coverage up to 465 square metres and boasts Wi-Fi 6 compatibility so your network can keep up with your Wi-Fi 6 devices as you upgrade them. As a tri-channel networking device, it has the usual 2.4GHz range and 5GHz speed perks, with a third 5GHz channel dedicated to ‘backhaul’, which keeps the connection strong and uninterrupted no matter where you move in the home with your wireless devices.