wifi and mesh routers

Wi-Fi router and Mesh router : What’s the difference?

More and more devices are now wireless and work thanks to your Wi-Fi network. It is therefore more important than ever that this network works properly and covers your entire home.

Even if routers provided by ISP have made great progress in this area, it must be said that they are still light years away from what specialized equipment can offer. Your ISP’s router may be sufficient if you have a small apartment or a medium sized house but as soon as the surface to be covered is too large or the walls are too thick you will only find yourself with a dead space where your house is not covered by Wi-Fi.

Choose a dedicated wireless router

There are a multitude of routeur wifi devices available from almost all network equipment manufacturers and in a very wide price range.

Using such equipment can be justified by the fact that the Wi-Fi range of your ISP’s router is restricted. Or if you have special needs. For example, some routers are specialized in gaming, others are more for experienced users.

New wireless routers are coming out much faster than the ISP’s routers evolved, allowing them to be at the top of current technology and standards. That is partly because ISP cannot afford their routers / modem to have a high production cost or to rent them at a high cost.

While manufacturers of wireless routers do not have this constraint, if they want to release a 600€ router they can do it (and it happens). Dedicated routers therefore generally have much better quality parts, and can afford to have better components like more antennas with better range for example.

But the wireless may be in your living room, your bedroom or your kitchen, it cannot emit from several places at the same time.

In some cases, in very large houses, or with walls that prevent waves from spreading, a dedicated wireless router may not be enough! You can buy the most beautiful, the most expensive, if your old house spreads over 300sqm over 3 floors, the rooms located at the top will have no signal or it will be very bad. (Imagine that the router is on the ground floor)

Solid home setup

Choose a mesh system

Manufacturers became aware of this, and thought that instead of providing extremely powerful equipment, it might be a good idea to provide something more modest, but something that is divided into several entities.

This is how the mesh system was born, and it is very fashionable at the moment, because it responds perfectly to this coverage issue.

A mesh system is therefore several devices (2, 3, 5, 10…), which will be spread throughout your home. Each has its own coverage, but all have the same Wi-Fi name (SSID). So when you reach the end of one’s coverage, the other takes over.

Of course, the coverage of one of these devices is not as good as that of a high-end dedicated Wi-Fi router, but the number makes the difference! The different satellites discuss among themselves to determine together a whole lot of things, such as on which terminal you should be connected to have the best speed, with which band, 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz?

They are not only simple repeaters, which reproduce the wifi network of your router at different places in your home. In the case of mesh systems, all devices are identical and produce a unified and intelligent wireless network throughout the house.

The differences

The wireless router is no better or worse than the mesh system, and the reverse is also true. Everything will actually depend on your needs.

The surface area and constitution of your house is obviously a very important point to take into account, but not the only one. Mesh systems are also very simple to set up, but on the other hand, they offer less functionality than a router.

And of course, a router may be more suitable for those who need a lot of features.

In terms of pricing, it’s about the same, if you consider a mid-range/high-range router model and a good mesh system (at least three units). So it is really a matter of how you will use the device, the size of your home, and your level of knowledge.

If you need a wireless network in a large house, you don’t know much about networking and your needs are just to access the Internet, then a mesh system is the right choice.

If you need hardware with QoS, establish static routes, redirect ports, do parental control etc. and you know how to do all this, the wireless router will probably be a better choice, otherwise you will be limited by the mesh system.