After moving my family from our humbler 950 square feet apartment to our new contemporary townhome of 3000 square feet with additional space to accommodate an increasing family, we had some quite big problems with our network connection.
My original Netgear AC1750 router just didn’t cut it anymore, and many of the home’s bedrooms as well as the garage didn’t get a good internet connection. After my efforts with WiFi Extenders and Powerline Adapters, I finally decided to go with a wireless mesh network to expand my network coverage throughout my home.
Before deciding on Mesh network solution, I also experimented with a long-range router, one of Amazon’s best 2000-foot long-range routers. For most households, both choices are feasible, although they address the wireless issue in a different way. Take some time to know how these two and decide on one for your home.
How Long-Range Routers Work?
A long-range router is a single wireless router, much like the basic models found in homes all over the country today, but it’s a more high-powered version. The device comes with a more capable processor to handle higher bandwidth demands, it’s equipped with multiple high-powered antennas and is optimized to transmit a wireless network much farther than standard wireless routers can. These devices are more costly than standard routers are, but they’re useful in larger homes where the network connection needs to extend further.
How Mesh Networks Works?
In a mesh network there is a main router that connects to your modem, and then satellite nodes that you can place around your home to increase network coverage. These nodes communicate with one another and information is transferred between them to get data back and forth to the main router. Each of the different hubs has the same SSID (WiFi name) and password, so there is no need to swap between networks as when using something like a range extender.
Is long-range router or Mesh network?
There are a lot of differences between mesh networks and long-range routers, but I want to concentrate on how they are comparable for a minute before I go into those:
|Both transmit a wireless network around larger homes|
|Both maintain a single SSID (Network Name) and Password|
|Both support high-bandwidth Wi-Fi networks|
|Both support dual-band home networks|
|Each can be installed easily|
Each of the alternatives is intended to produce a much bigger wireless network than a conventional wireless router. Each can often cover twice as much area or more than most popular routers, which is a fairly large deal to boost the efficiency of your network.
Each solution creates a single wireless network with one SSID (WiFi name) to access everything, and they both make use of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency ranges to transport data around.
These systems are refined and simple to install for the average user today, and both options can work well when you need more network coverage.
They accomplish these goals in different ways though, and a mesh network is better in some instances while a long-range router is superior in others. Learning these differences will help when it’s time to purchase your next router setup.
Differences between Mesh and Long Range Router:
There are many key differences between mesh networks and long-range routers. Some of those differences will be obvious, like a single router versus many remote access pods, but others won’t be immediately apparent like that mesh networks often use different frequencies along with the standard 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies that routers use today. Explore all the differences below to help you decide which networking solution is right for you.
Between mesh networks and long-range routers, there are many differences. Some of these differences will be evident, such as a single router versus many remote access pods, but others will not be instantly evident, as mesh networks often use distinct frequencies along with the normal 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies used by routers today. To assist you to decide which networking alternative is correct for you, explore all the differences below.an
- A single router versus many hubs
- Mesh networks rely on additional frequencies
- Long-range routers are easier to install
- Mesh networks are far more expandable
- Different price range
1. A Single router versus many Hubs:
The big major difference between a long-range router setup and a mesh network is how the network hardware is laid out. A long-range router is one single unit that’s designed to project a Wi-Fi network in all directions around it as far as possible. These devices usually cover about 150 feet indoors but can be good for as far as 300 feet in some situations.
With mesh networks, there is the base router and then a bunch of additional hubs that can be placed anywhere throughout the home. For large homes, or oddly shaped homes a mesh network is easier to use to get complete coverage throughout the house. A long-range router will work well in a square home or another space with an even footprint where the router can be installed in the center.
By relying on many different remote sections within the network, mesh networks tend to be more reliable and to offer more complete coverage than long-range routers do. They are less likely to fail, and if one section of the network does fail it can be replaced with another unit to restore full function to the system. If one of the satellite hubs dies, the network will continue to function as usual and coverage will just drop a bit in the section that lost the hub until a new one is installed in its place.
Winner: Long Range Router
2. Additional frequencies
Mesh networks rely on their wireless band to send data back and forth between the different sections. By steering clear of the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands mesh networks can send data around a home with less interference than traditional wireless networks. A long-range router doesn’t have to transfer data between different nodes, but might still be subject to more interference when transferring data between a device and itself because that data must travel across a larger distance than with a mesh network. When using a mesh network data will only have to travel as far as the nearest hub, which lowers the opportunity for interference issues to develop.
Winner: Mesh Network
3. Is long Range routers easy to setup?
Old mesh networks used to be overly complicated to install and get working properly, but today they’re quite simple to install. With that said, the process to install a long-range router versus installing a mesh network is very different. When installing a long-range router you just plug it into the modem and a computer and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. The process is normally quick and easy, and many modern routers today are even plugged and playfully removing the installation step at all.
With a mesh network, the installation process is simple, but you’ll complete it using a special app that comes with the product. You’ll be given a series of steps to follow, including connecting the main hub and then carefully positioning the satellite units around your home to achieve optimal coverage. Installing a mesh network is still more complicated than a long-range router is, but most homeowners will be able to go through the steps without too many problems. Buyers looking for the simplest installation will be better off with a standard long-range router, while buyers that don’t mind spending a few extra minutes for a more customized network will enjoy being able to place the different hubs for their network using a mesh setup.
Winner: Long Range Router
4. Full house coverage
Things appear very even when comparing long-range routers and mesh networks for houses where the long-range router can reach every part of the home. Things are very different when the router struggles to reach certain areas of the house. This is when mesh networks start to shine.
When a single long-range router doesn’t reach far enough, homeowners need to add a Wi-Fi extender or add additional access points.
When using a range extender the bandwidth at the end is halved compared to the bandwidth from the original router. That means that things like file transfers, local media streaming, and other data-intensive applications are going to be slowed down by the extender.
When using an access point instead, it’s necessary to hardwire the point from the router. That means running ethernet cable around your home to the distant location. This is also something many homeowners simply don’t want to deal with.
Not only that, but access points and Wi-Fi extenders usually have a different SSID, which means that when moving into the area of the home that is using the extender or access point users will have to switch from one network to the other.
On top of all those complications, it’s also important to note that One range extender can’t be connected to another range extender to boost range further. In a mesh network, it’s possible to connect one node after another together to push the range of the network out as far as you like. Adding a new node to the network is a quick and easy process as well, and is much simpler than adding something like a range extender to your home.
Winner: Mesh Network
5. The price difference between Mesh and Long Range router
When a base-model long-range router is all you need to transmit an internet connection around your home, it’s always going to be more affordable than a mesh network setup. That’s because the low-end long-range routers rely on less technology and less hardware overall than even the most basic mesh network setups do. As long as you don’t need anything like extenders and access points, you’ll likely save by avoiding a mesh network. Once you need to rely on multiple access points or range extenders along with your long-range router though, then mesh networks are often just as affordable and a more seamless solution. Consider your needs and compare the cost of each option when choosing a network solution.
Winner: Tie (It depends on external hardware)
There are some key differences between a mesh network and a long-range wireless router, but what matters more than their differences is which is the best solution to achieve good network coverage around your home. For large homes or highly irregular spaces, a mesh network is likely going to give you the best coverage overall and will allow you to customize your coverage so you have an even network throughout your space. For smaller homes where a single router can reach everywhere, a long-range router is likely the best solution. When your home is slightly too large for a single router to reach, you can choose to go with a range extender or a mesh network. A single range extender and a long-range router will often be more affordable than a mesh network setup will, but you’ll suffer from lower bandwidth in the extended section of your home, or you’ll have to rely on wiring in an access point, and either way you’ll have two different network connections to deal with. Consider the price and function of each option and choose the one that fits your need best.