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Wi-fi Extender vs. Mesh Wi-fi - Which is Better?

10 October 2023

Wi-fi Extender vs. Mesh Wi-fi - Which is Better?

 

Ever bought a router expecting wall-to-wall Wi-Fi, only to find dead zones and dropouts? You're not alone. Network congestion, building design, wide-open spaces, and gadget interference can all throw a wrench in the wireless works.

 

When one router isn’t cutting it, mesh networks and Wi-Fi extenders come into play, boosting your signal and banishing those Wi-Fi woes. So, what’s the best pick for top-tier connectivity in your home? Join us as we delve deep into the differences between Wi-Fi extenders and mesh systems.

Wi-Fi Extenders

What are Wi-Fi Extenders?

Wi-Fi extenders, also known as range extenders, serve as connectivity amplifiers, strategically positioned to expand your router’s Wi-Fi signal to areas that typically struggle to catch a strong connection. 

 

Wi-Fi extenders grasp your existing Wi-Fi signal, amplify it, and then transmit the supercharged signal to create an expanded Wi-Fi network. This is particularly beneficial in scenarios where your Wi-Fi needs just a little nudge to reach areas like basements, ensuring that every corner is bathed in reliable connectivity.

Mesh Wi-Fi Systems

What are Mesh Wi-Fi Systems?

Mesh Wi-Fi systems are designed to permeate your living space with a seamless, robust internet connection, effectively eliminating dead zones and ensuring stable online experiences in every corner of your home. 

 

Mesh systems utilise multiple nodes, strategically placed around your dwelling, to create a seamless and robust Wi-Fi network. Unlike traditional routers, which transmit Wi-Fi from a single point, mesh systems ensure that every nook, from the bustling kitchen to the cosy attic reading nook, is enveloped in strong, reliable Wi-Fi.

What are the Pros and Cons of Wi-Fi Extender & Mesh Wi-Fi Systems?

 

Pros of Wi-Fi Extenders

 

Cost-Effective:

Wi-Fi extenders are generally less expensive than mesh systems, making them an affordable option for enhancing Wi-Fi coverage in specific areas.

Easy Installation:

Most Wi-Fi extenders are plug-and-play, meaning they can be easily installed and configured without requiring extensive technical knowledge.

Improved Coverage:

They effectively boost the Wi-Fi signal into areas where the router alone cannot reach, mitigating issues like dead zones.

Compatibility:

Wi-Fi extenders are usually compatible with a wide range of routers, meaning you likely won’t need to upgrade your existing router to use one.

Targeted Extension:

They can be strategically placed to target specific areas or rooms that require a stronger signal.

Cons of Wi-Fi Extenders

 

Potential for Reduced Speed:

Some extenders may reduce internet speeds in the areas where they provide extended coverage, as they utilise one band to communicate with your router and another to communicate with your devices.

Complexity in Multiple Use:

Utilising multiple extenders to cover larger areas can be complex and may create network management challenges.

Aesthetics and Placement:

Extenders need to be placed in locations where they can receive a strong signal from your router, which might not always be the most aesthetically pleasing or convenient location.

Separate Network SSIDs:

Some extenders create their own SSID, meaning you might have to manually switch networks as you move through your home to maintain the strongest connection.

Interference:

Depending on the technology and frequency they use, Wi-Fi extenders can sometimes experience interference from other household electronics, which might impact performance.

Limited Features:

Extenders might not offer the same advanced features (like parental controls or guest networks) that your primary router does.

Pros of Mesh Wi-Fi Systems

 

Seamless Connectivity:

Mesh systems provide seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home, automatically connecting your device to the strongest signal as you move around.

Elimination of Dead Zones:

By utilising multiple nodes, mesh systems effectively eliminate dead zones, ensuring stable connectivity in every corner of your home.

Scalability:

Mesh systems are scalable, allowing you to easily expand your network by adding more nodes, making them suitable for all sizes of homes.

Unified Network:

Unlike extenders, mesh systems create a single, unified Wi-Fi network, preventing the need to switch between networks as you move through your home.

Advanced Features:

Many mesh systems come with advanced features, such as parental controls, guest networks, and security enhancements.

Aesthetic Design:

Mesh nodes are often designed to be aesthetically pleasing and can be placed in visible locations without being an eyesore.

Smart Home Integration:

Some mesh systems offer integration with smart home devices and virtual assistants, providing additional functionality.

 

Cons of Mesh Wi-Fi Systems

 

Cost:

Mesh Wi-Fi systems tend to be more expensive than traditional routers and Wi-Fi extenders, which might be a consideration for budget-conscious consumers.

Complexity for Small Spaces:

For smaller homes or apartments, mesh systems might provide more coverage than is necessary, making them potentially over complicated and costly for such environments.

Potential for Overlapping Signals:

In some instances, if nodes are placed too closely together, their signals might overlap, causing interference and affecting performance.

Setup and Configuration:

While many mesh systems are designed for easy setup, configuring advanced settings or optimising your network might be more complex than with a traditional router.

Technology and Standardisation:

Mesh technology and standards can vary between manufacturers, potentially causing compatibility or performance issues if you wish to use nodes from different brands.

Router Replacement:

In most cases, to set up a mesh system, you will need to replace your existing router, which might be off-putting for some users who have recently invested in a new router.

Which is Better?

The choice between a Wi-Fi extender and a mesh Wi-Fi system largely depends on your specific needs, the size and layout of your space, and your budget. Let’s break down some scenarios where one might be preferable over the other:

When to Choose a Wi-Fi Extender:

 

Budget-Friendly:

If you're looking for a cost-effective solution to improve Wi-Fi in a specific area of your home.

Smaller Spaces:

If you have a smaller home or apartment and just need a bit more range in a specific room or area.

Simple Needs:

If your internet usage is basic (browsing, emails) and doesn’t demand super-high performance.

Single Problem Area:

If there’s only one area of your home where the Wi-Fi signal is weak or unreliable.

 

Our Wi-Fi Extender recommendations:

 

1) TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender:

 

Features:

 

Quad-Antenna Design: Ensures an extensive range and reliable signal throughout your home.

Impressive Throughput: With AC2600 dual-band Wi-Fi, enjoy up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1733 Mbps on the 5GHz band.

MU-MIMO Technology: Simultaneously communicates with multiple devices, enhancing performance.

Beamforming Technology: Directs Wi-Fi towards devices to enhance signal strength.

 

Best For: Large homes and busy networks, especially where multiple devices require high-speed internet simultaneously, such as gaming and 4K streaming.

 

2) TP-Link RE450 AC1750 Wi-Fi Range Extender:

 

Features:

 

Dual-Band Enhancement: Provides up to 1750Mbps performance using dual-band Wi-Fi.

Gigabit Ethernet Port: Enables wired connections for boosted speed and reliability.

Intuitive Mobile Interface: TP-Link Tether App ensures easy setup and network management.

 

Best For: Medium to large homes, supporting activities like online gaming and 4K streaming.

 

3) D-Link DAP-1720 AC1750 Wi-Fi Range Extender:

 

Features:

 

Dual-Band Technology: Offers up to 1750Mbps, ensuring reduced interference and better performance.

Adjustable Antennas: Enhanced flexibility for optimal signal reception.

One-Touch Setup: WPS button ensures easy setup and device connection.

 

Best For: Households with multiple devices, providing stable connections for streaming and browsing.

 

4) TP-Link RE500X AX1500 Wi-Fi Range Extender

 

Features:

 

Wi-Fi 6 Technology: Supports the latest Wi-Fi standard for enhanced speed and device capacity.

OneMesh Technology: Can create a mesh network with compatible routers, ensuring seamless roaming.

High-Speed Mode: Utilises one band for data traffic and the other for signal transmission, maximising performance.

 

Best For: Tech-savvy households with a need for high-speed internet and seamless device switching.

When to Choose a Mesh Wi-Fi System:

 

Larger Homes:

If you have a larger home or a space with multiple floors, a mesh system can provide comprehensive coverage.

Numerous Devices:

If multiple devices are connected simultaneously, mesh systems can better manage the load.

Seamless Roaming:

If you move around your home a lot and want your device to seamlessly switch to the strongest signal.

Smart Home Setup:

If you have a smart home setup with numerous IoT devices requiring stable connections throughout your home.

High-Performance Needs:

If you require a stable and strong connection for activities like gaming, streaming, or video conferencing.

Aesthetic Concerns:

If you prefer network nodes to blend seamlessly into your home decor.

 

Our Mesh Wi-Fi System recommendations:

 

1) TP-Link Deco Voice X20 AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System with Smart Speaker

 

Features:

 

Integrated Smart Speaker: Combines mesh Wi-Fi technology with a smart speaker, enhancing smart home functionality.

Wi-Fi 6 Technology: Offers faster speeds, improved device handling, and enhanced range with the latest Wi-Fi standard.

Voice Control: Enables voice commands for easy network management and smart home control.

Seamless Roaming: Devices automatically connect to the strongest signal as you move through your home.

 

Best For: Users seeking a mesh system that integrates with a smart home setup and prioritises ease of use and management through voice control.

 

2) NetComm NS-02 CloudMesh WiFi 6 Satellite

 

Features:

 

Wi-Fi 6 Support: Offers the benefits of the latest Wi-Fi standard, including improved speed and device handling.

Easy Pairing: Designed to easily integrate with your existing CloudMesh system.

Compact Design: Small and unobtrusive, making it easy to place around your home.

 

Best For: Existing users of a CloudMesh system looking to expand their network coverage with minimal fuss.

 

3) TP-Link Deco X50 Outdoor Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6

 

Features:

 

Outdoor Use: Designed to extend your mesh network outdoors, ensuring garden, patio, or garage coverage.

Wi-Fi 6 Technology: Enhanced speeds and better device management with the latest Wi-Fi standard.

Power over Ethernet (PoE): Simplifies installation by using a single cable for both power and data.

 

Best For: Those looking to extend their high-speed mesh network outdoors without compromising on speed or security.

 

4) Synology MR2200ac Wireless Mesh Router

 

Features:

 

Comprehensive Parental Controls: Offers detailed and customizable parental control settings, ensuring a safe online environment for children.

SRM Operating System: Utilises Synology Router Manager (SRM) which provides a user-friendly interface and advanced network management options.

Mesh Capability: Can be paired with additional MR2200ac units to create a mesh network, ensuring seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.

Threat Prevention: Comes with intelligent threat detection and prevention mechanisms to safeguard your network.

 

Best For: Families and users who prioritise network security and detailed management of their Wi-Fi settings and controls.

 

Your Next Step to Seamless Connectivity

 

Choosing between a Wi-Fi extender and a mesh Wi-Fi system doesn’t have to be complex. At Mwave, we’re here to guide you through every step of your connectivity journey, ensuring you select the solution that’s just right for you.

 

Ready to elevate your online experience and say goodbye to buffering once and for all? Dive into the world of seamless connectivity with Mwave and explore our wide range of Wi-Fi extenders and Mesh Wi-Fi systems today!

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