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What is Mesh WiFi?

Discover tech with NETGEAR. Learn more about Mesh WiFi - the best WiFi tech using multiple devices to provide seamless WiFi coverage and the fastest WiFi speeds.

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WiFi Mesh: An Overview

Mesh WiFi Systems are wireless networks that use two or more wireless units to create a unified network with more coverage than a single router. A Mesh WiFi System allows devices to automatically select the best satellite node to allow seamless roaming with one WiFi name and password. Mesh WiFi is great for large homes and businesses and gives you great flexibility to place your satellites in different areas for optimal WiFi coverage. Mesh WiFi Systems for home and Mesh Systems for business are available with various levels of functionality and performance depending on your needs.

What is a Mesh Network?

A mesh network creates an overlapping wireless coverage area, so that if one device can't reach a connection, another device in the mesh will be able to. A wireless node (either the Mesh Router or Mesh Satellite) communicates with connected devices directly (phones, smart TVs, tablets etc.), but also talks to any other transmitting device within range that is part of the network (either the Mesh Router or Mesh Satellite).


What is a Mesh WiFi System?

Mesh WiFi Systems are the latest and greatest in-home WiFi technology. A mesh setup provides better coverage than a single router and can eliminate WiFi dead zones. They consist of one Mesh Router and one or more Mesh Satellite or nodes. The Mesh Router is the hub of the system, and the satellite nodes communicate with it to extend the signal throughout your home.

Mesh Satellites are wired or wirelessly connected to the Mesh Router via a “backhaul”. The quality and speed of the backhaul connection dictates the maximum speed that satellites can connect at. Consider Mesh Systems with powerful WiFi 6 Tri-Band or better backhaul for the highest performance. Mesh Satellites cannot be used without a connection to the main Mesh Router, but if desired, a Mesh Router can be used without any satellites. Mesh WiFi Systems allow you to get a strong, reliable WiFi signal in every corner of your house, without having to worry about dead spots.

How does Mesh WiFi work?

Mesh networks are a type of network where each node can relay data to other nodes in the network, passing it along until it reaches its destination. This is in contrast to traditional wireless networks, where each device is connected to a single central router. For a typical user connected to a Mesh Network, this forwarding of data between nodes is completely seamless; they have the same experience as being connected to a single super-powerful wireless router.


What is a Mesh Router?

Mesh Routers are the heart of a Mesh WiFi System. Working in tandem with a modem, the WiFi Mesh Router directly creates a single, unified network throughout a home by managing and connecting to one or more Mesh Satellites.

What are the Benefits of Mesh WiFi?

Mesh WiFi is becoming more and more popular because it offers a few key benefits that traditional routers don't. 

• Mesh WiFi networks automatically configure themselves, so there's no need to manually set up each individual node. This makes the setup process incredibly easy and seamless for the user.

• Mesh WiFi networks are far more reliable than traditional routers. If one experiences a weak signal, a closer satellite will automatically take over and the network will still function seamlessly. 

• Mesh WiFi networks can be much faster than traditional routers. In fact, they can be up to ten times faster! This is because data is distributed evenly across all of the nodes in the network, rather than concentrating all traffic to a single wireless router.


Mesh Network: Advantages and Disadvantages


Mesh WiFi Systems have significant performance advantages over traditional WiFi routers and wireless extenders.

• Mesh Systems can provide the fastest and easiest to use WiFi possible for consumers.

• Mesh WiFi is also one of the only ways to take full advantage of 1 Gig internet plans performance.

• More powerful hardware can also unlock advanced Mesh Router features like cybersecurity and internet filtering with parental controls.

• Mesh WiFi Systems are often expandable with additional Mesh Satellites eliminating slow WiFi on the networks edge.



Mesh networks have very few disadvantages but there are a few considerations when shopping for a Mesh System.

• Thanks to modern advancements such as Tri-Band and Quad-Band WiFi, WiFi devices may experience imperceptible increased latency when data is transmitted between satellite nodes. This is because data has to pass through more nodes to reach the internet, and each node adds a small delay as data is read and retransmitted. Often this small amount of latency is counterbalanced by the reduced device load on each individual Mesh Satellite compared to a traditional wireless router setup.

• Mesh WiFi Systems are sometimes more expensive than single wireless routers of the same performance class. However, these cost considerations can lead to time and cost-saving vs buying multiple premium extenders and configuring your own network from scratch.

Mesh WiFi vs Extender: What’s the difference?

Mesh WiFi Systems are preconfigured out of the box, meaning that once you have the main Mesh Router unit set up, you can add additional Mesh Satellites and they will all work together. Mesh networks also have a more powerful backhaul than a traditional Wireless Extender. This means that the signal from the main unit to satellites is stronger and can reach further away with less chance of interference and slow-down. Mesh Systems allow for the use of a single SSID (service set identifier) meaning the same WiFi name is always seamlessly available and you don't have to worry about which network your device is connected to - it will always connect to the strongest signal. With a traditional Wireless Extender, you have to configure each one separately, which can be complicated and error-prone.


How to set up Mesh WiFi

1. Connect your Mesh Router to your modem and place the satellites in the desired locations. The Mesh Router should be placed in the middle of your home and the satellites should be placed around the edge of your property in order to provide optimal coverage. Get more Mesh Setup help.

2. Once devices are placed, use the app or browser login page to configure the router and check which satellite provides the best signal in each room. 

For more on Mesh Satellite placement visit - Where should I place my Orbi Mesh Satellites?

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