WiFi Extenders vs Mesh WiFi – whats the difference and which is better?

WiFi Extenders vs Mesh WiFi – whats the difference and which is better?

Quick count: How many devices do you have right now connected to your WiF? Not just phones and tablets. You have to include Smart TV, smart home devices like garage opener, security cameras, voice assistant, computers, laptops, gaming consoles etc.

With so many devices, it’s no wonder that our WiFi is getting slower and slower as each device fights for their connectivity piece. If you are experiencing slow WiFi, and you tried to add WiFi Extenders and they didn’t give you any more speed, then maybe its time to move over to Mesh WiFi.

But I am sure you have questions like what is Mesh WiFi? How is it different from WiFi extenders? Why should you use them?

Let me show you what you need to know to get back those WiFi speeds!

How is Mesh different to normal WiFi range extenders?

We know that our WiFi doesn’t reach every corner of our home and even when we are able to get signal it is just so slow. We try to boost our signal with WiFi extenders and while that works to boost the signal, it doesn’t really solve the problem.

A Wifi Range Extender communicates with your Internet router. It then re-broadcasts that signal so that devices can connect to it and then to the router, then to the modem, and finally out onto the internet.

This works. However, it is inefficient as most extenders cut your bandwidth in half! The reason for that is that most Extenders are half-duplex. In other words, they can’t send and receive information at the same time. They also re-broadcast every single packet so no intelligent routing is done.

Now add 20 devices at home all wanting WiFi attention, this quickly adds a big burden on the entire system and everything slows down to a crawl.

With a MESH network, things are different.

Firstly, you don’t have to create a separate WiFi network. So you won’t see a new WiFi with names like home_ext or outside_ext. Mesh can use your existing WiFi name.

Mesh WiFi works by placing nodes around the property. These nodes have intelligence built into them so they can route data using the fastest route. Much like a GPS reroutes you around traffic so you get to your destination faster.

WiFi Nodes also have multiple aerials and supports MU-MIMO  – multi-user, multiple input, multiple output so you have faster speeds.

Finally, Mesh has 802.11r which is known as Fast roaming. This means that when you first connect to the Mesh wifi the first device you connects to can “vouch” for you. Now as you walk around your house the Mesh nodes simply hand you over to the next one without having your device re-authenticate.

How to set up a Mesh WiFi?

I was sent the 3 mesh units Whole Home WiFi System by Rock Space which can provide coverage of up to 5380 sq.ft,  or a three-story home. It can do such a space as it has all of those MESH capabilities

It is very simple to set up. You plug the first Node into your mesh wifi router with the provided LAN cable – this gets your Mesh WiFi that internet connection. You download the app simply follow the prompts.

Next, you plug in the other Nodes into the power and watch the light. A green light means you have an excellent signal, Yellow light means the signal is adequate and you might want to move it closer to the main Node. Red light means no signal so relocate the Node.

Does Mesh WiFi actually work?

Yes. As you will see in the video above, I connect to the Mesh WiFi and get over 500Mbps. When I connect from the same spot to the traditional WiFi, I get 175Mbps.

Check out the video for the actual tests and of course, click here to see more info on the Rock Space Mesh WiFi!


Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning tech blogger, YouTube strategist, and Podcaster. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging way that non-techies can relate to. He also drinks way too much coffee! @Liron_Segev on Twitter