If you have trouble getting WiFi coverage in some parts of your house (or yard, for the summer), then you’re going to want to hear about WiFi “Mesh.” Mesh is the state of the art way to spread WiFi around to the farthest end or hardest to reach corner of your home or office.
It sounds fancy, and possibly complicated, but it’s not complicated at all – at least from the user’s point of view. Mesh WiFi is very – almost amazingly – simple to set up, and it takes all the hassle out of using WiFi all over your house. Mesh WiFi creates, as the name implies, a sort of WiFi net over your house. What you see is just good, strong WiFi everywhere.
Mesh uses “pods” that you place around your home or office. They connect with each other, and with your main WiFi router. Between them and the router, they will automatically create the “mesh” of WiFi signals. Their function is complex, but you don’t see this happening. You just see your WiFi network coming through.
You can buy mesh pods in sets of three, six or more. Then you set up and manage your mesh with an app on your phone, tablet, or computer. There are many generalized mesh systems that will work with any Internet connection, including Xfinity (most common around Pawling). Google makes a version called “Google WiFi,” and there are several other popular brands, including “Eero,” “Ubiquiti” and “Nest – Connect.” Xfinity now also offers a mesh system (for sale) that is the least expensive of all, but with the limit that it will only work with Xfinity Internet.
With the exception of Xfinity (which uses your Xfinity “gateway” router as the main hub), the other systems use one of the mesh pods as the main hub, connected directly to your existing modem or router. The remaining mesh pods are then moved to locations where the WiFi signal from the main pod is still decent, out in the direction of where you get little or no signal. If your router is at one end of your house and you get little or no signal at the other end of the house, then you would put a mesh pod somewhere in between, where it can pick up the main signal and pass it on to the far end of the house.
This may sound like “extenders,” but it is actually much different. Mesh pods have sophisticated technology built in that lets them create a connection for you that is almost as good as if you were connected by Ethernet cable. The pods negotiate between themselves to create dedicated wireless links, and carry your data for you almost as if they didn’t exist.
If you’ve been grappling with weak WiFi or trying to get extenders to work as well as you need, take a look at WiFi mesh. I’ve installed a few now, including at my own house, and it is easy, and it does work – very, very well.
Mike Pepper, The Computer Guy, has been providing software and hardware support in New York and Connecticut for more than 35 years. He can be reached at (845) 855-5824, or www.PawlingComputerGuy.com.