Whats wrong with DIY?

Why DIY networking solutions such as repeaters and mesh systems don't perform as well as they promise:

Range extenders, repeaters and boosters.

If you have trouble with your WiFi you have probably heard of range extenders, which boost the signal from your router around your property depending on where you place them. There are a few different forms of these, however they all come with unavoidable downsides, such as:

Wi-Fi Range Extenders/Repeaters
  • Separate Networks
    Usually when setting up a signal booster a new network will be created, meaning that when you want to use it you have to manually go on the device and connect to a separate network, this can cause issues when roaming around your property; who wants to manually switch networks when going from one room to another?
  • Half the Bandwidth
    One of the greatest downsides of the signal boosters is that in most scenarios they can only use half of the network bandwidth, this is because the booster has to receive the signal, process it and then rebroadcast it to your device.
  • More Wireless Interference
    Repeaters create a separate network from your current network and rebroadcast its signal through the repeater, this means that there will be 2 networks running on the same channel, which can greatly increase your network interference.

    To put it clearly: WiFi range extenders may seem like the cheapest solution to make your WiFi work properly, but in reality they may just do the exact opposite, making your network more temperamental and complicated. 
Mesh Wi-Fi Network
Mesh Networks

On the surface mesh networks seem like the solution to all of your WiFi problems, described by many as a "one size fits all" solution, however that is not always the case. While they can work a lot better than a range extender, they still have their drawbacks.

  • Signal Strength
    If you are buying a mesh network expecting to maintain the same internet speeds over your whole home, you will be wasting your money. Wireless signal will degrade as it gets further from its point of origin, so wirelessly connecting multiple nodes can prove to be a lot slower than your original network speeds. The only way to get consistent speed is by using a cable. 
  • Scalability
    The range from each node on a mesh network is usually less than you would get from a router or an extender, so creating a mesh network that works over a whole house could end up with quite a lot of nodes, which could end up expensive and messy.
  • Lack of Advanced Features
    If you are someone who explores the technical side of things, like changing your WiFi settings then mesh networks are probably not for you. Usually they are designed to be extremely user friendly so adding a custom DNS or even running both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands is not an available option.

    On top of all of this, mesh networks hugely depend on how they are installed. Many people buy a mesh network, place a node where they are having WiFi issues and then face the same issues they were already facing. Although described as "plug and play" they aren't quite that simple, and wont always fix your issues. 

Click here to learn about Access Points and Custom Cabling and why they are a much better solution than DIY products.

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