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What to know when choosing between router and mesh networking
A home network today usually consists of a router — which can be provided by an Internet Service Provider — and various devices dotted around the building. The majority of consumers can be more than satisfied with the signal strength in a smaller house, but should the router be located in a corner or the building be larger in size — dead spots can appear that leave devices without connectivity to the network and beyond.
This is when wireless access points or a mesh network might come in handy.
Instead of calling up an ISP and waiting for an appointment with an engineer to pop round only to be informed that a more powerful (and expensive) router upgrade is on the cards, there are some options available to solve this issue. One being Access Points (AP) — or wireless repeaters — that can be added to the home Wi-Fi network to act as portals to the router, boosting the signal range, or configuring a mesh network.
The main difference is that the latter doesn't make use of a central hub or router, but rather asks each and every device connect with one another directly using a few well-positioned relays. Throwing in an AP is an inexpensive option that may solve an issue with wireless connectivity not being available in a specific room. However, to solve a wider signal issue, setting up a mesh network may actually work out cheaper than investing in a more powerful router and a number of APs.