As the use of connected devices in both home control and intrusion systems becomes increasingly popular the demand for adequate Wi-Fi bandwidth has continued to expand exponentially as well. In other words, the need for high bandwidth Wi-Fi throughout a home or commercial structure is becoming a growing requirement for end-users. Fortunately, a new technology called Mesh Wi-Fi promises the ability to expanded Wi-Fi coverage throughout a building with no dead-spots.
Mesh Wi-Fi technology uses the installation of multiple Wi-Fi transceivers that can be simply plugged into an outlet, programmed, and placed on a shelf to provide quality Wi-Fi in that particular area. What differentiates mesh Wi-Fi is that the transceiver nodes function as repeaters, passing the Wi-Fi communications from one to another until the signals reach the “main” Wi-Fi router where the data stream is connected to the LAN and the Internet. While using the same SSID and security encryption code, the remote nodes can be set to select transmission channels that are currently not in use dynamically, so the Wi-Fi throughput is greatly increased over simple Wi-Fi range extenders which typically use the same Wi-Fi channel(s) as the main wireless router. Some mesh Wi-Fi nodes allow for programming of access for selected devices. This could come in handy should you want the smart devices that control the home such as connected lights, shades, or thermostats can use specific mesh network nodes while personal devices such as mobile phones and gaming systems can use others.
One facet that many people don’t realize about mesh Wi-Fi systems is that they can actually replace a wireless router rather than work alongside it. While Wi-Fi extenders simply boost the main router’s Wi-Fi signal, mesh Wi-Fi systems create a whole new Wi-Fi network separate from the current router’s Wi-Fi. Plus, if you ever need to manage your mesh Wi-Fi network, you can do so through a simple smartphone app, rather than through your router’s complicated admin page. It makes it a lot easier to change settings and see a glimpse of your network overall.
As a mesh Wi-Fi system expands, it is important to note that the Wi-Fi signal will degrade the further you get from an Ethernet hardwired connection. In other words, if only one “Master Unit” is hardwired to the Ethernet, you will lose bandwidth each time you go wirelessly from one unit to the next. To achieve the best bandwidth throughput, it may be beneficial to use multiple devices that are hardwired to the Ethernet in a building, using the wireless mesh Wi-Fi devices to cover dead spots when needed.
With the ever-increasing need for high quality and reliable Wi-Fi, combined with the growing popularity of connected systems and home control devices, It was only a matter of time before mesh technology came into being out of necessity.
Individual client device technologies can and will change. Think of how many cell phones you have owned in the past 10-20 years; they continue to get cheaper/faster/better. What won’t change is the growing need for more substantial Wi-Fi bandwidth, and ADI customers are in a perfect position to capitalize on this craving for big-pipe Wi-Fi by end users. Low-voltage contractors should be embracing the complete spectrum of Wi-Fi connectivity options now available and offer them to their clients. If you “own” the Wi-Fi connectivity in a home or building by providing the latest technologies, clients will likely come to your company when they need better wireless connectivity than they have today.
If you have any questions about making mesh Wi-Fi part of your next installation, ADI’s Systems Sales & Support Team is here to help. You can contact the ADI System, Sales and Support Team at 1.800.ADI.SYS1.