How to Blanket or Cover a Large Area With Strong Wi-Fi
My router is located downstairs. For years, I depended on wi-fi signals from this router. Even though my plan offered Internet speeds at 60mbps, I got only 12mbps upstairs.
Setting up a mesh network using a system like Google Wifi is the best way I've found to blanket the whole house in wi-fi and extend coverage to dead zones.
Set Up a Wi-Fi Mesh Network
Setting up a mesh network using a system like Google Wifi or Linksys Velop is hands down the best way to blanket the whole house in wi-fi. A mesh system can replace your router while also providing wireless coverage to your entire house. This is fairly new technology (at least new to the public), and I'm so glad I found out about it as soon as I did because it has made my life so much easier.
I personally use the Google Wifi. It's been two years since I've purchased it, and it is still running strong and giving me fast internet speeds in my upstairs bedroom. I also get fast internet in my backyard (which is a bonus!), although I don't spend much time on the internet when I'm out there.
How Do I Set Up a Mesh Network?
- Buy a mesh network system. I recommend the because it can cover 4,500 square feet for only $300. The Linksys Velop is good too. It covers more area (6,000 sq. ft.), but it is more expensive ($500). Google Wifi
- The mesh system provides you with two or three nodes (a.k.a. pods). You can buy more than three if you have a very large house, but three is enough for a 4,500 to 6,000 square foot house.
- Connect one of those pods to your modem (the plastic tower you got from your internet provider). You should already have a modem if have internet connection.
- Connect the other pods anywhere you want throughout the house. The pods speak to each other wirelessly, so you only need an electrical outlet—no ethernet cords needed! The one pictured above is plugged into an electrical outlet in my upstairs bedroom.
- Download the Google Wifi app according to the instructions that come with your system. Just follow the super easy instructions. I am not tech-saavy, and I was able to set up the entire thing within 15 minutes.
- The app will ask you to insert a code located on the bottom of the pod. Then it will activate the pod and ask you to set up a network name and password.
- You're all set. Enjoy fast internet anywhere in the house or in your backyard!
How Does a Mesh System Work?
In very basic terms, the system includes at least two nodes—two router-like pods that connect wirelessly and share internet connection with each other. Only one of these nodes needs to be physically connected to the modem provided by your internet provider. The other node should be placed in an area where you want to extend coverage to, such as an upstairs bedroom. You can add as many nodes as you can—the more nodes you have, the further your coverage spreads.
Google WiFi vs. Linksys Velop: Which Mesh System Is Best?
Google: Each node provides 1,500 feet of coverage. So with a 3 pack, you can cover a total of 4,500 feet.
Linksys: Each node covers up to 2,000 feet. With a 3 pack, you can cover a total of 6,000 feet of space.
Ease of Setup
Google: Hook one node to the modem. Download the Google Wifi app and follow instructions on your phone's screen.
Linksys: Same as above.
Google: Lighter and smaller. Weighs only 12 oz. Minimalistic and will go unnoticed.
Linksys: Taller and heavier. Weighs 1.08 pounds.
Number of Ethernet Ports
Google: 2 on each node.
Linksys: 2 on each node.
Google: Includes a 2.4Ghz and a 5Ghz radio band.
Linksys: Has one 2.4Ghz and two 5Ghz radio bands.
The Linksys Velop offers more coverage and two 5GHZ bands to spread out the traffic. But unless you have a house with heavy internet use (i.e. lots of devices using heavy data), then I would personally save some money by going with the cheaper Google Wifi. I purchased the Linksys Velop and the Google Wifi at the same time and found that my small-sized house didn't need so much coverage, so I returned it. But in the first week of using it, the Linksys and the Google Wifi were comparable in terms of speed and strength. Whichever you choose will depend on how big your house is, how many devices will be on it, and what those devices will be running. For an average household's need, I recommend the Google Wifi. I also like that Google's design is smaller, lighter, and much more discreet.
How to Cover a Large Area With Wi-Fi
- Set up a mesh network system. I personally use the Google Wifi because it covers more than enough area (4,500 sq. ft), and it is relatively cheap compared to other brands (only $249).
- Secure your network (i.e. set up a private, password-protected network).
- Check how many devices are on your network by logging into your router's software or online account. You can kick devices off the network or change the password to prevent some devices from accessing your internet.
- Change your wifi channels: 1, 6, and 11 are the best channels to be on because they don't overlap.
- Avoid placing the router or the mesh nodes near brick walls or concrete walls.
- Avoid putting the router near other wireless electronics, such as microwaves or radios. These can cause interference.
- Don't place them near large metal objects like filing cabinets.
- Keep the router and the nodes away from exterior walls, unless you want coverage outside your house.
If you want to keep using your old router, another option is to create a second access point (or repeater). If you can find a way to connect an ethernet cable from your main router downstairs to a second router upstairs, then you can use the second router as an access point (or repeater). This repeats the Internet signal from the main router and creates a second wireless network just for upstairs' use. In theory, this works similarly to the mesh system, however, you have to run wires from one router to the other, so you do not get the advantage of wireless connectivity like you do with the mesh system.
Mesh Systems Are the Future
Mesh systems may seem expensive, but I promise you they are worth the money. I've been using my Google Wifi for 2 years now. It was simple to setup (even for someone who is not so tech saavy, such as myself). My internet is now consistently fast (no more cut outs), and I get strong coverage everywhere. The Google Wifi really saved me a lot of headache and time spent trying to connect wires and set up a bunch of individual networks, so I highly recommend giving it a try at least. If you don't like it, you can always return with Amazon.