Having a bad WiFi connection is one of the most frustrating realities of modern technology. Especially if you work from home or have a lot of people in your house, this can happen daily.
During the COVID-19 crisis this is not the best time to be fussing with your internet.
Upgrading to a mesh network is one of the best solutions to gain a stable and strong wireless connection and give you more conductivity when you need it most.
Keep reading for our complete guide to setting up a mesh network for your home!
A mesh network uses multiple points in different rooms to fill gaps in a WiFi signal. It will use one main internet point plugged into a router through an Ethernet cable, and then each additional device is placed away from the primary point. These points will then communicate with the main WiFi in your router.
This system essentially allows for the points to fill the area with a stable WiFi signal and will communicate with all the points in the system. This will allow for signal strength to adapt as needed.
So with a mesh network, it doesn’t matter where you are in your home or what device you use, the signal you get should be the same. All the points are a part of the same wireless network, so you won’t have to switch networks or passwords. This is where the name, "Mesh Network" comes from, like a spiderweb of strings or signals that are all connected to one another.
Before you go to the store or online to purchase a mesh network system or WiFi devices, you need to answer a few questions to make sure you buy the right one. First ask, how much coverage do you need?
Measure the square footage of your home. Take into account any outside areas you’re also hoping to cover. Also, think about the distance between floors and levels of your home. This should work even in rural areas!
The way your home is built will also affect the signal. Certain walls, doorways and floors will change the wireless signal transmissions. Most of the mesh systems on the market are expandable, so if your system doesn’t reach certain areas, you should be able to add another wireless point. Mesh networks are great if you want to start setting up IoT smart devices in your home.
Another question to answer is, where will you put each node for optimal WiFi coverage? You want to avoid creating dead zones, so it’s important to be strategic about where you put the points.
The main router node, which will provide the internet connection to all of the additional points, should be installed close to your existing router or cable modem. It should also be placed in the open, not in a closet.
If you plan to use a wired Ethernet running to the locations where you are putting the nodes, you may want a system like Google WiFi, which will provide a wired backhaul. The backhaul is the connection between access points and the router.
Other options on the market like Ubiquiti will require a wired connection. Amplifi can be wired or wireless depending on the one you buy.
If you are choosing a wired connection, you need to think about outlets. Wherever you place each additional node will need an outlet to plug into. But if you’d rather opt for wireless, you can use powerful satellite systems like Netgear Orbi or Linksys Velop.
Building a mesh network is a simple process. Most manufacturers will offer bundles that have the main point and at least one other device for a different room.
But the amount of additional points you need will depend on the square footage of your home. You will probably need about two additional points for a medium house and three or more for a larger house.
After you installed the main node to your home router, the manufacturer should have an app you can use that will search for the node. It will then let you know once it’s found the node and it’ll need you to have an IP address. Before you add the satellite node or point, you should give the network a name and password.
You might want to then unplug the modem or router you’re connecting the mesh system to. This will allow it to reset and connect to the IP address. To set it up, you can open the app and follow the instructions for connecting the mesh router and adding the additional nodes.
Remember that the mesh network you’ve chosen will take over the WiFi duties in your home. So you don’t need to have WiFi enabled on the router as well, since this could get in the way of the primary point’s signal.
Most router brands should allow you to disable WiFi and turn it into a modem instead. You’ll need to check with the router’s instructions.
At this point, you might also be able to set up parental controls for your mesh network. This will allow you to restrict internet access during certain times of the day or block adult sites.
To check the success of your mesh network, you can see how strong each point’s connection is by using devices in different parts of your home.
Setting up a mesh network is a great solution to weak WiFi! Especially if you have a lot of dead zones in your home, this solution can solve your problems and make working from home or using multiple devices much easier.
Share this with a friend who struggles with bad internet connections. Also, if the thought of establishing this mesh network on your own is overwhelming or have other WiFi needs, contact us today!