Walter Shillington writes about products he is familiar with. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
These days, almost every new electronic device boasts of its ability to connect via wi-fi. In my home, I have six Amazon Echo devices, five wireless Polk Audio speakers, a Meco doorbell, and a half dozen smart lightbulbs and switches. I also own a pair of laptops, a smartphone, and a Kindle, each of which requiring an internet connection.
For these devices to operate correctly, I need a router with excellent signal strength and the ability to operate in both 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands.
My internet provider installed a Bell 3000 modem/router in my home office. Its range was acceptable throughout most of the house, but video from my doorbell was often jerky, and, sometimes, the Echo dot in the upstairs bedroom would lose its connection.
While I could have installed a couple of range extenders, I decided to go the more elegant route and acquire a three-unit mesh system. After checking out what was available at Amazon, I chose the system manufactured by Rock Space.
This system consists of three small black plastic boxes. The top of each unit is covered in gray fabric and features a tiny LED indicator. Beneath each box is a DC power jack, a LAN port, and a WAN/LAN port. Four small rubber feet hold the unit securely in place.
Each box weighs 11 ounces. They are 4.3 inches tall, 3.9 inches wide, and 3.9 inches thick.
Three power adapters, a LAN cable, and a user guide are also provided, and a comprehensive application guide is available for download at the Amazon site.
- Manufacturer: Rock Space
- Name: Whole Home Wi-fi Mesh System
- Model number: RSD0610
- Operating System: Android
- Number of units: 3
- Data transfer rate: 1200 Megabits Per Second
- Connection type: Wi-fi
- Wireless standard: 802.11b, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
- Power: Input：100-240V—50/60Hz, 0.6A Output：DC 12V==1.5A
- Interface: 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports per mesh point
- Data Rate: 5GHz: Up to 867Mbps; 2.4GHz: Up to 300Mbps
- Basic Features: SSID Broadcast Beamforming Support MU-MIMO
- Wireless Security: WPA2-PSK (default)
- Wireless roaming: Comply with IEEE802.11v/r
- Internet Connection Type: PPPoE, Dynamic IP, Static IP, Bridge Mode
- DHCP Server: DHCP Server DHCP Client List
- Virtual Server: Port Forwarding UPnP
- Firewall: Forbid UDP ﬂood attack, Forbid TCP ﬂood attack, Forbid ﬂood attack
- DNS: Support manually setting DNS server
- Setup Requirements: A mobile device running Android 4.0+ or iOS 8+
- Application: RS wi-fi
Rock Space is trademarked by Shenzhen Renqing Technology Co., Ltd. This company, which is based in Guangdong, China, focuses on the development of smart digital products and accessories.
These mesh units are designed to blend unobtrusively into the background.
The first step is to install the RS WIFI application onto a phone. Then power off your modem and connect the included LAN cable between a LAN port of the modem and the WAN/LAN port of one of your new mesh units.
At this point, you can turn the modem back on and connect the mesh unit to a power source. After about 40 seconds, the LED on the mesh unit will begin to blink slowly.
Go to your phone’s network settings and select the Rock Space SSID and password printed on the bottom of the mesh unit. The password can be changed later.
Then run the RS WIFI application, following its on-screen instructions to connect the primary node (mesh unit) to the internet. You will require your provider’s wi-fi network name and password. Once this is complete, the primary node’s LED will turn solid green.
The other two mesh units can now be positioned and connected to a power source. They should be placed within 25 feet of the primary node. Walls will degrade the signal. If the LED of the newly installed mesh unit does not turn solid green within 40 seconds, it should be repositioned.
I found the Rock Space setup to be intuitive and did not encounter a problem.
My house is long and narrow. Positioned from front to rear are a porch, living room, dining room, kitchen, and back porch. My office can be accessed by a door on the right side of the dining room. Please note that because the kitchen is an addition, the wall between it and both the dining room and office is a thick outside-type wall. The upper floor of my house consists of a hallway and three bedrooms.
My modem and primary node (mesh unit) are located within the office. I placed a secondary mesh unit onto a desk in one of the bedrooms. The last mesh unit was positioned atop a small table in my living room.
I found the wi-fi reception upstairs to be much improved. My Alexa Echo Dot works perfectly, and because this system allows roaming, the signal on my smartphone is strong.
The mesh unit in the living room also provides effective service. My doorbell’s wi-fi signal strength increased from 69 to 100 percent. Video is no longer jerky. My Roku TV had worked well using my original router’s 2.4ghz band but, once I installed the mesh system, the television was able to take advantage of the 5ghz wi-fi signal.
Although located 35 feet away, the dining room’s mesh unit’s 2.4ghz output was strong enough to reach the robotic vacuum cleaner located in the kitchen.
Points to Consider
Unlike most modems, the Bell 3000 unit installed by my internet provider includes a router that cannot be disabled. This means that within my tiny office, there are two powerful wi-fi signals. The Bell’s signal interfered with the Rock Space wi-fi, causing my Alexa Echo sometimes to blank out while playing music. Switching the Echo back to the Bell router corrected this problem. If you cannot remove or disable your original router, you may experience minor problems within the room the router and primary mesh unit are located.
The number and thickness of walls between units should be taken into consideration when setting up the secondary mesh units. Any wall will attenuate a wi-fi signal, and an outside wall is often thick enough to render the 5ghz band unusable. Take the time to experiment, positioning the two secondary mesh units in different locations until they are perfectly placed to provide the coverage you desire.
If the wi-fi signal is weak in certain areas of your home, a mesh system is a superior option than that of a simple range extender. The three mesh units allow coverage of up to 5380 square feet and, because they use the same SSID and password, you can roam around the building without your device losing its signal. The Rock Space Mesh System is recommended.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Walter Shillington