of Mesh WiFi vs Access Points – Which One is Best for Homes
You want fast and consistent Wi-Fi coverage all across your
home or office network so you want to compare Mesh WiFi with multiple Access
news is that both wireless technologies are amazing options that are ready to
help you connect to the Internet faster in our always-connected world.
more to determine which one wins the battle between Wireless Access Points
(WAPs) vs. Mesh WiFi Networking.
What Is Mesh WiFi?
- Comes in the form of a main
wireless network router unit and 1 or more “satellite” units (or Mesh
- Creates a
wireless “umbrella” in your home so that clients can connect and roam
freely to the same SSID (WiFi
- You must connect the main
router unit with an ethernet wire to your ISP modem.
- “Satellite” units connect to
the main router unit via a wireless high-speed backhaul link (usually in
the Gbps range). An important note here is that many mesh WiFi systems
allow also “wired backhaul” connections whereby the “satellite” units
connect to the main Router unit via Ethernet cables (usually at 1Gbps
you hate it when you try to access the Internet or stream a video on your
smartphone and the connection is dead slow? Isn’t it a hassle to switch from
room to room just to get a better Wi-Fi signal?
won’t have to worry about all that when you supply your home with Mesh
put, a mesh network is a wireless local
area network (WLAN) that connects
ALL the wifi nodes into a single SSID, thus resulting in a stable
internet connection for your home.
from the network diagram above, there is a Main Mesh router unit connected to
the ISP modem. The “Mesh Extender” nodes (or “satellites”) are connected to the
main router unit via a WiFi Backhaul link which
is a high speed wireless connection (or even with a wired backhaul link via
these mesh units create a unified WLAN network with a single SSID. Clients
connect automatically to the best available wireless unit.
What if My Mesh Setup Encounters Blocked or Broken
compare standard routers and Access Points vs. Mesh networks, the latter
possesses the ability to Self-Heal, meaning they can reroute to other functioning nodes.
the results mesh routers provide with this so-called self-healing process?
- Reliable internet at faster
- Consistent signal strength.
- NO interruptions during your
some examples of mesh network systems that deliver Fast WI-FI and Better Signal
Strength for each household.
- Google Nest Wifi
- Netgear Orbi Mesh WiFi
- Linksys Velop System
- Eero Mesh
- TP-Link Deco
- Fast Wi-Fi/High-speed internet
- Easy and convenient network
- Best WiFi coverage.
- The greater the nodes, the
better the coverage
- Wireless clients can roam
freely within the network.
- Expensive price point
- Might require more than one
mesh satellite unit to eliminate ALL dead spots.
- Can be Excessive/Overkill if your standard router is
What Are Wireless Access Points?
- Makes use of the WiFi router
you already have (NO NEED to buy new hardware).
- Access Points are powerful
wireless devices that extend signal to dead spots.
- Most suitable for offices and
- Access Points connect to the
main router unit via Ethernet cable which is very fast and stable.
- Access Points can support tens
of device connections
option of extending the wireless signal in your home network is by using Wireless Access Points (WAP or simply AP).
from the network diagram above, we have again a main WiFi router which is
connected to the ISP modem. This is usually a regular WiFi router. It does not
need to be an expensive mesh device.
order to extend the wireless signal of the main router, we have Access Point units which are connected to
the main router using an Ethernet Cable.
The AP devices are connected to the LAN ports of the main WiFi router.
networking, the Access Point usually works as a Layer 2 bridge which means that
clients receive IP address directly from the main Router (via DHCP) and not
from the Access Point.
words, the DHCP service is provided by the main WiFi router and not from the
Why Are Access Points Preferred in Most Businesses?
the most sought out mode of wireless connection among employers and employees
in the workplace.
some problems you and your officemates will have to deal with if you settle for
either a range extender or standard Wi-Fi router:
- They can only cater to a certain
limited number of wifi clients (around 20 devices).
- Range extenders only offer
LIMITED Available Bandwidth.
meetings and large conferences require you to stay connected 24/7 with many
clients connected simultaneously, so any of these issues may be detrimental for
you and your team.
Did you know that Access Points allow up to 60
connected devices or more?
because when you move around, your device will change from one access point to
another, thus reducing Wi-Fi traffic and
maintaining a high-speed Internet connection.
won’t have to search for a new network or use mobile data to get back to your
some examples you can choose from.
- UNIFI Ubiquity Access Points
- Netgear WAC104
- TP-Link Omada EAP225 Gigabit
Ceiling Mount Access Point
- Boosts the signal of your
- Access Points can be powered up
by Power over Ethernet (PoE),
- Allows equal signal strength
for more than one device.
- Wide transmission range.
- Smooth transition of each
access point delivers flexible networking.
- Cheaper and more cost-efficient
than a wired LAN or a mesh system.
- More difficult to set up.
- Overlapping of channels and
networks might take place. You will need to change WiFi channel manually
for each AP so it doesn’t overlap on the same channel as the rest (to
avoid interference). However, this is a one-time setup issue. Once you
configure the WAP properly, then handoff of wireless signal from one AP to
another will be seamless just like mesh systems.
- You must be careful with LAN IP
addressing. DHCP (IP assignment) must be provided form the main router
Wireless Access Points vs. Mesh Wi-fi Router:
blame you if you still have trouble differentiating the two Wi-Fi technologies.
perform the same role of providing stable network connectivity, but there are some differences as well.
offer advantages over one another, so please take this section with a grain of salt. After all, your
preference should be based according to your home
settings and your own network
Category 1: Wi-Fi Speed
Wi-Fi speed (aka EVERYONE’s BEST FRIEND today). If this is a non-negotiable characteristic for your
household, you are in great hands with both technologies.
you do, DON’T GO for a range extender. Sure, it can deliver much-needed
Wi-Fi connectivity to a dead spot,
but it splits the traffic from your router in HALF.
The result: SLOW and LAGGY network connection!
Access Points and Mesh do a spectacular job bumping up the Wi-Fi signal for
your home. However, the advantage will have
to go to the Access Points.
difference between a WAP and mesh networks is this:
- Mesh systems
utilize wireless nodes connected via WiFi, thus resulting in SOME delays
or speed degradation to your wireless signal.
- Unlike mesh wifi, WAPs are
hardwired to the main router, meaning they DON’T HAVE to hop from one node
to another and also Ethernet as backhaul is faster compared to wireless
Winner: Wireless Access
have to give WAPs the upper hand over their mesh counterparts for this
one of the objectives of this side-by-side comparison is to help you look for a
device that speeds up the signal of your Wi-Fi network.
speed is at the top of your priorities, access points are the way to go.
Category 2: Easy Installation
choosing between the two Wi-Fi providers, you need to ask yourself, “How easy
it is to set up my whole WiFi network?”
short, will it be a walk in the park or a pain in the ass?
seem like an overlooked category, but you DON’T WANT to spend hours upon hours
just setting up your devices.
Winner: Mesh Network Router
major asset most home routers possess is the easy setup process. The mesh
network router is NO DIFFERENT.
just a simple plug-and-play procedure
that does not require any extra wires whatsoever.
You just switch-on the main router and then the mesh extenders synchronize
automatically with the main router.
require more tinkering and tweaking here and there, so the setup time may be
time-consuming. Moreover, you need to connect the WAP units to the main router
via ethernet cable. Also, with WAP you will probably need to change manually
the WiFi channel of each device so they don’t overlap with the rest.
setting up your mesh network, all you have to do is find an ideal spot, keep your devices within range,
and you’re good to go.
reasons prove that mesh networks are easy to set up, making it our clear-cut
WINNER for this category.
Category 3: Range and Number of Connected Devices
not least, we have to look at the RANGE of your wireless network!
wireless network will end up being ALMOST USELESS if it cannot provide top-tier
service for every room in the house.
both the wireless mesh router and WAP do an excellent job giving your household
this much-needed range.
there is one that stands out over the other.
Winner: Wireless Access
have to give the advantage on WAPs because they allow equal network
connectivity for every device. Moreover, if you can run ethernet cables in your
building and connect an AP device to each cable, this means you can cover the
whole building without loss in signal strength.
system is STILL NOT a bad option, but you might need extra mesh extenders and
maybe even additional Wi-Fi satellites to cover the dead spots.
REMEMBER: WAPs can connect up to 60 DEVICES each.
fact alone more than decides the winner of the range department.
Are There Any Alternatives to These 2 Options?
system router and WAP are two great options to beef up your wireless network,
but you DON’T NEED to limit yourself to these two.
Wi-Fi Range Extenders
are looking for a cheap alternative, you may want to go for a Wi-Fi extender.
Here’s what it does:
- Connects to the main router.
- Re-broadcasts the Wi-Fi signal
from the main router.
- Widens the coverage but speed is dropped in half.
setup procedure is also not too difficult. All you have to do are the
- Plug your range extender into a
- Link it to the existing SSID
wireless network of the main router.
- Run the wizard setup
Final Verdict: Who Wins the Matchup?
the side-by-side comparison, it appears that Wireless Access Points take home the victory.
advantages in SPEED and RANGE are assets that you would love to have in your
this DOES NOT mean you should disregard the mesh router.
are special situations and conditions that should help you decide when to pick
one over the other. Let’s take a quick look at these.
Go for Access Points IF…
- You already have ethernet
network cabling running in the house (or you are planning to install such
- You have A LOT of devices.
- You live in a large house or
office full of employees.
- You want to have the best speed
Use Mesh Systems IF…
- You are looking for modern
- You live in a small to medium
home or apartment.
- You don’t have ethernet wires
in the house.
- You want easy installation
- You don’t want to keep
switching Wi-Fi networks (a mesh network offers the same SSID everywhere)
or mess with changing the devices channels manually.
NOTE: With a
mesh WiFi system, you will have the same SSID and password and seamless roaming
from room to room without changing anything on the devices. With APs, you can
have also the same SSID and password configured on all APs in the network so
you won’t have to change SSID when moving to another room. However, with APs
you must change the WiFi channels of each device manually so they don’t overlap
with the other APs in the network (e.g use channel 1 on the main router,
channel 6 on AP1 and channel 11 on AP2 for example).
It is a
matter of personal preference when
narrowing down each option’s pros, cons, and conditions.
we enlightened you with the differences between mesh and Access Points, and may
you buy the one that will remedy all your signal problems.