If you’ve got a larger home, or a lot of signal dead zones throughout your house, a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system might be the ticket to a more consistent and less frustrating setup in your home. If you’re hosting for the holidays this year, your guests will probably be all over your home with their tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming systems, and more. Be the best tech host ever by making sure that no matter which corner of the house they’re in, they get a great and steady Wi-Fi signal. That’s where a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system comes in!
What is a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system?
A Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system, in essence, is a functional network that relies on multiple fully functioning router-like nodes to create one big happy Wi-Fi signal within your home. The nicest thing about having a Mesh Wi-Fi system is that it really tackles a lot of the signal interruption problems that homeowners face on a day to day basis with a single router system (or even with a router + range extender). According to a 2017 Mediapost Article, the average North American home has 13 smart devices connected to its Wi-Fi network at any given time. Take a moment to think about how many connected devices your home has, and now think about all of them trying to gather signal from that single source of truth you have. Combine that with all of the spots in your home that you take your devices to, and surely there have to be parts of the house that have a better or worse signal than the others.
If you have a router and range extender, you’re now babysitting two devices too. Don’t get me wrong! For years, this was kind of the go-to answer, and it may still be for some home setups. Realistically though, this solution has its weaknesses too. For example, most range extenders broadcast an “extended” signal off your router, which means it might be yet another network for you to join within your own home. A Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system, while being comprised of multiple nodes, only requires you to join a single network. As you move about, this transitioning from node to node happens in the background seamlessly, and you’ll stay connected to your same network no matter where you are at home.
For a more technical description of how a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system works, I’ll refer you to a previous blog that my colleague Ted Kritsonis did back in the Spring. It talks through the benefits at more of a technical level.
Why do I need a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system?
If you have a single signal broadcasting from somewhere inside your home, it’s probably obstructed in some form as it tries to reach every corner. Whether it’s walls, doors, brick or stone facings, or just the sheer size of your home, obstructions to your Wi-Fi signal are equal parts annoying and frustrating.
Take my situation as an example. My family lives in a 3 storey townhouse, and our greatest Wi-Fi challenge for years has been combating signal drops or weakened signals in the north end of the home. That’s because our home office is in the basement of the south end, and the Wi-Fi signal gets obstructed by pretty well everything on its way to the living room on the 2nd floor, and up to the master bedroom. Before the dawn of Home Mesh Wi-Fi systems, we went through 3 different routers and 2 different range extenders, and even then the signal up to the master bedroom was mediocre at best.
With a Home Mesh Wi-Fi system, we could’ve placed one device on each floor, and we’d have been golden, solving our problems in an instant. Rather than running downstairs to troubleshoot issues, we could also have been doing it from a smart device app, which most Mesh Wi-Fi systems run off of and is far more convenient. Before the advent of these systems, we spent far more money trying to solve the problem than the cost of an entire modern system itself.
Is a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System easy to install?
It’s possible that one of these systems is easier to install and take care of than your old router system, since most just require plug-in placement and following simple instructions to make it all work. Since the majority of Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi systems work off an app that sits on your smart device, you can pretty well tend to your network anywhere in your home if you sense any problems. Some systems are really user friendly too. Take the Linksys Velop, for example. The Velop has a lot of really nice benefits, like setting up specific guest passwords to your network (so that you don’t have to divulge your actual password) and even cooperation with Alexa. Velop can also sense when one of its devices has been unplugged or turned off and will course correct and pick up the slack automatically.
This is just one of many systems out there. Companies like D-Link, Netgear, and TP-Link all have Mesh Wi-Fi systems too, ranging from 2-4 devices. With many different trustworthy brand names and different styles to choose from, Mesh Wi-Fi systems can blend in with your decor much easier than some of those massive tri-band routers that look like they stepped off a sci-fi set into your living room.
Taking care of your guests during the holidays
There’s a good chance that if you’re the holiday host this year, you’re going to have as many people in your home as the McAllister family in the movie Home Alone. Every year, I visit my aunt’s home and wonder how so many people can fit into her home, and then I think about how they stretch out around her home and how many smart devices they’re carrying and using.
Setting up a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system will ensure that little Jimmy in the corner bedroom will have just as clear of a signal for his Netflix shows as the kids downstairs huddled around the gaming systems playing whichever game they just unwrapped. When the party’s finally wrapped up and everybody’s heading to bed and need to catch up on social media, or stream a video or two, a system like this will make sure everybody is looked after and can call it a night without waiting for their movie to load.
The most convenient thing about making sure that your guests’ Wi-Fi needs are taken care of in this scenario is that you can place and move each node that makes up your Mesh Wi-Fi system so that it hits all the spots your guests will be. This way you can ensure that you’ve provided them a full safety net of coverage. As they move throughout the home, they’ll keep the same stable Wi-Fi signal thanks to the system you put in place!
Think it’s time to bring a Mesh Wi-Fi system into your home? Check out the possibilities waiting for you now at your local Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca and bring home a new solution just in time for your guests this holiday season.
Have you made the jump to a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System? Tell us what you picked and the changes you’ve seen to your home’s signal below!