WiFi mesh or WiFi extender: Which is better?

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The shift to online learning, the move to a work-from-home setup for many employees and business owners, and the surge in video streaming access for family entertainment has seen an increase in internet home use.

This is why a lot of families are now facing the challenge of ensuring that their WiFi signal is enough for the multiple devices simultaneously connected around the house. Some opt to set up WiFi repeaters to boost the range of the signal. But the question is: is it really enough for the whole home?

While this arrangement might seem acceptable to many, people need to know that there is also a “new standard” for internet connectivity anywhere at home: a WiFi mesh system. This hardware technology—whether one lives in a condominium unit or a large, two-storey home—can eliminate weak signal areas, dead spots, and make WiFi signal stronger in any corner of the house.

Ideal Mesh WiFi setup for your home | PLDT Home

With regular router setups, WiFi internet coverage is typically limited, covering only a small area of the home and forcing people to install a WiFi repeater to solve the problem. While this can possibly increase the coverage of your WiFi connection to even the upper floor, WiFi repeaters cannot fully overcome the issue of dead spots. There will always be an area where the signal will either be weak or even non-existent.

An article in PCMag by Whitson Gordon, for example, says that “repeating the entire WiFi signal is also inefficient—that extender merely listens to every packet and rebroadcasts it.”

On the other hand, WiFi mesh systems replace a collection of routers and range extenders with an intelligent WiFi system made up of multiple units working together seamlessly. It maintains a single network all-throughout the house so there will only be one network name (SSID) or WiFi name using one network password, for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands.

“If your problem is bigger than a single room where you can’t connect—say, an entire floor where your speeds are spotty—then your best move is almost certainly to upgrade to a mesh router,” writes Ry Crist of CNET. “With multiple devices spread throughout your home, a good mesh router can sling a speedy signal from room to room, and you won’t have to juggle multiple networks like you will with a range extender—you’ll just connect to the same network throughout your home.”

Photo: PLDT Home

The WiFi mesh devices work simultaneously together to form one unified network thereby automatically connecting the smart device to the strongest mesh device, as one moves through the house. The smooth and unnoticeable switching takes less than a second, thus creating a truly seamless online experience. This is the main advantage of the mesh system over traditional WiFi routers.

In addition, there is also a mobile app where the user can easily manage their WiFi at home including seeing all the connected devices, choosing which device to prioritize, and even setting up a guest network to separate and secure the main home network. Parental controls can likewise be activated to keep the children safe while surfing online.

TP Link Deco M4 and Deco M5

PLDT Home subscribers are at an advantage because a WiFi Mesh system enables them to conveniently experience whole home coverage with the fastest Fibr connection at home. For as low as P298/month, PLDT Home subscribers can already have two mesh routers as a starter kit. Those who need more internet coverage at home can also avail of an additional mesh device on top of their starter kit for as low as P149 per month.

For more information on the PLDT Home Wifi Mesh, click here.

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