The Key Differences Between Mesh Network vs. Extender


Mesh network vs extender If you’ve considered purchasing a Wi-Fi range extender for your business, consider looking towards the future with mesh networks. When comparing a mesh network vs. extender, experts agree that mesh networks are far superior. We’ve compiled the top five reasons businesses should consider using a mesh network over a traditional Wi-Fi range extender.

1. Mesh Networks Provide Superior Coverage

A Wi-Fi range extender can work to eliminate dead zones in smaller offices while providing broader connectivity. Wi-Fi range extenders can extend the network range by 300 to 2,000 square feet, but they have limitations.

A mesh network works better for larger office spaces, as it can provide full-office coverage with a signal covering 2,000 to 5,500 square feet. The Wi-Fi signal can extend even further if a business adds mesh nodes to its mesh network. Even smaller office spaces will benefit from a mesh network, especially if the area is divided, making them ideal for waiting rooms.

2. Mesh Networks Boast More Functionality

When comparing a mesh network vs. extender, mesh networks have far greater functionality. A Wi-Fi extender works to extend the coverage area by connecting to the existing network and then repeating the signal to help “boost” it. However, a mesh network contains numerous devices known as “nodes.” These nodes are placed strategically throughout the office space to help broadcast on a single network. Mesh systems allow users to seamlessly switch between networks despite their location in the office space. It's important to note that devices will connect to the node that provides the strongest signal without experiencing any downtime.

3. Mesh Networks Consistently Deliver Faster Speeds

While traditional Wi-Fi extenders help to broaden a network’s reach, they are often the culprit behind slower speeds because they use “half duplex” technology, which means they cannot send and receive data simultaneously. Instead, these half duplex devices take turns communicating. Because extenders repeat signals received from routers, they repeat everything and then have to listen for when the router finishes communicating. Unfortunately, this lengthy process contributes to slower internet speeds.

When directly comparing mesh network vs. extender, mesh networks have multiple channels that allow them to send and receive data simultaneously, thus eliminating the half duplex speed-related issues.

4. Mesh Networks Are Easier to Setup

Wi-Fi extenders are challenging for non-tech-savvy users and, if set up improperly, can hurt coverage and require manual configuration. 

In contrast, mesh networks use nodes made by the same manufacturer, making the setup process substantially more straightforward. Additionally, most mesh systems have user-friendly apps to help provide a more seamless setup.

5. Mesh Networks Are Substantially More Flexible

Even though offices can have more than one Wi-Fi extender installed, it’s essential to remember that it will only repeat the signal from the base router, as one extender can’t simply relay the signal to another. Therefore, if an office has several dead zones near the base router, it’s possible to set up multiple Wi-Fi extenders, which is inefficient. 

Mesh networks offer greater flexibility with fewer limitations than Wi-Fi extenders. Adding a combination of nodes to the mesh network can extend the signal further, allowing businesses to scale the size of their mesh network quickly.

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