Wifi, routers and mesh networks: how to make the internet faster at home

It is 6:00 pm of a day like any other. The son plays online, the daughter chats and does homework, the mother is smart working and the father is videoconferencing. All passionately connected. It is not the typical family, but the combination of Dad, smartworking, gaming and social can clog up the Wifi network in an instant. Because wireless networks are not all the same. Because not all operators are the same. And because families are not all the same. In other words, regardless of the quality of the connection purchased, the online user experience is severely affected by a poor Wi-Fi signal, which causes, for example, drops in internet access in some rooms or the degradation of the quality of the TV streaming. .

In the last year with the lockdown we have learned the hard way that the quality of the connection also depends on the number of connected devices: smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops and Smart TVs are usually all connected to home Wifi. When 5G really arrives, and it’s just around the corner, we’ll all get back to thinking about what to do. Experts are confident that next-generation mobile networks will become the core technology by sending Ethernet and WiFi to the basement. 5G is designed to be much faster and have lower latency. Operators have never hidden that they prefer 5G because it is new, powerful and they have invested a lot in it.

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Waiting for 5G

But as often happens, the paradigm change, as the experts say, will not be immediate and for a few years we will live in a middle ground, also choosing on the basis of convenience to whom to entrust us. While waiting, a smart choice is to rely on a possibly intelligent mesh network.

A mesh network is a system based on several “speakers” that allows you to activate a more efficient home wireless coverage than classic Wifi. These are small cable-powered repeaters that bring connectivity even to the outermost areas of an apartment. In traditional Wifi, the radiation source is unique and the further you go from the devices, the more the signal decays. Technically, you always need a router or a modem-router to which a mesh device connected via ethernet cable can be connected. Then you place the others in the areas where you want the signal. Mesh devices communicate on a specific and encrypted wireless channel. They make the network “intelligent” because, for example, they automatically manage the device on the best access point and on the most powerful frequency band. In this way they are able to ensure more “bandwidth” to all connected devices regardless of the conformation of their apartment.

What the market offers

On the market there are offers of the telephone operators that offer bundled with the internet connection (more expensive). Fastweb launched NeXXt a few weeks ago, an intelligent router integrated with Alexa intelligence to manage home broadband. On paper, it offers speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps in download and 300 Mb / s in upload and allows you to connect up to 128 devices at the same time. The new Fastweb product can be associated with a booster, a unit that increases the coverage of the Wifi signal. You can then manage the power of the connection to “divert” it to where it is most needed. Or you can do it yourself to buy a mesh network to connect it to your router. Products of this type are for example Google Nest Wifi (the configuration is disarmingly simple), Avm Fritz! (the industry specialist), Netgear and Amazon eero.