Mesh WiFi vs Router – Which is better? | Definitive Guide

With the increase in the usage of the internet, every household and office today has set up their very own personal internet network. In the past, only one device could be connected to the internet. In contrast, today, with the advancement in technology and innovation of new tools, you can set up your very own Wi-Fi network at home or office.

The good thing is that you don’t even need to be a professional. One can understand the working of these devices easily with a bit of research. People commonly tend to use a router to create a Wi-Fi network to which all their family members can connect at a time.

But now houses have grown. Instead of just 3-4 rooms, some mansions cover more than 1000 square feet. In such a case, a router isn’t enough to cover all the ends of the house as it comes with a limited remote range.

To overcome the issue, people started to invest in Wi-Fi extenders, which would extend the signal but also weaken it. Mesh Wi-Fi networks were invented to prevent this from happening, and now internet users are eyeing to get the best signal and speed these days.

Although the concept of routers and Mesh Wi-Fi networks is quite easy to understand, people often end up confusing the two. If you are one of those and don’t have a clear understanding of the two, then continuous reading. In this article, we are going to discuss routers and Mesh Networks in detail. So let us go ahead and jump right into them.

What is a Router, and How Does a Router Work?

How Router Works

A Wi-Fi router is an electric device which acts as a middle man between your devices internet connection and the signal sent from the ISP via the modem. It acts as a receiver and a sender for the wireless signal. If we were to put it into simple words, then we would say that the router splits the signal received from the ISP into multiple radio signals to create a private Wi-Fi network that is accessible via a username and password.

The question is, how does a router work? Well, the working of a router is quite simple and straight forward. The router is connected to the modem via a cable. The cable allows the router to access the signal sent to the modem via the ISP.

The router then transmits that signal into information and splits into multiple radio signals. These radio signals are then transmitted in the surroundings via the antennas, which are built-in the router. The smart devices which have the built-in sensors to detect radio waves can then connect to the signal sent out by the router.

Once connected, they can access the internet connection sent by the IPS. Every device that connects to the internet via the router’s signal becomes a part of a private network which is called LAN (Local Area Network).

But since the built-in antennas in the router only have a limited range; thus, the signal is only sent out within a specific area. The further away you go from the router, the weaker the signal gets, and data is transmitted at a slow rate.

Role of a Router

Still not sure what a router does? Well, here is a straightforward explanation of the role that routers play in creating a Wi-Fi network and providing you access to the internet.

  • Creates and manages a local network.
  • Splits a single internet connection into multiple devices
  • Is responsible for providing Wi-Fi

These are the primary roles that a Wi-Fi router plays when it comes to the internet. A router can play multiple other roles and can be used for other purposes as well based on the technology. But for now, this is all you need to know to differentiate between routers and mesh networks.

Benefits of a Router

If you are planning on getting a router, then you should know that these are the benefits that you will be getting for your investment. They are definitely worth the price as you don’t want to connect just a single device with your internet connection.

  • Convenience – Wi-Fi routers have made so much easier by eliminating the need for wires. You can connect to the internet at any time within the range covered by the router.
  •  Advanced technology – These Wi-Fi routers use radio waves to transmit the signal to the smart devices instead of wires. It is necessary for one today to stay up to date with technology if he wishes to enjoy life to the fullest.
  • Easy access – The routers provide you with easy and straightforward access to the internet. All you need to do is simply add in the username and password, and that is all. Plus, you only have to do this once. Your device will automatically reconnect to the signal every time it in range.
  • Portability – No more restrains any more. Instead of just sticking to your chair close by the modem, you can now move around. You can enjoy an internet connection in all corners of the house without any wires.
  • Multiple connections – Could only connect your desktop with the modem and have access only there? You can connect all your smart devices at once and access the internet on all of them with a router.

Even a person nowadays has 2-3 smart devices, which he wants to connect to the Wi-Fi. So no one can live today without free and portable access to the internet, especially when they are at home, and that is what a Wi-Fi router provides to the users.

What is a Mesh Wi-Fi, and How Does a Mesh Wi-Fi Work?

How Mesh Wifi Works

A mesh Wi-Fi network consists of multiple routers that work together to create a unified system. In the case of a mesh Wi-Fi network, one router acts as the primary router, whereas the other routers act as a satellite. Unlike Wi-Fi extenders, they do no expand the signal sent out by the primary router but receive the signal from the primary router to create their network.

All the routers are connected via the signal. Thus instead of extending the signal, they end up forming a path for the signal to travel without breaking. The bandwidth travels from the primary router to the satellites, where it is further divided into radio signals for a new remote range, and the process goes on. It prevents the bandwidth from getting wasted and leaves zero dead spots in the area.

People often tend to confuse routers with mesh Wi-Fi networks, and the confusion is understandable. The primary reason for the trouble is that the mesh network is also formed with the help of routers. Thus, both in actual play the same role. A router acts on its own, whereas in a mesh network, multiple routers work together at the same time.

Benefits of a Mesh Wi-Fi

Here are few of the benefits that a simple and straight forward mesh Wi-Fi network has to offer to the users;

  • It builds a sizeable wireless connection.
  • Since fewer wires are used, thus reduces the setup cost.
  • You can add as many nodes as you want – there is no limit to it.
  • The more nodes you add, the bigger and the faster it gets.
  • It prevents a break in the network.
  • Even if one device fails to transmit data, the others continue to work.
  • Allows high amounts of traffic

Difference Between Mesh Wi-Fi and Router

Difference B/w Mesh Wif And Router

Here is the clear distinction between the two types of networks. This table summarizes everything that is explained above.  It will help you get a clear understanding of the two and make it easy for you to differentiate between the two.

Wi-Fi RouterMesh Wi-Fi Network
A single device networkA network made up of multiple routers
Leaves dead ends in the areaCovers all dead ends in the area
Can cause failure in the transmission of dataProvides seamless connectivity
Short-term investmentLong-term investment

Which is better: Mesh Wi-Fi or Router?

There is no straight forward answer to this question. Both the Wi-Fi router and the mesh Wi-Fi network have their own set of advantages to offer. If you live alone in a studio apartment, then a router would be best suited for you. In contrast, if you live with your family in a considerable house or run a multiple level office, then a mesh network would be the best-suited option for you.

In short, whether a mesh Wi-Fi network or a router is best for you depends on your personal needs. Both serve the same purpose, which is to provide you with an internet connection.  A router has a limited range; thus, a mesh network is created to extend the signal range. So which of the two would be best for you depends on the area that you wish to cover.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mesh Wi-Fi better than a router?

As said earlier, both a Wi-Fi router and a Mesh Wi-Fi have their set of benefits to offer. But we were to answer the question; then, we would say that Mesh Wi-Fi is better than a router in multiple ways. A mesh network allows you to create an endless system with a fast internet connection, which hardly fails. Data is transmitted from one node to the other without any loss of bandwidth.

Does mesh Wi-Fi replace your router?

This one is a tricky question. The new mesh Wi-Fi comes with an Ethernet port that can connect directly to the modem to receive the signal. But you can also use your existing router and turn it into a mesh network by adding a series of satellite nodes and modules.

Does mesh Wi-Fi need a router?

Yes, a mesh Wi-Fi network does need a router. The mesh network consists of the primary router, which is connected to the modem and decodes the signal. The router then transmits that signal to the satellite modules and nodes that are placed at various locations of the house of office to provide full coverage.

Does mesh Wi-Fi need a router?

Yes, a mesh Wi-Fi network does need a router. The mesh network consists of the primary router, which is connected to the modem and decodes the signal. The router then transmits that signal to the satellite modules and nodes that are placed at various locations of the house of office to provide full coverage.

Which Mesh Wi-Fi is best?

If you are planning on getting a Mesh Wi-Fi router for your home, then we would suggest you with the following routers as they are best in the market at present.

1. Google Nest Wi-Fi
. Netgear Orbi
. TP-Link Deco
. Linksys Velop
. Eero
. Samsung SmartThings

Final Words

Both the traditional Wi-Fi routers and the advanced mesh Wi-Fi networks come with their own set of features that make them beneficial to the users. So whether you should go with a mesh network or a router depends on your personal preferences and requirements. Thus there is no simple answer to the question. Both work great in their way, so choose the one that would be best suited for your needs.

By James Klett

James Klett a senior editor at GeekyMag focused on computer hardware and gadgets, offers a wide range of information in this field. Have a question, need some help, or want to give your opinion? Drop us a comment below!

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