WiFi Network made easy with Mesh Networking
Updated: Jan 13, 2021
We always get a lot of calls about WiFi networking. Clients always ask what is the best, how can we improve, or that they have spent a lot of money on a product and it doesn't work properly. CTech LLC is here to help with a little bit of information on WiFi, cable modems, and WiFi mesh networks. Your typical internet setup from your provider will consist of a modem, or a modem wireless router combo. Usually these are cheap, not so great products if you are leasing from the cable company. For what you pay monthly ($5), you could buy your own top quality modem and be saving money after your 10th month. An upgraded modem often will have better speeds and not need to be reset as often. You want a modem that support DOCSIS 3.0 or higher, but check with your internet company for a list of compatible modems. DOCSIS 3.0 supports speeds up to 1 Gbit/s downstream, and 200 Mbit/s up. More info on DOCSIS can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS
Depending on the internet speed you pay for and what you are using it for will change your experience greatly. I have seen streaming Netflix work on 5mbps connections, so if your home has 3 people streaming movies to devices, 1 working from home using VoIP phones, and 1 person surfing one could estimate you need about 25mbps of bandwidth. Keep in mind even if you are paying for 50mbps doesn't mean you will always get that speed. The fine print says speeds are not guaranteed and this is the maximum speed you are able to get.
Now, lets assume you have a very fast internet speed such as a gigabit internet service. These can reach speeds up to 940mbps but with all this speed you can not reach your router from your back porch. Often we see that the internet companies offer extenders to our clients and do not work very well. Imagine for a moment your modem creates a bubble of WiFi, as you get closer to the edge of this bubble your WiFi strength isn't as strong and will be much slower and at times will not work at all. Extenders just add a new and smaller bubble. While WiFi extenders do work for some users, better options do exist. Not to mention you now have 2 WiFi's to connect to as you move about your home. (Home WiFi) and (Home WiFi-EXT) Mesh Networks are far superior to extenders in a few ways. Mesh networks such as 'Eero' work great, and you keep the same single WiFi name throughout the entire home. So your devices do not have to disconnect from 1 WiFi and pick up a new signal from an extender, reconnect etc and drop connection. With a Mesh network you basically have overlapping WiFi bubbles that all act as one big bubble. The typical Eero (they do make other brands but we only work with the BEST) comes with 3 units. One will plug into your existing internet mode, and the other 2 you place throughout your home. Eero comes with an app and is VERY easy to setup even for someone with no knowledge. It will guide you through the process and tell you step by step what to do next.
When I say we only use the best products, this is what we have had the best luck with. Not saying there is not a better product available, but Eero can connect any number of additional Eero beacons to extend your WiFi. I have seen a 3 beacon system cover a very large home, with rebar reinforced concrete walls and still be able to get WiFi at the carriage house and pool. All on the SAME network name, and speed throughout the home. The typical Eero 3 mesh system can cover 5,000 sq ft, while the Eero pro covers 6,000. Also the Pro has higher speeds and is a tri-band system where the regular Eero mesh is a dual band system. If you have a gigabit, or fiber connection I would always say to go with the Eero Pro, as it supports higher speeds. A couple of free test tools to check your WiFi if you have android are listed below. WiFi Signal Meter - This will let you see in real time how strong or weak your WiFi is as your walk around. Locate weak spots and identify areas that may need more signal. SpeedTest by Ookla - This is an app and a website in one. www.speedtest.net This app will let you test the bandwidth (speed) of your connection. It tests your ping (how fast your signal goes out and comes back) as well as upload and download speeds. If you have any questions or want to setup an appointment to have a professional handle your network issues please email or call us. Click the video below for a quick demo on Mesh Networks vs traditional WiFi networks and WiFi extenders.