Best mesh Wi-Fi systems for the office and home: Netgear, Google, and more
With remote working and video calls becoming the 'new normal', now is a good time to upgrade your wi-fi with the latest mesh networking systems for improved coverage.
Demand for fast and reliable Wi-Fi is probably at an all-time high, as millions of people work from home, relying on Zoom and other video conferencing apps to keep in touch with colleagues and clients. Many organisations are also finding that video calls reduce the need for business travel and client visits.
That increased reliance on Wi-Fi can reveal problems, though -- especially in larger offices or homes, where the Wi-Fi signal may struggle to reach more distant rooms on other floors.
Instead of relying on a conventional Wi-Fi router and access points or range extenders, an alternative solution is to opt for a 'mesh' networking system. Depending on the size of the building, mesh systems typically use a main router with a wired connection to a broadband modem, plus two or more wireless nodes that can be placed in different rooms or locations. The main router and the satellite nodes form their own 'mesh' Wi-Fi network, covering a wider area and delivering greater speed and reliability than a conventional Wi-Fi router, even with extra access points or range extenders.
Most mesh systems are aimed at home users and marketed as easily-configured solutions for 'whole home Wi-Fi', but some are particularly suitable for business users. These can include features such as multiple Ethernet ports, or the ability to create several networks with different passwords. The latest mesh systems are now adopting the new Wi-Fi 6 standard (a.k.a. IEEE 802.11ax), which is not an essential feature at the moment but is certainly worth considering by businesses wanting to future-proof their Wi-Fi setups.
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