Inventors have developed electronic devices, applications, and programs to tackle virtually every problem in day-to-day life, from the tiniest inconveniences to major hurdles in accessibility, productivity, and security. However, many of these innovations require two key things to function: access to electricity and a secure network connection. Electrical work typically isn’t an issue in offices and homes, but home and business owners can face challenges connecting all of their devices to WiFi. Conventional wireless routers get the job done in many instances, but it can be difficult to ensure connectivity throughout large properties. Technical support professionals and their clients are turning to mesh networks as a solution to this problem.
Technical Support Basics: What Are Mesh Networks?
Mesh networks are an excellent alternative to traditional wireless routers and WiFi range extenders. Rather than boosting the signal of a single central router, mesh networks utilize systems made up of many nodes that share information. Each node (whether wired or battery-powered) exchanges data and information about the network with other nodes in the system. Mesh networks are designed to increase the coverage area while minimizing interference and latency.
Applications for Mesh Networks in Everyday Life
The applications for mesh networks are endless, and even the least tech-savvy individuals can get excited about the possibilities! Mesh networks are popular choices for smart homes due to the wide coverage area. Using these kinds of networks in smart homes allows homeowners to use their devices to the fullest. Rather than placing devices wherever they can get a signal (or worse, arranging a router and mess of wires in the middle of a room or hallway for the sake of connectivity), homeowners can ensure coverage throughout the entire home, placing devices where they are most convenient. Offices, schools, and commercial spaces can use mesh networks, too. Instead of rewiring an entire campus for greater connectivity, a robust mesh network system can ensure that everyone on every floor, office, or building stays connected.
Mesh Network Options
There are all kinds of mesh network products out there, including offerings from brands like Google, Samsung, and Amazon. The technical support professionals at Howard Tech can provide valuable insight into which system is best for your business, but three mesh solutions stand out for at-home use:
- ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8): This system by ASUS is available on Amazon and Best Buy. It features two routers that can cover up to 5500 square feet, uses the ASUS Router app for simple setup, includes parental controls, and is available in white or charcoal black.
- TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Mesh Wi-Fi System: TP-Link offers various mesh network solutions, one of which is the Deco M9 Plus. A favorite for fans of home automation, the Deco M9 Plus also acts as a hub for smart devices and includes parental controls and security features. Homeowners can add their thermostats, TVs, electronic locks, and other tech to the Deco M9 Plus, with everything controlled through the TP-Link Deco app. This system is available from Amazon, Walmart, and B&H Photo Video and comes in packs of one, two, or three nodes. A system with two Deco units can cover up to 4,500 square feet, and additional units can extend this coverage.
- Google Nest Wifi: For those who live and breathe Google, the Nest Wifi system is a user-friendly option. The two-piece system comes with a router and satellite node and covers up to 3,800 square feet, and additional nodes can be purchased for further coverage. While the units themselves are stylish and sleek (with three color options available for nodes!), they lack some features like built-in antivirus protection and USB ports that are present in the ASUS and TP-Link systems. Still, those who use Google Assistant may find that the ability to integrate their virtual assistant into their smart home is worth the tradeoff.
- Amazon Eero Pro 6: Like the Deco M9 Plus, Amazon’s Eero Pro 6 combines the utility of a smart device hub with the coverage of a mesh network. Available for purchase on Amazon (of course!), the Eero Pro 6 features three nodes and can cover up to 6,000 square feet. While it does have parental controls and anti-malware features, these tools come at a price as part of a subscription service. Still, many users find the service worth the cost, and the mobile app makes managing devices, users, and security features easy.
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The team at Howard Tech Advisors is committed to providing managed services and customized IT solutions to our clients in Howard County, Baltimore, Columbia, and Ellicott City. We specialize in managed IT services for small and midsize businesses, particularly those near our office in Elkridge, Maryland. To learn more about our business and our work in the community, contact us at (410) 997-2500 or visit our website. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our service offerings and tech tips.