Why Do We Need Mesh Routers?
What is the main problem with owning multiple WiFi-based devices?
Over the past few years, the demand for WiFi bandwidth at homes has increased multiple times. It’s not only a result of having several devices per person, but also of change in our lifestyle. We watch more high-quality video streams, use internet on every device and use network-related gadgets everywhere.
We expect our WiFi to be accessible anywhere in our houses, but a simple router located in one room usually fails to meet this condition. Upgrading the device might help, but the signal will still be weaker the further away you are from the source. In this case, what solution would fix the problem completely?
So what are those "mesh routers"?
Multiple companies are trying to develop a way to provide a strong, reliable WiFi regardless of the room you’re currently in. They plan to make their solutions cheap enough to be available for average households, not only offices and businesses. Known as “mesh routers”, the devices are relatively small and rely on being situated in various points of the house in order to provide complete and stable WiFi coverage. Unlike normal range extenders, mesh routers claim to be able to automatically determine the best channel to use, in order to provide the highest speed possible.
What companies are currently working on this kind of products?
One such solution is Eero’s TrueMesh technology - a set of routers located around the house that connect to each other. While it does well in terms of providing a good and uninterrupted signal, there are some drawbacks. The connection on the edges of the network is only as fast as the slowest link back to the main station, which might not be enough in the future, when gigabit lines become prevalent.
Another company, Plume, decided to utilize a different system. It relies on multiple small antennas located around the house, plugged into the wall sockets as small, non-invasive range extenders in each room. The approach emphasizes aesthetics and convenience, trying to make the router almost invisible in day-to-day life.
Google is not far behind, shipping it’s Google Wifi in early December. Unlike its predecessor, Google OnHub, this one it not supposed to act as a smart home solution. However, the two products are compatible, allowing you to connect your Google Wifi points as part of your OnHub network.
The mesh technology might be the solution to our problems, but it will need further development as we start to use more and more bandwidth. OCED estimates that in 2013 a household with two teenagers had 10 devices connected to the internet. By 2022, this figure is supposed to go up to 50.