Have you heard of the term “mesh network” before? Granted any term that includes “network” sounds geeky and should be avoided at all costs. But with many of us confined to our homes, it might be worth your time to read this post about mesh networks because they could help you work more efficiently at home. I’ll keep the geek to a minimum.

What is a mesh network?

It is a newish technology that improves wireless coverage in your home or office. They come in various forms, but typically a mesh network consists of a small base unit, then two or three smaller devices that you plug into the wall.

What is so great about mesh networks?

Two things: 1) they can provide better wireless coverage than a traditional network device; 2) they ensure the internet bandwidth that is coming into the home or office is shared equally among all users.

Why this post about mesh networks now?

With so many parents working and children studying from their homes, many will find that their internet speeds are slower since more people in the home are online and/or they can’t get coverage where they need it. Mesh networks have been around for a handful of years, but because of the self-isolation, many articles have been posted about them this week for the very reasons mentioned above.

Can a normal person install a mesh network themselves?

Actually you can. Depending on which one you purchase they can be very simple. To get started you might check out this article or this one.

How much do they cost?

$200 – $450

Ouch! Why are they so expensive?

Beats me, but what I can tell you is that for years the wifi network in our home was inadequate in terms of coverage. So last year I purchased a couple of “network extenders” that were not mesh network devices. They had thousands of 5-star reviews on Amazon and a pair cost $60. I purchased them, but they were totally useless. So finally I did my research on mesh networks, prioritized ease-of-use over speed, and shelled out what seemed like an exorbitant sum for three smallish mesh network devices.

Was it a good investment?

Absolutely. The brand I purchased was super easy to install (but I still called their excellent technical support because I misread one step). And now we don’t have any network issues! I recently stayed in an AirBnB for a couple of months and I took the three devices along just in case the wireless coverage was subpar. Turned out the coverage was subpar, so I plugged them in and within minutes the problem was solved.

Is a network cable better than a mesh network?

You bet. If you can connect your computer to your network router you’ll always have faster and more reliable internet service. Always try to use a network cable if you can.