WiFi repeater or a mesh network: If you want to expand your network at home, you have a lot of options. But it starts with the question: WiFi repeater or a mesh network? Is one device inherently better than the other or can you use both in different situations?
The WiFi repeater (WiFi extender)
The WiFi repeater (also known as a WiFi extender) is a device that basically fills a gap in your home network. Do you have a blind spot in your home WiFi? Then there is a good chance that you will solve that problem with a repeater nearby. However, Wi-Fi repeaters have some drawbacks. The repeaters connect to a central box that hangs close to your modem and is connected to it. They then share the network with each other: this is wireless, but can also go via the electricity network (the powerline adapter).
In our experience, the connection itself is not that bad, but setting up and connecting the network sometimes causes some problems. Usually such a system requires a little more knowledge of technical terms. That’s okay, but you have to be prepared for it. In addition, such a WiFi repeater creates its own network, so it may be that you have to manually switch your smartphone between networks when you are in the dead zone. That is not very user-friendly.
In addition, you should take into account that such an extender actually halves the speed of your Wi-Fi network (in many cases). You do not achieve the promised speed of your provider. In addition, there may be certain conditions that cause the connection to remain poor. These are the same conditions as a result of which you initially have a poor range at that specific place. The big advantage of WiFi repeaters is that such devices are often cheap, so you have slightly better internet at home for a relatively low amount.
The mesh network
However, many users prefer a mesh network . You often feel (much) deep (er) into the pouch, but you also get a better product in return. Not only does the network fix all dead spots in the house (you can often add multiple mesh points), they also work seamlessly on the user’s side. You never have to switch networks at home. If there is a switch, the mesh network takes care of it itself. In addition, there is now one network in the house (separate from any guest network).
Mesh network systems usually have at least one hub and one other point. You connect the hub to your own router, so that the internet is distributed around the house. The mesh network is not the same as the network of your router, but fortunately there are often clear apps with which you can set everything up quickly. Then it is often very easy to add an extra node (such as a mount point). Usually it works like this: you buy one, place it in your home, add it to your network and you’re done.
The better options
We have tested different mesh network on Smarthome Magazine in the past. One of the better products is still Google Wifi . Especially for the more casual users, although nowadays there are more options for people who want to get more out of their network. We are also very pleased with the Netgear Orbi and the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus . There are also products that mix repeaters with a mesh network, such as the FRITZ! Repeater 3000 and the Devolo Magic 2 . All worth it.