What is a Wi-Fi Mesh system
It is one of the most interesting options if we want have Wi-Fi coverage throughout the house. A Mesh system consists of several devices, called satellites, which are connected to each other and allow us to connect to have a connection to the network. They can be from two devices to many more.
This system is also called mesh net. It basically consists of an access point or Wi-Fi and several satellites. Being connected to each other, if we connect to one of them and then go to another room and connect to another, the process is automatic. They will use the same SSID or network name.
This makes it much easier to use. It is very useful in large areas. It is not only used in a home, where for example we can cover several floors, but also in shopping centers, hotels, a business center …
First of all we are going to see some of the main positive points or advantages to use a Wi-Fi Mesh system compared to other options with which we can also improve wireless connectivity at home.
- Coverage improvement: one of the clear advantages is that it has a significant coverage improvement. If we compare it with a traditional repeater, for example, the difference is remarkable.
- Devices connect to each other– The nodes are connected to each other and not each of them to the router. This will allow taking the wireless connection to other corners regardless of the distance or possible obstacles with the main equipment.
- Using cable and Wi-Fi: Normally, a Mesh system allows you to connect other equipment both by cable and by wireless network. This offers a wide range of possibilities and gives freedom to connect many devices.
But of course, as usually happens with any device of this type, it also has its negative points. We are going to see which are the main ones and thus have more information to choose or not for these devices.
- Compatibility– One of the biggest disadvantages is compatibility. We need a router that is compatible or purchase a Mesh system that brings its own router. Otherwise we could not use this type of technology.
- Price: the price is also a negative point. They are not cheap devices if we compare it with a PLC, Wi-F repeater or similar. They tend to be more expensive, although we will always find cheaper equipment that can adapt to what we are looking for.
- Setup can be complex: it must also be taken into account that the configuration is sometimes somewhat complex. Of course, once it is ready to use, you do not have to do anything else. But yes, initially for some users it can be somewhat complex.
How PLC Devices Work
The PLC devices They are another alternative that we have to improve Internet coverage at home. They allow more devices to be connected to the network and thus avoid the annoying cuts and signal loss that affect computers so much.
Its operation in this case is through electrical wiring. Normally there are two devices: one of them is connected to the router by an Ethernet cable and to electricity, while the other is connected to another electrical outlet in another area of the house. Through the power line they communicate with each other.
This allows us to connect any device to the second PLC that we have connected in another area of the home. For example, we can connect a television, a mobile or any IoT device that we have. It will act as one more access point.
The difference compared to a Mesh system or repeaters is that in this case these two devices are connected to each other through the power line, so it can better bridge the distance and possible obstacles such as walls. They are very useful, for example, to join two floors of a house.
Using PLC devices has some advantages compared to other alternative options. Let’s see which are the main ones to be able to have the best possible connection.
- Connect computers via cable and Wi-FiThe first is that there are many models that allow you to connect computers, televisions and other devices both by cable and Wi-Fi. This is interesting, as some can only be connected by Ethernet cable.
- Less speed loss: There is also less loss of speed in good conditions. By connecting the devices together by the power line we can avoid the loss of wireless signal or problems with walls and walls.
- Easy to install: its installation is very simple. They are usually Plug and Play and it is enough to connect both devices correctly and that’s it. We can connect from the other end of the house without complications.
There are also some negative points that PLC devices have to mention. In this way we can see if the balance between the positive and negative aspects compensates or not to decide to buy it.
- Interference with nearby equipment: one of the problems is that they usually have interference with other equipment that we connect nearby. For example, if we use a power strip and there are other devices connected or we have something near that plug.
- If the wiring is old it can go bad: we must also bear in mind that if the electrical wiring is old, we could have problems connecting.
- Price versus other alternatives: if we compare it with inexpensive repeaters, the truth is that the price is higher. It is another factor that we must take into account.
Main differences between Wi-Fi Mesh and PLC
So what are the differences between Wi-Fi Mesh and PLC? We have seen how each of them works and what are their main advantages and disadvantages. Now we are going to focus on the most important differences to see which of these devices suits us best.
Way to connect with each other
The main difference is the way connect with each other. We have seen that in the case of PLC devices they are connected through the power line, while Wi-Fi Mesh devices are connected to each other, between satellites, by Wi-Fi.
Therefore this point is differential. One will need the electrical wiring, while the other will need that the satellites are not very far from each other to be able to connect with each other, in addition to the possible obstacles that may exist.
This difference is also interesting, since precisely both teams are used to expand capacity wireless network. In the case of Mesh systems, we can cover several hundred square meters without too many problems, since we can also add more devices if necessary.
On the part of PLC devices, the limitation is usually greater. We will be limited to the wireless capacity of the second device that we connect to the power.
The speed it will depend mainly on the model we have. In optimal conditions, connected by cable or via Wi-Fi near the device, the speed should not be much different. Always, as we say, depending on the capacity of that device.
However, if we want to be able to move further away from the devices, have greater freedom of movement and be able to connect more devices over the wireless network, Mesh systems will have a higher performance compared to PLCs.
Regarding price, we will find important differences. Wi-Fi systems are more complex equipment, where a router and several satellites usually come. The normal thing is that the price in this case, it is far superior to PLC devices, which are cheaper and we can find some models at a good price.
Therefore, if we are looking for something more economical, we would have to go for the PLC devices. If we are looking for something that really covers a larger surface, even if it is more expensive, the best are Wi-Fi Mesh systems.
Ultimately, these are the main differences between Wi-Fi Mesh systems and PLC devices. As we have seen there are some important points that we must take into account. In the end it will depend on each user and what they really look for or need for their connection.