Forget wireless signal boosters, repeaters and extenders. They’re old news. The latest flavour of the month in domestic wireless networks is the whole home WiFi system.
Several of the major players (BT, Google, et al) are offering these plug and play mesh WiFi systems. They are generally more costly than old-style boosters (though prices are coming down). But are they any good?
Here are some of the pros and cons of whole home WiFi.
Installing a whole home WiFi system – the Pros
- These systems are based on mesh technology, meaning one single wireless network delivered through multiple WiFi access points. With traditional boosters or extenders each device broadcasts its own competing WiFi signal. This causes interference and signal drop outs. Mesh whole home WiFi systems avoid this issue.
- The plug and play nature means convenience and no setup costs. Just follow the instructions and the WiFi system is functional.
- Some manufacturers are offering a 30 day trial period. If the system doesn’t work in your home, you can return it and get your money back. So in theory it’s a no-risk investment.
…and the potential Cons
- As with all mesh setups, a whole home WiFi system relies on a strong wireless signal being broadcast between the access points. This is great if your home is WiFi-friendly, however many aren’t. Wireless signal interference can be a big problem for these systems. So things like thick walls, underfloor heating and some electrical appliances may scupper the ‘whole home’ effect. In addition, if you have a large home the signal may not be strong enough to reach all areas.
- Although plug and play is convenient, you still need to put in some time and effort to follow the setup instructions. And if it doesn’t work out of the box, you may be stuck on the end of the line to a call centre to try to fix it. There may also be a lack of customisability if there are settings that you find you do want to change later on.
- A 30 day trial is great if you’re really organised. However manufacturers often rely on customers forgetting, or being too busy, to return something that doesn’t work. It’s a well-used sales tactic.
Deciding if whole home WiFi is for you
This very much depends on your circumstances and what you want from your WiFi.
If your home isn’t full of wireless signal blocking construction materials, gadgets and furniture it can be a reliable and cost effective solution. And it’s more than likely going to be better than either relying on your wireless router alone or using WiFi signal boosters.
Ideally get a 30 day money back guarantee so you can test it works in your real world environment. But make sure you know when the 30 days is up and be sure to return it if you find it isn’t for you.
If you already know your home isn’t WiFi-friendly and you don’t want the hassle of trying something that may well not work, what then?
The alternative to a mesh-based whole home WiFi system
Installing wireless access points that are hard-wired into your router creates a much more reliable WiFi network. The technology that many larger businesses use for their wireless networks is now much more affordable. And it’s more than capable of coping with the WiFi demands of the modern home.
This means you can now have a robust wireless network that reaches all areas of your home. It will cost more than the off-the-shelf options, but will likely last a lot longer and provide a better WiFi signal.
Help with your WiFi installation
If you’re looking for a whole home wireless solution that will work how you want it, where you want it, we can help.
We offer a free WiFi survey for residents in the Bristol, Bath, Trowbridge and Chippenham area. We install both cabled and mesh whole home wireless systems and can help you choose the best solution for you. Contact us today for friendly, local WiFi help and advice.