Let’s face it – if you can’t watch a video and post something on Facebook, all while one kid plays online with their Xbox and another streams Netflix on their phone, there’s usually a problem.
As our homes have gotten larger, and our families have become more connected, more devices are in use. And a higher demand is being placed on our home networks. As a result, the need for increased speed and whole-house coverage has grown.
More Devices Than Ever
According to Pew Research, 90% of U.S. households contain at least one smartphone, computer, tablet or streaming device, with the typical American household containing five devices. And nearly one-in-five American households (18%) contain 10 or more of these devices.
How about you? Does your home contain 10 or more devices? Mine does. When I added them up, I was stunned. We have 24 connected devices that are used almost every day. Even our garage door opener uses the Internet! And while that may be more than most, the fact is we rely heavily on our home’s two routers to handle that workload.
I have an advantage in that I know how to configure two routers and an Internet safety device to work in perfect harmony. But if you don’t, how would you make sure everything stays connected? How do you keep the Internet moving quickly, while reaching the far corners of your home?
Well, some really smart people figured out a way to do that. It’s called a mesh WiFi system.
What is Mesh WiFi
Mesh WiFi systems use multiple devices to create one seamless network in your home. They typically consist of a base unit that connects directly to your home router, and a series of satellite units, or nodes, that you place throughout your home. Each node acts as a booster for your WiFi signal, amplifying it across your whole house.
As I said before, setting up a traditional wireless network with multiple devices can be challenging. The mesh system is different. They are geared towards users with little or no technical knowledge, and can be set up in minutes.
Easy to Set Up
Most mesh systems come with an easy-to-use app that walks you through the setup and configuration of your new network. The app tells you where to place each node, ensuring even coverage and a strong signal throughout your home.
Systems are easy to expand as well. If you need to add more coverage, or you decide to finish your basement, simply purchase and install a new unit. The app tells you where to place it and does the rest. Your network is now extended.
Which One Should I Get?
Big players have entered this space and made it very competitive. If you’re considering making the move to a mesh WiFi system at your home, there are some models that are better than others. Here’s my take on the 3 most popular models.
Google WiFi is the most popular choice, but it lacks any parental controls. It’s also one of the slowest models in speed and data transfer tests. However, it’s priced right at $269.
Linksys Velop has the best feature set, and boasts a large coverage area at 6,000 square feet. But at $450 it’s one of the most expensive. Yikes!
The Netgear Orbi is another good choice. It claims 4,000 square feet of coverage with only 2 units, and has the most hard-wired ports of all the models I looked at. It’s listed at $299.
Final Thoughts and a Question
If I had to choose, I would most likely go with the Netgear Orbi. It’s blend of features, speed, and price make it a great choice to add mesh WiFi to your home.
Regardless of which model you select, a mesh WiFi system makes it easy to install a single, large network that blankets your home with Internet coverage. With the increase in devices that require a faster Internet connection, it makes sense to upgrade.
I’d love your feedback. I’d also love to know how many devices you have connected to the Internet at your house. Don’t forget printers, smart TVs, content streaming devices, game consoles, tablets, phones, storage devices, and maybe even your garage door! Let me know in the comments below.
If you’re concerned about Internet safety at your home, make sure to pick up my guide to Internet safety on Amazon. It’s a quick read, and offers 3 easy solutions that you can implement today to protect your kids online.
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