Does your digital likeness freeze in the pixel mush of the online conference? It doesn’t have to be, because mesh repeaters are an elegant solution to annoying disconnections.

Mesh what? A mesh network offers laptops, smartphones and tablets several inputs into the home network, so-called access points. It differs from normal WLAN networks in that the router automatically determines the best “access point” for your device. If you go from the top floor to the basement, your smartphone will always connect to the repeater in the mesh network that offers the most stable reception.

Ideally, you won’t notice a loss of connection when you stroll from top to bottom. WiFi repeaters without a mesh function cannot do this. If your smartphone is connected to a normal one, it tries to tap into the reception of the repeater in the attic. The connection is correspondingly bad.

Mesh repeaters: you need to pay attention to this

Before setting up a mesh network, there are a few things to consider. Not every router can calculate which repeater is the best access point for the devices on the network. So you need a mesh-enabled router in connection with mesh-enabled repeaters. In German households, a Fritzbox often connects laptops

If you find out after the check that your router is not mesh-capable, you don’t need to despair: there are sets that contain mesh routers and repeaters, such as the Fritzbox 7590 with the Fritz Repeater 2400. Both routers and repeaters transmit in the 2, 4 and 5 gigahertz (Ghz) ​​frequency band. The modem is suitable for DSL and VDSL connections to set up a mesh system.

Therefore, if you are with cable providers like Vodafone, the package will not make you happy. Nice: Extensions to the home network are effortless with additional AVM repeaters. Thanks to the WPS function, one push of a button is all it takes to embed the repeaters as access points in the network. The repeaters adopt the network settings of the Fritzbox. So you don’t have to bother with your smartphone

You should also choose a single manufacturer: Anyone planning to embed Netgear mesh repeaters into an existing mesh system with AVM repeaters will run into problems. The different manufacturers usually do not get along with each other. Exceptions are WiFi repeaters and routers that have the EasyMesh certificate. This allows mesh repeaters from different manufacturers to communicate with each other.

This begs the question of whether you want a dual or tri-band mesh system. The difference lies in the way the mesh repeater and router communicate: dual-band mesh networks have 2.4 and 5 gigahertz frequency WLANs. You can communicate using one of the WLAN frequency bands. Tri-band mesh systems outsource communication among themselves to their own frequency band, which usually operates at 5.8 gigahertz. But who needs what?

Mesh repeater: A dual band is sufficient at home

Dual-band mesh networks are sufficient for normal home use. The number of connected devices is manageable. Accordingly, there is enough space on the frequencies for communication between router and mesh repeater and computer, smartphone, television

If you don’t have a Fritzbox, the Netgear Orbi WiFi Set RBK13-100PES is suitable for home use. It consists of a router that you connect to your modem and two mesh repeaters. According to the manufacturer, the set covers an area of ​​up to 300 square meters and transmits with two antennas each at 2.4 and 5 gigahertz.

Compared to the AVM Fritz Repeater 2400, it is Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) capable. This means that the router can send different data to devices on different antennas at the same time. The speed of the mesh system benefits if the smartphone, television and laptop also support MU-MIMO. This is the case with iPhones from the iPhone 6 onwards.

Tenda’s mesh set, consisting of a router and two mesh repeaters, is cheaper. According to the manufacturer, it is also MU-MIMO capable and covers a maximum of 300 square meters. However, buyers can expect an ugly bottleneck: the Ethernet ports only offer a data transfer rate of 100 megabits per second.

If you want to connect your TV or computer to a WiFi repeater by cable, don’t use your full bandwidth if your internet connection is faster than 100 megabits per second. Too bad: If your modem is also a router, the Tenda set does not adopt its WLAN settings, but sets up its own network with which you can connect your smartphone, tablet, television

Mesh-Repeater: Wifi-ac oder Wifi 6?

Wifi 6 is the newer standard. Accordingly, it manages the data in the network more efficiently and offers faster transfer rates. If several people in a household stream 4K films while the other half plays online, mesh repeaters with the older standard could reach their limits.

In addition, WiFi 6 solves an annoying problem that plagues city dwellers in particular: WiFi networks of all neighbors that interfere with each other. Anyone affected by this should consider choosing Wifi 6 over the older standard. By the way: Wifi 6 is backward compatible. So you don’t have to convert your entire network to the standard, you can do it step by step.

The Netgear Nightawk MK62 set consists of a router and two repeaters. The manufacturer promises coverage of up to 250 square meters. Nice: It’s EasyMesh certified. You can therefore integrate repeaters from other manufacturers into the network with the certification. The set flexes its muscles, especially when it comes to the number of devices: The manufacturer promises to provide up to 25 devices with a reliable line – Wifi 6 makes it possible. Use a smartphone app to manage your network and set up guest access, for example.

Who Needs a Tri-Band Mesh Network?

Tri-band mesh systems mark the upper class. If you want to equip a doctor’s office, law firm or a place with many people with WLAN reception, you can use tri-band mesh repeaters and routers. Anyone who owns a Fritzbox 7590 drives to the safe WLAN port with the Fritz Repeater 3000.

Like its little brother, the repeater works well as an access point with Fritz boxes. However, it offers two gigabit LAN ports and thus one more than the Fritz Repeater 2400. Practical if there are two computers in the study that you want to connect to the repeater via LAN cable.

The set from Netgear consisting of a mesh router and two repeaters is more extensive. The manufacturer promises coverage of up to 525 square meters. Overall, Netgear donated eleven gigabit LAN ports to the set, distributed over the individual repeaters and the router. The network can be set up and managed using the free Orbi app. For example, you can create guest networks or set up parental controls.


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