Understanding Mesh Networks

Over the next few weeks, we’re focusing on the importance of connection and how to optimize your Internet speeds. Technology is changing, and as the Internet of Things continues to expand, your home will become more dependent on fast and reliable connections.

Even though it’s gradually becoming a trending topic, mesh networks have been around for quite some time. Mesh systems have considerable benefits and are more than a temporary tech hype.

What is a Mesh Network?

Traditional Wi-Fi uses a single router to spread a signal. However, if you’re too far away from the router or there are interferences from walls, appliances, etc., the connection might not reach you.

A mesh network creates individual points that work together to deliver a strong Wi-Fi signal without the hassle of dead zones or signal drops.

A mesh network uses the existing Wi-Fi signal from your modem or router to supply internet coverage through a network of interlocking routers called nodes, or points. “Nodes” are referred to as connection points, and each pod within a mesh network serves as an individual point to deliver a strong Wi-Fi signal without the hassle of dead zones or signal drops. The signal will hop between nodes until it reaches a destination.

The Benefits

Larger homes and dwellings with thick walls, multiple floors and other structural obstructions may require additional technology to bring Wi-Fi to areas that the router can’t reach. Mesh networks are designed to blanket your home with wireless coverage. Here are three benefits of a mesh network. 

Adaptable and Expandable 

A mesh network can be as big or small as you wish. Mesh nodes can be added and removed as less coverage is needed. 

Optimal Coverage 

One of the main benefits of a mesh network is the coverage you will receive. The system of nodes works together to provide a signal throughout your entire home. 

Automatic Connection 

A mesh system not only expands your Wi-Fi range but also helps your devices automatically connect to the strongest point as you move around your home. Whether you’re in your bedroom, living room or kitchen, your device will seamlessly switch to the strongest signal.

Choosing Your Mesh System

The best wireless mesh networks provide high-speeds and reliable Wi-Fi that stretches to every corner of your home. There are a number of mesh systems available on the market. We suggest checking out this article for more information on pricing, ratings and more.  

There are so many choices that it may be difficult to choose the right system for your home. Next week, we will be looking at Powerline Adapters and how they can help you optimize your Internet connection.

How To Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal

Today, almost all your devices rely on Wi-Fi, and a strong connection is vital. If your wireless network isn’t performing to your expectations, there are a few ways you can improve the signal before ordering a new modem or router.

Here are a few tips to help boost your signal and get a faster wireless connection.

Placement

PlacementThe placement of your router is crucial! The more walls or floors the signal travels through, the weaker the signal will be. You’ll want to avoid placing your modem close to metal objects and appliances that emit electromagnetic waves, such as microwaves. If you’re looking for the fastest and most reliable signal, elevate your router, place it towards the centre of the house, not too close to walls or appliances.

Switch Channels

Wireless routers can operate on several different channels. Like lanes on a highway, there are multiple Wi-Fi channels on which a router can broadcast. Other people in your apartment building, neighbourhood, etc., might be using the same channel as you. The more people on a channel, the more interference there will be. The solution is simple: switch the channel your router is on.

Devices Connected

Connected DevicesStreaming videos, playing games, and browsing online at the same time can take up a lot of bandwidth! This can affect your internet speed and Wi-Fi connection. If you have multiple devices connected over Wi-Fi, it might interfere with your connection. Consider connecting devices such as gaming systems, smart TVs or streaming devices with an ethernet cable.  If you have lots of guests, try creating a separate guest network for them.

Switch to 5GHz

Wi-Fi networks use radio signals in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands. The 5GHz wireless frequency provides faster rates over a shorter distance. 2.4GHz on the other hand, is capable of broadcasting over longer distances. If your device is far away from your modem, it may be better to use the 2.4Ghz frequency. If your modem or router supports it, and your device is nearby the modem or router, consider switching to 5GHz to take advantage of those faster speeds.

Wi-Fi Extender

Routers usually have a certain distance that they will send a signal to reliably. The farther away you are from the router, the weaker and slower the signal will be. To help improve the distance your Wi-Fi reaches, you can purchase a wireless booster or extender. These devices will pick up your existing router and re-broadcast it.

If you are willing to spend a little more, you can also invest in a mesh network. A mesh network is a network of interlocking routers called points, or nodes. These points work with one another to supply internet coverage over a broad area. A mesh network router will usually provide superior coverage and signal strength. To learn more about mesh networks, watch the video below.

Reboot

“If it doesn’t work, try switching it on and off.” This applies to Wi-Fi routers as well. Simply reboot your router to improve Wi-Fi speeds. A reboot will reconfigure the router allowing it to update.

At Worldline, we offer a Wi-Fi modem with a built-in router. Lagging Wi-Fi signals are frustrating, but these signal boosting tips can help alleviate some of those frustrations, giving you the best possible Wi-Fi signal. Visit our website to learn more about our High-Speed Internet options.

Ethernet vs. WiFi in Gaming

Which connection is better for online gaming?

A common question in gaming is whether to play over Ethernet (wired) or WiFi (wireless). Even though there is a simple answer to this question, there are several variables and circumstances that can make either option effective.

Is there a real difference?

CablesThere is an apparent difference between Ethernet and WiFi – one is physically wired in from the router, while the other allows you to use your connection from anywhere within range. The question boils down to a simple discussion regarding performance and reliability.

For instance, the kind of cabling you use for Ethernet and the supporting WiFi hardware of your devices can make a huge difference in performance.

Wireless is convenient for smartphones, electronic devices and laptops, and it can still be used on a stationary PC. However, in many cases, you won’t get the same performance as you would with Ethernet cable.

There is a definite advantage to using an Ethernet connection. Ethernet offers users a direct wire to the router, avoiding wireless interference and delivering high-level security. When it comes to gaming, any enthusiast will tell you that wired connections are best. But, is wireless really that bad?

Pros & Cons

There is a clear list of pros and cons for both connections. To get a better idea of what you can get with each, see the list below.

Wired Ethernet Connection

Pros

  • Fast speeds
  • No interference
  • Reliable connection
  • Great performance

Cons

  • Cable
  • No convenient if the router is far away

Wireless WiFi Connection

Pros

  • Good speed
  • Good performance
  • No wires/cables
  • Convenient

Cons

  • Possible connection interference
  • Not always reliable
  • Easily blocked by concrete walls or metal door frames

Which one should you choose?

Cable or Wireless?Many mainstream wireless routers may not view gaming as a latency-sensitive application and will instead prioritize video and voice over gaming traffic. By connecting directly over Ethernet, users won’t have to worry about prioritization or lag because you’re on a stable, reliable connection. Gaming online means that there will inevitably be some level of latency, but using an Ethernet cable minimizes latency and interference.

If you are a gamer who hates network interference, lag, and slow response times while online, then you’re probably more likely to go with a wired Ethernet connection. If your router is relatively close, then it’s highly recommended that you go with a wired option to get the best performance and connectivity. The benefits and performance of Ethernet truly outweigh WiFi’s convenience.

What connection do you prefer to use? Leave a comment below. For more information on Worldline High Speed Internet, visit www.worldline.ca/services/high-speed-internet/.