What is Mesh Wifi?

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WiFi solves a lot of problems that not many people think about – for example, the fact that you now don’t need big ethernet cables running between your modem and all your devices is terrific. But what about when WiFi doesn’t work so well – like when the signal works in your home, but there are rooms where it won’t work, or distances the signal won’t travel?

This might be something you can get used to or put up with, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of solutions out there for this problem: for example, WiFi extenders, WiFi over powerline, and ethernet systems throughout the home. However, a more effective solution is mesh networking. What is mesh networking, and how can it improve your home internet? We explain further into the article.

What is a mesh wifi system?A TP-Link mesh wifi system

A mesh network (or mesh WiFi) is a network system that transmits WiFi evenly throughout a home through a network of devices. Instead of functioning like a WiFi extender, mesh WiFi spreads WiFi signals out evenly throughout the home, giving you a stronger connection without slower speed trade-offs. There is usually a modem-router unit involved, along with similar-looking units that you place throughout your home.

Typically for a mesh network to work best, you should place your mesh WiFi units evenly around your home, to help distribute the wireless signal uniformly – typically one to a room throughout the home, in spaces where coverage is weaker. These units will all need to be powered individually and can look quite sci-fi, with models ranging from cylindrical shapes to almost smoke alarm-looking devices.

There are two kinds of WiFi mesh: fully connected mesh and partially connected mesh. Fully connected mesh is when your WiFi network is spread evenly across all of the mesh WiFi units in use. In comparison, partially connected mesh functions more like having a WiFi extender, in that the strongest signal all comes from a single point (the modem-router). You’ll typically get better results with fully connected mesh, however partially connected mesh has the potential to be cheaper.

Internet not fast enough? Consider a new NBN plan

Your NBN plan might be too slow for what you want to do with it. If you’re after high-definition 4K streaming, online gaming, fast downloads, or internet for working from home, consider picking up an NBN 50 or NBN 100 plan. You might also find that, for households with upwards of two people, having a faster NBN plan will improve your home internet at times when multiple people are online at once. See the table below for fast NBN plans from a range of NBN providers, or use our free internet comparison tool to find the right NBN plan for you.

The following table shows a selection of published cheap Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows a selection of published cheap Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

What is the best mesh WiFi system in Australia?

The best WiFi mesh network isn’t something that can be simply settled on a single product. Capabilities range from product to product, as do prices. You’ll find that the big modem-router brands offer WiFi mesh systems, such as TP-Link and Asus, although Google also produces a mesh network system of its own. We’ve listed some notable WiFi mesh systems in the table below.

Mesh Wifi system Price

ASUS ZenWiFi  CT8 AC3000 Tri-band Whole-Home Mesh

$489

D-Link COVR-1103 AC1200 Mesh WiFi System

$349

Netgear Orbi Whole Home AC1200 Mesh WiFi System

$329

TP-Link AC2200 Deco M9 Plus Mesh WiFi System

$318

Google Nest WiFi

$229

What is the cheapest mesh WiFi system?

Mesh WiFi networks can typically range between $100 and $1000, with the price going up depending on how many mesh WiFi units you purchase for your home. The above table highlights prices from some big brands and some smaller brands, as per prices from catch.com.au.

Mesh WiFi vs WiFi extenders

A mesh network will typically be more capable than a WiFi extender. Mesh networks transmit your internet’s full WiFi capabilities throughout your home, as long as you have the units placed accordingly. A WiFi extender, on the other hand, simply picks up the WiFi signal from your modem-router and transmits it further down the line – it’s less powerful, and not part of a larger network of devices.

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