A mesh Wi-Fi system is a series of Wi-Fi routers that work together to create a single wireless network. The goal is to provide a reliable and consistent wireless signal across a large home or workspace.
A basic Wi-Fi network uses a single router to broadcast a wireless signal to multiple devices. While this functions well in a small area, the signal may not reach certain locations in a larger space. Obstructions, such as concrete walls and floors, can create "dead zones" where the signal strength drops significantly. The solution is to spread out a "mesh" of routers across the area.
A mesh network consists of a primary router and one or more nodes or "points." The router and nodes work seamlessly together to create a single wireless network. By strategically placing nodes across a home or office, it's possible to eliminate dead zones and provide consistent Wi-Fi coverage across the area.
Thanks to the improved range of Wi-Fi 6, most areas under 2,000 square feet only require a single router. A mesh Wi-Fi network with a single node generally covers up to 4,000 square feet, while a router with two nodes may be sufficient for areas up to 6,000 square feet. In a large building with multiple floors, a mesh network may require several dozen nodes for consistent coverage.
Mesh Networks vs Range Extenders
Range extenders, or repeaters, are an alternative way to boost the range of Wi-Fi coverage. Unlike mesh nodes, range extenders simply repeat the Wi-Fi signal and do not provide "intelligent" switching. They require separate networks for each repeater, which may each have a different wireless passwords. Because range extenders do not create a seamless network, Wi-Fi mesh systems are a more popular option.