It used to be that your WIFI was your own unless you specified otherwise. Yet, with the entry of mesh networks, users can’t always be sure that their internet connection is private. Smart doorbells, virtual AI assistants and other smart home devices are increasingly connected via communal WIFI rather than independent routers. These mesh networks are especially growing in popularity with big tech companies who wish to integrate large numbers of smart home devices into one massive network that they say will increase connectivity and reliability.
If you’re concerned about mesh networks, what they are, how they work, and if they’re right for you, read on to learn more.
What is a mesh network?
A mesh network is a communal WIFI setup that pools small portions of users’ bandwidth in order to increase connectivity. The main benefit often claimed by proponents of the mesh network model is its ability to maintain WIFI connectivity when certain devices are out of range of a home’s main router. This means that your smart device (such as a security system or environmental monitoring device) would stay connected and active even if your private WIFI drops out.
Are there disadvantages to mesh networks?
Mesh networks share a small percentage of your personal WIFI’s bandwidth with other connected users when needed. So, while you receive the benefit of increased connectivity, it comes at the expense of privacy. In addition, mesh network users do not see when, how, and with whom they share their WIFI, which decreases their control over their own bandwidth.
However, perhaps the biggest disadvantage to mesh networks is the lack of transparency some companies choose to provide as they roll mesh connectivity out to their consumers. Certain companies recently deployed the mesh network model as an opt-out program, meaning that users were automatically enrolled in the program unless they went through certain steps to choose otherwise. For users who value transparency and control over their personal WIFI, this can be a major point of concern.
How Does Traditional WIFI Compare to Mesh WIFI?
If you have a traditional router in your home, you may have noticed that when your internet connection drops, there’s no recourse except to work directly with your internet provider to recover the lost connection. Mesh networks provide the safety net of another’s WIFI when such a drop occurs so that you don’t have to lose your connection.
However, not all routers are the same. If you want to improve your WIFI connection but don’t want to share your bandwidth with your neighbors, opt for a more powerful router that can extend your network equally across your entire home.
Mesh Networks and Smart Home Devices
As of now, there may be no black-and-white answer to determine whether traditional or mesh connectivity is absolutely better. However, when you work with a long-standing, professional home security company in your area, you will likely have far more control over your smart home security devices and how they connect to WIFI.
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