Home Wifi – Wired Wifi vs Mesh Wifi
How to improve Wifi in a residential setting
In the modern home WiFi should be treated as a utility – everyone needs it and it should be fast, reliable and always available. Unfortunately the ISP provided routers are generally low quality and built to very tight budgets. This can result in a WiFi signal which is great in the room which houses the router but the WiFi signal can become weak and under powered as clients move around the home. Add in a few family members streaming to portable devices and the whole system can quickly become unusable!
What do the terms Wired Wifi and Mesh Wifi actually mean for Home WiFi?
There are two ways to improve WiFi around the home but both use the same principal to get a better signal – they place a Wireless Access Point closer to the client device. An incoming telephone line is often in to an area which is not ideal for a client to use the WiFi – customers don’t often stand in the hall or closet to surf. Both of these technologies move the WiFi emitter in to the main living space and in larger houses then multiple WAPs provide a WiFi signal to ensure great coverage throughout.
What is Wired WiFi?Wired Wifi uses network cables such as Cat5e or Cat6 for the backbone of the Wifi system. We install cables to each room and plug a wireless access point in ensuring strong and reliable coverage. The backbone speed is gigabit and also provides power for the WAP, creating a neat and reliable installation with fast throughput and excellent roaming.
What is Mesh Wifi?Mesh Wifi creates another 5G network and uses it to replace traditional network cables. This approach enables us to place a wireless access point anywhere in the home – ensuring great coverage and a strong signal throughout.
What is Hybrid Wifi?In a hybrid situation we utilise the benefits of both mesh and wired networks. Where possible we use a wired wifi installation but have the option to extend the network using mesh technologies. Each wired WAP can allow a mesh uplink providing a huge range of options.
How to handle Roaming Clients
With the above technologies it is easy to see how a Wired WiFi solution will outperform a Mesh network – even the newer Mesh technologies – as they have a dedicated connection and they share less infrastructure on the way to the internet. All these WAPs can cause an issue with client devices though, imagine an iPhone on the ground floor which is streaming from YouTube. The WiFi signal may only have to travel a couple of meters and the device will show 5 bars, full power. If that iPhone then moves up the house it may stay connected to the original WAP – it had a good signal and it will stay connected for as long as it can to make the most of the signal it had. The phone wont necessarily appreciate the fact that it has a closer WAP on the 3rd floor which will also provide that great signal. This approach makes perfect sense for the vast majority of people who only have one router. With our WiFi systems we install a Wireless controller which monitors the signal from all WAPs and auto optimises them to work together – providing the best possible WiFi signal throughout the house but also handling client devices – passing them from WAP to WAP as clients move around the property. The end result from a client device perspective is one huge network which doesn’t vary as clients move around the home – WiFi perfection!
Hybrid Wifi Systems
Most homes in the UK do not have network cable installed to key locations – although our full home systems do! – which means pulling cables can be difficult if not impossible. Our high end WiFi systems therefore allow us to mix and match technologies – wired WiFi to key areas with mesh backup for areas with weak or no signal. The disadvantage of the mesh network is minimised as the signal may only have one hop – a mesh WAP talking to a wired WAP – before the client reaches the internet. The same wireless controller handles the entire management ensuring clients get a fantastic user experience.
Kids Wifi Networks and Guest Networks
Children nowadays are fully connected and expect an always on connection. This can be great but obviously has some issues with some of the content available. Our networks can restrict access to certain sites and – a firm client favourite – be set to a time schedule. Children’s WiFi can be switched off at a clients preferred time, ensuring devices aren’t used past bed time – bringing the end of family arguments! Guest networks can sit alongside client networks and provide guests with all the benefits of the internet without allowing access to your local devices, so a visitor wont automatically try to connect to your Apple TV or have access to your family photos.
Extending Wifi to a Garden Room
One of the most common enquiries we get, especially at the moment, is how to extend Wifi to a garden room. With more and more people working from home a garden room can make huge amounts of sense. Regardless of the use of the room – office / gym / cinema or games room – they all need good, strong wifi. There are a number of ways to achieve this but by far the most reliable is by installing a Cat5e (or Cat6) cable down to the room itself from the internet router in the home. This allows us to install a Wireless Access Point in the garden office which provides Wifi. If we have installed a whole home wifi system then the wireless access point will simply emit the same wifi as the home so you will easily be able to roam between the two. If we haven’t upgraded your home Wifi and you just have the internet router then we would install a stand alone system in the garden room with its own network name which the devices can switch to when in range. If it is not possible to install a network cable then we do have options to extend the wifi wirelessly, creating a wireless link between the house and the garden room. This will be more expensive and less reliable than a wired connection – install a cable if you can!
There has never been a better time to be wire free! The technology exists to make every home fully connected with a reliable and fast WiFi signal. Some clients will be happy to roll their sleeves up and install something like Google WiFi whereas others will engage someone like us to design and install something bespoke. Either approach is good but do not settle for a poor connection!