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Wifi Range Extenders vs. Mesh Networks


Many people have experienced the frustration of wifi "dead zones" in their house. One second you're merrily streaming your favourite show, or you're in a very important meeting and then you've got to switch locations and BOOM! "Hello?! Can you hear me?" and you're dashing back to the signal-strong corner of your house from whence you came. We often find that these "dead zones" are located in the sunniest, most comfortable spots in your house where most would prefer to work, as opposed to the dark corner the office is in.


There are a couple of solutions that you can explore: namely wifi extenders and mesh networks. What is the difference and which is better?


Wifi extenders will essentially just boost your signal. It is typically a device that you plug into an electrical outlet in your house that will take the existing signal and transmit it a bit farther than it already does. The issues with these devices is that they are almost like having another router in your house, meaning that there are now two different networks in your house and your device may not automatically switch to it, especially if it still has a signal (albeit weak) from the further router. This can cause trouble the other way, if you are bringing a device back into the house, it may connect to the weaker router by default. When either situation happens, you will have to switch your device manually. Wifi extenders are not typically reliable and while they can offer a cost-effective solution, they are not our top choice for improving the wifi situation in your house.


Mesh networks work on the same principle as a wifi extenders, but with some improvements. Much like your typical set-up, the mesh network will come with a principle router or node, which you can bridge to your existing router. You then purchase additional satellite nodes (depending on the size of your home) to be placed around your home, usually around dead zones. These nodes are all connected to the same network, so no more switching between different network names as you move around the house. These nodes are typically quite stable and result in a reliable network throughout a space of your choosing, but you do pay for the difference in quality as each node comes at its own expense. That said, we feel it is well worth the investment.


Still confused or need some help setting up a wifi network in your home or work space? We can help!


To speak to us about all your wifi needs, come see us in-store at 1257 Marine Drive in North Vancouver or give us a call at 604-986-7680.


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