Remember the excitement you felt when you hooked up your first WiFi router? The freedom of being able to move around your home while still connected to the internet sure was nice, even with that baller 56k modem.
You’ve moved on, though. DSL happened, then cable internet came onto the scene. Now you’re hearing about Gigabit fiber internet, and you can’t believe how fast it is—only, there’s something that could hold you back from REALLY experiencing the velocity of 1,000 Mbps.
It's the WiFi router, your old pal.
When you force your internet over the same wireless router, no matter how fast it is on the front end, you forfeit speed and bandwidth. In the same way that signal dispersion, reflection, and absorption in your home walls limit how much you can get from the internet, there is a practical limit to the number of devices that can use a wireless access point efficiently.
Thankfully, we can recreate the thrills of wireless's early days. Extenders that increase the range of your router, as well as newer technologies like mesh WiFi, provide us with more coverage and faster speeds than ever before. Here's a breakdown of the differences.
A common option to improve your internet coverage is to add a WiFi Extender to your home wireless network. A range extender re-broadcasts your router's signal where it is hooked into the wall and appears like a smaller version of a router with comparable antennae. There may be some coverage of previously dead regions in your home as a result of this, but there are certain limitations.
Because of the way extenders copy the original signal, they often operate as a separate WiFi network. Your devices will stay on one network until it’s completely out of range, then hop to the extender network, which can result in choppy and slow internet wherever you use them in your home. Extenders can also introduce self-interference and reduce the overall capacity of the network.
Due to these shortcomings, extenders are best for homes that don’t require as much signal strength or area coverage.
Mesh WiFi takes up the signal where extenders drop it. Actually, it never drops it—as the phrase "mesh" implies, this newer version of WiFi is made up of overlapping signals that provide internet coverage throughout your home.
The entire wireless ecosystem, from your router to any extenders you have installed, is replaced by a mesh WiFi system. You replace them with a centralized router with satellite modules that connect into outlets throughout the house. (So far, it sounds a lot like extenders, but bear with me.) Those modules are interchangeable and share the same network. As you go through the house, your internet strength remains steady from one apartment to the next, with smooth signal handoff.
Adaptive mesh WiFi is a fresh take on mesh WiFi that optimizes wireless internet performance by guiding devices to different pods, with application-level performance taking priority. It learns your behavior over time and allocates resources where you need them most frequently, such as a specific room where you watch movies at night. Mesh WiFi provides centralized control, unlike WiFi extenders, which work independently from the router and other signal repeaters. This allows the system to adapt.
Whether you are going for the conventional WiFI extender or buying the new Mesh WiFi, you can still use and enjoy the internet. Depending on how you will use it and how much budget you have will dictate which one will you get. Technology will always evolve and make the quality of life much better. A year or two and maybe we can see another type of WiFi that will be much faster than these two combined.
Also, Read: How to Send Large Files Over the Internet?
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