Comparing Popular Mesh Networks for Home Use
With the growing demand of faster, more stable in-home Internet connectivity for all connected devices, the bigger the demand for a better wireless Internet infrastructure. Where traditional routers alone, and even WiFi extenders used to do the job, technological advancements and the expansion of the Internet of Things portfolio has created a demand for a new type of network.
To better understand how home networks function, it is important to consider the general typology of common network types that provide connectivity and Internet access the home.
Common In-Home Networks
A consumer “mesh network” typically consists of wireless interconnected nodes, also known as Access Points, that directly connect to a single Internet source or router.
These nodes specifically indicate the end-point of a system. A “star network” is similar, but instead of maintaining virtually seamless connections from node to node, it connects various components to a central hub.
Wireless Connectivity Solutions
Those who struggle with wireless connectivity issues in the home are beginning to turn to mesh networks for a proper solution. Because they house nodes that interconnect one with another, they provide a more stable environment for connected devices. If one node fails, then information can travel on to another more stable node without breaking the chain of data transfer.
Traditionally, various network types have been an expensive solution to the in-home network connectivity issue. Traditional mesh network systems required the purchase of a device that replaced traditional routers making it a costly option. Now there are a number of devices available that are compatible with traditional WiFi routers at nearly half the price.
Ubiquiti manufactures a device called AmpliFi. It comes with all of the standard mesh network features and then some. The Amplifi app allows you to keep track of who is using your network. It also tells you how much each individual user is using. The app also provides constant reporting to keep track of potential security issues.
The Luma appears to be a little bit more user friendly. They claim to have a simple and easy to use setup wizard. There is an option to “pause” the internet. You can also prioritize the devices that are connected.
The general consensus for comparing the two seems to be that the Luma is easier to set-up and use, but the AmpliFi has been reported to over-all perform better. However, the Luma is IPv6 compatible and the AmpliFi is not.
Internet Protocol Compatibility
IPv6 is the new Internet standard protocol. It allows for more numbers to be added to an IP address so that more devices can connect to the Internet. Many of the newer automated devices require IPv6 connectivity. Nest, a popular DIY home security system, requires this protocol to connect to your in-home WiFi.
Before committing to completely replacing your entire in-home network infrastructure, it’s a good idea to be sure what Internet standard protocol your devices require for connectivity.
Mesh networks are great for large homes in which a WiFi extender isn’t able to provide adequate coverage. They are also great for homes that are built with heavy cement walls that make the signal from a standard wireless router difficult to penetrate. For those with home security systems and other automated devices, these types of networks are ideal.