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Science And Nature

Why YOU NEED Mesh Wi-Fi, EVEN THOUGH YOU Just Need One Router

An eero mesh router sitting on a stand next to a TV and smart speaker.
eero/Amazon

If youre not seeking to blanket a big house with Wi-Fi, you will possibly not have even considered choosing a mesh platform. Heres why we think you need to.

Why Work with a Single Mesh Router?

You might have never even considered utilizing a single mesh router simply by its lonesome minus the remaining nodes that came in the pack, but we assure you that you can not only achieve this, but you can find benefits to doing this.

Considering that a lot of people consider investing in a mesh network specifically since they want multiple access points and wall-to-wall coverage for his or her home, however, it certainly begs the question: why can you want to work with a single mesh node simply by itself?

First, lets focus on the premise you have a comparatively small area to cover, and you also dont have a host with 100+ demanding Wi-Fi devices. You dont need three mesh nodes for wall-to-wall coverage in a studio apartment, in the end. Modern mesh network nodes tend to be more than powerful enough to cover a flat or small home simply by themselves.

With small spaces in mindbecause its a little much to require robust Wi-Fi coverage in a sprawling 3,000-square-foot ranch with an individual mesh nodelets look at why youd consider investing in a single mesh router rather than a normal stand-alone router.

Mesh Platforms Have Polished Software

An example of polished software on the eero mesh platform.
eero/Amazon

Among the huge selling points for consumer mesh platforms, apart from the coverage mesh networks provide, may be the simplicity.

The mesh platforms from eero, Nest, TP-Link, and so on are unbelievably an easy task to create and configure. Further, most of the features people want, like easy parental controls, data usage monitoring, and such, are very available in clean and easy-to-navigate menus. Some platforms even support extra features through subscription models like ad-filtering, activity reports, integrated VPNs, and so forth, like eero Secure.

Further, the knowledge is quite app-centric. While power users and network nerds might just like a computer-based experience where you sit back at your personal computer and tinker together with your router, there exists a lot to be said for the simple managing your network from the polished smartphone app.

All this isnt to state that there arent stand-alone traditional routers out there with polished interfaces and also mobile apps, but in the event that you poke around, youll observe that most of the companies with products like this also sell mesh networks. Clearly, the push for user-friendly mesh platforms has informed design across entire products.

Mesh Platforms Have Automatic Updates

Along with polished software, theres a beneath-the-hood feature that’s more prevalent on mesh platforms than on traditional routers. Nearly all mesh platforms feature fire-and-forget configurations.

Even though you completely don’t focus on your house network, they’ll receive automatic updates, security patches, and optimizations in the backdrop without you lifting a finger.

Again, this feature isnt exclusive to only mesh routers, however they have certainly perfected the auto-updates-for-busy-people model.

YOU PREFER the Mesh Platforms Hardware Features

Its uncommon, bordering on unusual, for traditional stand-alone routers to possess smart home protocols or hubs included in them.

Mesh platforms, however, have positioned themselves to be an all-in-one treatment for the demands of the growing smart market.

Newer Amazon eero units, for instance, arent just Wi-Fi access points but additionally include a Zigbee smart home hub in addition to support for the Thread to allow them to work as Thread border routers. Similarly, although Google Nest WiFi doesnt support Zigbee, it can support Thread.

That may not be something in your thoughts right now, however when the problem smart home standard arrives, all compatible eero units and Nest WiFi will undoubtedly be automatically upgraded to serve as Matter hubs.

Once you consider it from that perspective, picking right up an individual eero puck for a little apartment or home suddenly appears like an extremely solid deal. Actually, during this writing, in August 2022, it is possible to grab an individual refurbished eero 6 unit for $60.

Thats a phenomenal deal, really. Youre not likely to look for a Wi-Fi 6 router with an integral Zigbee hub and future-proofed with Matter support at that price. Even buying it new for $90 its still a good value.

A Mesh Router Is Easily Expanded

An Amazon Eero mesh extender on a table next to a stack of books and a phone.
eero/Amazon

The wonder of shopping for a mesh router to serve as your Wi-Fi router, instead of investing in a traditional stand-alone model, is that the mesh router, by its very nature, is supposed to work seamlessly with mesh extenders.

In the event that you purchase a traditional router with equal coverage power and you also realize you need more coverage or come across dead spots at the edge of your house, youre now stuck in a significantly less than ideal situation.

Either you need to replace the Wi-Fi router altogether, or you need to bandage the problem with a third-party Wi-Fi extender. Despite having proper setup and placement, third-party Wi-Fi extenders cant contend with a first-party mesh system.

If a router is really a mesh router, then its already the building blocks of a mesh network. It is possible to simply add perfectly compatible and optimized mesh nodes from exactly the same company. Lets say you purchased that refurbished eero unit we mentioned previously, and you also later realize it will be pretty nice to include just one single more mesh node to round out the coverage in your house.

No issue, you can include another eero unit and revel in immediate and automatically optimized coverage with all the current great things about a mesh network. Ditto should you have a Google Nest Wi-Fi network, TP-Link Deco network, or any mesh network. You dont need to accept a lackluster third-party extender, it is possible to just put in a first-party node to your existing network.

Better still yet, while you cant mix and match mesh network hardware between manufacturers, it is possible to mix and match mesh hardware from all of the major manufacturers of their product lines. The various generations of eero, TP-link, and Google Nest mesh hardware all use one another. Buy a vintage pack of extenders, purchase a new pack of extenders, it doesnt matter if youre shopping within exactly the same products.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO Split a Multi-Pack and Share

Along with the advantages of utilizing a single mesh node as a stand-alone router in an inferior home, it is possible to share the huge benefits (and spend less) by investing in a multi-pack and splitting it up.

Lets say you merely require a single node, or simply two, for the home. Most mesh systems can be purchased in three packs. So that you can split the price with a pal or install the excess nodes in the homes of relatives you help you with tech support and such. Why stick your grandma with a junky old router when you’re able to put a fresh eero or Nest Wi-Fi unit in her place?

In addition, oftentimes, it is possible to manage multiple households with exactly the same app. If you frequently end up troubleshooting problems for a member of family, why not utilize the same app youre using for the home network to easily manage their network too?

You need to be sure, if youre investing in a pack to split, that youre investing in a pack where every mesh node in the kit can function interchangeably because the router. Some mesh systems have a base station which has all of the Ethernet ports, and satellites that not and therefore cant be connected to a modem directly.

But whether youre investing in a pack to split or youre just searching for an individual mesh node to utilize as a stand-alone router in the home, you can find clearly a pile of advantages to skipping the original router and establishing a single-node mesh network.

THE VERY BEST Wi-Fi Routers of 2022

Best Wi-Fi Router Overall

Asus AX6000 (RT-AX88U)

TP-Link Archer AX3000 (AX50)

TP-Link Archer A8

Asus GT-AX11000 Tri-Band Router

ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600 (XT8) (2 Pack)

TP-Link Deco X20

NETGEAR NighthawkCAX80

Linksys WRT3200ACM

TP-Link AC750

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000

Read More

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