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What is Mesh WiFi? --What does it do? And how to choose a Mesh WiFi Router?

By TP-Link Editorial Group

Mesh WiFi is already almost a decade old has seen widespread adoption over the years. People concerned about full-coverage WiFi and router-related info may have already heard of it. When you’re shopping for a router, for instance, you’ll see this type all over the place.

So, what exactly is Mesh WiFi? What benefits does it bring to internet connections? Let’s walk through 4 of its major features, learn how it works, and figure out how to select the perfect Mesh router for your home.

What Is Mesh WiFi and How Does It Work?

Mesh WiFi is a whole home WiFi system built to eliminate dead zones and to provide uninterrupted WiFi throughout your home. Unlike traditional routers that broadcast WiFi from a single point, mesh WiFi systems have multiple access points.

In a Mesh network, there’s a main router that connects directly to your modem, and a series of satellite routers (also called “nodes”) that are placed throughout your house to extend the main router’s signal. These router nodes can communicate with each other to prevent issues caused by the failure or overload of any given router node in the system. They are all part of a single wireless network that provides fast speeds and long-range coverage for multiple devices.

4 Major Mesh Features to Improve Your WiFi Experience

Learn how Mesh WiFi improves your WiFi experience with its four major features.

  1. Seamless Roaming

When you use a traditional router or extender, you have to switch between different WiFi signals as you enter the coverage of different routers or extenders. This may cause network instability and disconnections. Mesh WiFi, in contrast, using a single SSID (one network with the same name and password), can automatically switch between different signal sources to achieve a seamless roaming network experience. TP-Link’s Deco series products, for example, support the 802.11k/v/r standards and can connect up to 10 mesh router nodes, allowing for a more stable network connection even during troubleshooting.

Most WiFi network hardware vendors support 802.11k, 802.11v, and 802.11r (FT) standards, which let clients roam more seamlessly from one access point (AP) to another within the same network.

  • 802.11k

The 802.11k standard helps devices build an optimized channel list and quickly search for nearby APs that are available as roaming targets. When the signal strength of the current AP weakens, the device will scan for target APs from this list.

  • 802.11r

When a device is roaming between APs on the same network, 802.11r uses a feature called Fast Basic Service Set Transition (FT) for faster authentication. FT can work with both pre-shared keys (PSK) and 802.1X authentication methods at the same time.

  • 802.11v
  • Basic Service Set (BSS) transition management: Allows the network’s control layer to influence client roaming behavior by providing it the load information of nearby access points. The device takes this information into account when deciding among the possible roam targets.
  • Directed Multicast Service (DMS): Optimizes multicast traffic transmission on wireless networks. The device uses this information to enhance multicast communication and to preserve device battery life.
  • BSS Max Idle Service: Helps clients and access points efficiently decide how long to remain associated when no traffic is being transmitted. The device uses this information to preserve device battery life.

When you combine 802.11k and 802.11v’s ability to speed up the search for the best target AP with FT’s faster AP association, you will experience better WiFi.

  1. Adaptive Routing

Mesh networks allow router nodes to communicate with each other to generate various signal transmission paths. Adaptive Routing finds the path with the least interference according to the load status of each router node or the current frequency band. This guarantees you’re always getting the fastest possible speeds.

  1. Self-Healing

Since router nodes can communicate with each other in a mesh network, if one of your mesh WiFi nodes goes down, your Mesh WiFi network will automatically reroute data to make sure you stay online. Some systems can even assist in diagnosing and troubleshooting. TP-Link’s Deco series products, for example, any one of the Decos can function as the main or satellite nodes. When one of the Deco nodes fails, it will notify the user through the Deco app and automatically diagnose and repair it. Other brand routers, on the contrary, distinguish between main and satellite nodes. When one of the router nodes goes down, another one that plays the same role (main/satellite) must be purchased to repair the network, making these types of systems inflexible as a whole.

  1. Advanced Features

In addition to the above three basic features, some Mesh WiFi systems also have advanced features such as Smart Antennas, AI-Driven Mesh, and Homecare.

  • Smart Antennas: Establish a stronger backhaul to boost coverage and improve wireless connections.
  • AI-Driven Mesh: Uses AI technology to intelligently learn the network environment, client quality, and user behavior to provide you with the most ideal WiFi unique to your home.
  • HomeShield/HomeCare: Provides functions such as identifying cyber threats, limiting online time, and blocking specific websites to help parents manage their kids’ online use and safety.
  1. Flexible Expansion

All Deco models work together to form a scalable and flexible WiFi system. Up to 10 Decos can be added to expand Mesh WiFi coverage. This helps eliminate WiFi dead zones and greatly improves coverage, network speed, and bandwidth, allowing users to enjoy an extremely fast transmission rate and more device connections.

How to Choose a Mesh WiFi Router | Coverage, Speed, and Advanced Features

Coverage and network speed is the most important thing when choosing a router. But to achieve the best WiFi experience, finding the best one can be a challenge? To help you with the decision process, here’s an overview of the WiFi coverage, speed, and advanced features of TP-Link’s Mesh WiFi routers.

Use the chart below to find the model that suits you the most.

For more wireless network-related products, visit TP-Link. TP-Link has been consistently ranked as the No.1 global provider of WLAN devices for 10 years by IDC (International Data Consulting Corporation) and offers an expansive selection of solutions to meet your wireless networking needs.

Find the TP-Link Deco Mesh WiFi System for You

The following table recommends the most suitable products according to different environments.

Refer to the Deco Buying Guide for an interactive way to find the best models for your home.

WiFi

Deco Model

Speed

Frequency Band

Room

Capacity

Network Bandwidth

WiFi 6

Deco X90 (1-pack)

AX6600

Tri-Band

2-3 rooms

200

0~2.5 G

Deco X90 (2-pack)

4 rooms

200

0~2.5 G

Deco X60 (1-pack)

AX3000

Dual Band

2 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X60 (2-pack)

3 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X60 (3-pack)

4-5 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X25 (1-pack)

AX1800

Dual Band

2 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X25 (2-pack)

2-3 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X25 (3-pack)

4 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X20 (1-pack)

AX1800

Dual Band

2 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X20 (2-pack)

2-3 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco X20 (3-pack)

4 rooms

150

0-1000 M

WiFi 5

Deco M9 Plus (1-pack)

AC2200

Tri-Band

2 rooms

150

0-1000 M

Deco M9 Plus (2-pack)

2-3 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco M9 Plus (3-pack)

4 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco S7 (1-pack)

AC1900

Dual Band

1-2 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco S7 (2-pack)

2-3 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco S7 (3-pack)

3-4 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco M5 (1-pack)

AC1300

Dual Band

1-2 rooms

40

0-1000 M

Deco M5 (2-pack)

2-3 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco M5 (3-pack)

3-4 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco M4 (1-pack)

AC1200

Dual Band

1-2 rooms

40

0-1000 M

Deco M4 (2-pack)

2-3 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco M4 (3-pack)

3-4 rooms

100

0-1000 M

Deco E4 (1-pack)

AC1200

Dual Band

1 room

30

0-100 M

Deco E4 (2-pack)

2 rooms

100

0-100 M

Deco E4 (3-pack)

2-3 rooms

100

0-100 M

*The above recommendations are based on measurements in an actual environment. Network speeds may still be affected by different environments.

Top 3 Mesh Routers by Sales and Acclaim

  • Deco X90

Deco X90 combines AI smart roaming with WiFi 6. The system self-learns to customize an ideal Mesh WiFi unique to your actual network environment. You can rely on Deco X90 for the perfect WiFi experience.

  • Deco X20

Equipped with WiFi 6, Deco X20 further improves wireless speed, coverage, and device capacity — all while lowering latency. The system creates a fully-dedicated whole home WiFi network.

  • Deco M4

Deco M4 is the entry-level Mesh WiFi system for large homes. With flexible and expandable WiFi, Deco M4 offers great coverage and network speed for fast transmissions and more device connections.

More Related Information

What is Mesh WiFi?

What is Deco?

WiFi 6: The Future of Home WiFi

Best WiFi 6 Mesh System: Should You Upgrade to It?

TP-Link Editorial Group

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