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A closer look at mesh networks (aka “whole home Wi-Fi systems”)

Are they the future of home networking?

May 13, 2019

Wireless mesh networks may be an emerging technology, but they could very well be the internet connection of the future for homes everywhere. 
 
Why? Because wireless mesh networks can easily and effectively provide seamless wireless internet service throughout large homes, including basements, attics, garages and across large outdoor areas, with no drops, dead zones or speed delays—all using inexpensive, existing technology.
 
In a smart home filled with network-connected devices, such as smart thermostats, security cameras and speakers, a mesh network also provides heightened security against cyberattacks. Traditional Wi-Fi routers don’t offer that protection.
 
With the repeal of net neutrality laws, some people might also appreciate mesh networks’ ability to connect to the internet without relying on the nation’s major internet service providers. This gives private citizens more freedom to surf the web without the risk of telecoms potentially favoring certain types of data or information. 
 
What are wireless mesh networks?
Traditional networks rely on a small number of wired access points or wireless hotspots to connect users. In a Wi-Fi mesh network, the network connection is spread out among dozens of wireless mesh nodes that talk to each other to share the network connection across a large area.
 
How mesh nodes work
Mesh nodes are small radio transmitters that function similarly to a wireless router. Each Wi-Fi node serves as a connection point, which spreads the signal from one node to the next—creating a mesh of nodes. In this network topology, there’s no central server.
 
Information travels across the network from point A to point B by hopping wirelessly from one mesh node to the next. Using a process called dynamic routing, the nodes automatically choose the quickest and safest path, which enables the mesh network to run faster because local packets don’t have to travel back and forth from a central server.
 
Advantages of Wi-Fi mesh networking
One of the biggest advantages of wireless mesh networks is that they’re truly wireless. Only one node needs to be physically wired to a network connection, like a DSL internet modem. That one wired node then shares its internet connection wirelessly with all other nodes in its vicinity. The more nodes, the further the connection spreads, creating a wireless “cloud of connectivity” that can serve an entire home property, a small office or, with enough nodes, even a city of millions (like the existing NYC Mesh in New York City that uses rooftop antennas to spread the internet around). 
 
Using fewer wires means it costs less to set up a network, especially for large homes or those with unusual layouts, more than two stories or interior brick walls. Plus, the more nodes installed, the bigger, stronger and faster the wireless network becomes. 
 
Considering these advantages, Wi-Fi mesh networking is likely to replace traditional Wi-Fi routers in the near future, especially as your customers go deeper into the world of IoT. Just imagine: Those frustrating dead spots at home may very well become a thing of the past.
 
For more information on mesh networks, contact your account representative today.