Mesh Wi-Fi systems, which hit the market a few years ago, have completely changed the way people interact with their home networks.
Mesh systems, as opposed to traditional routers, typically employ smaller components known as nodes that are intended to be more visually appealing because they are intended to be displayed in your home rather than tucked away in a closet or somewhere else out of sight.
In reality, the true appeal of mesh systems for most residential users stems from the fact that they typically come with free mobile apps that make setting up and managing the network from a smartphone or tablet simple. You can move from one room to another without having to log into a larger network or change your password because all of the nodes share a single SSID and password.
Mesh systems are popular because they are designed to be simple to use, with the most notable benefits being quick and easy installation and seamless house Wi-Fi coverage.
Although mesh networks are more user-friendly than traditional networks, there are a few things to consider when choosing and setting up your mesh network. Continue reading to learn how to set up your new mesh system so that you can provide wonderful, powerful Wi-Fi coverage throughout your entire home.
What Is a Mesh Wi-Fi System?
A mesh Wi-Fi system is a set of multiple wireless access points that work together to create a single, seamless wireless network in a home or office. These access points, or “nodes,” communicate with each other to distribute the wireless signal throughout the space, eliminating dead spots and providing a stronger and more consistent connection. This allows for a more reliable and efficient wireless network compared to a traditional single router setup.
Getting Started: Wi-Fi Mesh App Setup and Node Placement
To set up a mesh Wi-Fi system, you will need to download the manufacturer’s app to your mobile device and follow the instructions provided. The app will guide you through the process of connecting the first node to your existing internet connection, and then configuring additional nodes as needed.
When placing the nodes, it’s important to consider the layout of the space and the location of walls and other obstacles. The nodes should be placed in areas where there is a weak signal or a dead spot, with at least one node on each floor of the house. They should be placed in a central location within the area that needs coverage and should be placed at least 10-15 feet apart and at least 2 feet from walls and other obstructions to ensure optimal coverage.
It is also important to keep in mind to keep the nodes away from sources of interference, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and other electronic devices. Once the nodes are placed and configured, the app will test the network to ensure that all nodes are working properly and that the coverage is adequate.
Here are the general steps for setting up a Wi-Fi mesh network:
- Gather the equipment: Make sure you have all the necessary components, including the main router and any additional nodes or satellites.
- Download the manufacturer’s app: Most mesh Wi-Fi systems require a mobile app to set up and manage the network. Download the app to your smartphone or tablet.
- Connect the main router: Connect the main router to your existing internet connection and power it on.
- Configure the main router: Follow the instructions in the app to configure the main router and create a new network.
- Add additional nodes: If you have additional nodes or satellites, connect them to power and place them in areas where you need better coverage.
- Pair the nodes: Follow the instructions in the app to pair the additional nodes with the main router. This will create a single, seamless wireless network.
- Test the network: Use the app to test the network and make sure that all the nodes are working properly and that the coverage is adequate.
- Secure the network: Make sure the network is secure by setting a strong password and enabling any other security features provided by the manufacturer.
- Update the firmware: Make sure to check for firmware updates and install them if available, this could improve the performance and security of your network.
- Enjoy: Once the mesh Wi-Fi network is set up and configured, you can enjoy the benefits of a more reliable and consistent wireless connection throughout your home or office.
Note that these are general steps and the specifics might vary depending on the manufacturer, so it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
What should you consider before setting up mesh WiFi networks?
When setting up a mesh Wi-Fi network, there are several things to consider to ensure that it is configured properly and provides optimal coverage:
Space and layout:
Consider the layout of your home or office and the location of walls, doors, and other obstacles that could affect the wireless signal.
The number of nodes:
Determine the number of nodes that you need based on the size of the space and the number of devices that will be connected to the network.
Place the nodes in central locations within the areas that need coverage, and make sure they are at least 10-15 feet apart and at least 2 feet from walls and other obstructions.
Keep the nodes away from sources of interference, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and other electronic devices.
Make sure your internet service provider can provide the necessary bandwidth for all the devices that will be connected to the network.
Make sure that the network is secure and that the devices connected to it are protected by a strong password and updated security software.
Consider the scalability of the network and if it can adapt to the increasing number of devices and users in the future.
Make sure the manufacturer provides good support and troubleshooting options in case you need it.
By considering these factors before setting up a mesh Wi-Fi network, you can ensure that the network is configured properly and provides optimal coverage for all of your devices.
Parental Controls and Device Prioritization for Wi-Fi Mesh Systems
Most Wi-Fi mesh systems come with built-in parental controls and device prioritization features that allow you to set limits and restrictions on internet access for certain devices, as well as prioritize internet bandwidth for specific devices or activities.
Parental controls typically allow you to set limits on internet access for specific devices or users, such as setting a bedtime for internet access or blocking access to certain websites or content.
Device prioritization allows you to assign more bandwidth to specific devices or activities, such as gaming or streaming. This ensures that these activities have the necessary bandwidth to function properly, while other devices or activities do not consume too much bandwidth.
You can usually access these features through the manufacturer’s app, which will guide you through the process of setting up and managing parental controls and device prioritization.
It’s important to note that not all mesh Wi-Fi systems have the same features, so you should check with the manufacturer to see what options are available for your specific system.
Additionally, you can use third-party parental control software, such as OpenDNS, Circle, and others, to have more control over the devices connected to your network.
Benefits of Mesh WiFi System
There are several benefits to using a mesh Wi-Fi system, including:
- Improved coverage: A mesh Wi-Fi system uses multiple nodes to distribute the wireless signal throughout a space, eliminating dead spots and providing a stronger and more consistent connection.
- Easy setup: Most mesh Wi-Fi systems come with a mobile app that guides you through the setup process, making it easy to configure and manage your network.
- Scalability: Mesh Wi-Fi systems can be expanded as needed, by adding additional nodes to the network, making it easy to adapt to changes in the number of devices or usage in the future.
- Flexibility: Mesh systems can be placed anywhere in your home or office, and you can easily move them around to adapt to changes in your living space.
- Parental controls: Most mesh Wi-Fi systems come with built-in parental controls that allow you to set limits and restrictions on internet access for certain devices, giving parents more control over the online access of their kids.
- Device Prioritization: You can assign more bandwidth to specific devices or activities, ensuring that these activities have the necessary bandwidth to function properly.
- Easy troubleshooting: Most mesh Wi-Fi systems come with a mobile app that allows you to easily troubleshoot and diagnose any issues with the network.
- Better security: Mesh systems come with advanced security features, such as WPA3, that help to protect your devices from cyber-attacks, keeping your personal information safe.
- No need for a dedicated range extender: Mesh systems eliminate the need for a dedicated range extender, as each node of the network is a range extender, making it more cost-effective.
- Smart home integration: Some mesh systems can integrate with other smart home devices, such as smart light bulbs, thermostats, and speakers, allowing you to control them through the mesh network app.
How to Maintain Your WiFi Mesh System
Here are some steps you can take to maintain your Wi-Fi mesh system:
- Keep the firmware up to date: Check for firmware updates regularly and install them as soon as they become available. This will ensure that your system is running the most current version and has the latest security patches.
- Monitor network usage: Use the manufacturer’s app to monitor network usage and identify any devices that are consuming a large amount of bandwidth. This can help you identify and troubleshoot any issues.
- Check node placement: Occasionally check the placement of the nodes to ensure that they are in the optimal location for maximum coverage. If necessary, move them to a new location.
- Keep an eye on network security: Make sure that your network is secure by regularly checking the security settings and ensuring that a strong password is in place.
- Check for interference: Keep an eye out for any sources of interference, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and other electronic devices. If you notice any issues, move the nodes away from the source of interference.
- Restart the network: Once in a while, restart all the nodes and the main router to refresh the network and resolve any connectivity issues.
- Check the network speed: Regularly check the network speed and compare it with the Internet Service Provider (ISP) speed. If there’s a big difference, contact the manufacturer or ISP for assistance.
- Clean the nodes: Clean the nodes periodically with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Dust can accumulate and affect the performance of the nodes.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that your Wi-Fi mesh system is running smoothly and providing optimal coverage for all of your devices.