If you’ve been following developments in small business infrastructure, you may have heard about an exciting new suite of wireless products, called mesh wifi networks, and be wondering whether a mesh wifi setup is right for your office. In this article, we’ll talk about what mesh wifi networks are, how they differ from traditional wifi setups, and what problems they are designed to address.
Traditional wireless networks rely upon a wireless router that is connected to a broadband modem to radiate signal throughout the office. The further from the router you get, the weaker the signal gets. Depending on the size of the space to be covered, extender boxes can be added, each with its own network.
Advantages of a Traditional Wifi Network
- Costs less than alternatives (such as mesh networks)
- Highly customizable
- Extensive third-party support
Disadvantages of a Traditional Network
- Signal quality degrades as one moves further from the node
- Potential need for user-managed multiple logins
- Potential for interference
Enter Mesh Wifi
Mesh wifi setups use a mesh technology to link satellite nodes to other satellites in the network and then back to a single modem. Unlike traditional setups, each satellite has several peers that it can utilize in order to path traffic to and from the router. No matter where someone is in the office, or which node they are connecting through, they’ll always be working on the same network – one SSID, one password – with no complicated juggling of unnecessary login screens. Same signal strength, and no dead zones.
The majority of mesh wifi offerings are “out-of-the-box” solutions: you get the router, the satellites, and the monitoring and configuration tools, all in one package. Each component is designed to work with the other, and follows the same design aesthetic.
Sounds good – but what’s the catch?
Each successive hop away from the central node incurs a performance cost. Whether or not this matters will depend upon which users and devices you have, where, and how they’ll be utilizing their bandwidth.
Mesh wifi setups are a relatively new entry to the market, so you have fewer solutions to choose from when going this route. Also, some of the advanced configuration options and third-party support options that you might be familiar with may not be available. Office needs must be carefully assessed and taken into account when deciding which setup to go with.
Advantages of a Mesh Wifi Network
- “Out-of-the-box” solution
- One network login (one SSID and password)
- Multi-path traffic routing
Disadvantages of a Mesh Wifi Network
- Higher cost than a traditional router with extenders
- Less customizability
- Less or no third-party support
- Fewer solutions to choose from
So which one is best for your space? With any wireless network, it’s always best to have an expert help design and implement the ideal solution. Contact us today to learn more about what setup is best for your office.
JNT TEK is a full service IT solutions provider that can take care of all your technology needs. With over 40 years experience developing and supporting IT systems big and small, our team of certified engineers and developers are ready to serve as your go-to IT department. No matter your size, no matter your industry, we can provide you with expert service and care.
Contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation, and see what we can do to optimize your business.