The continued proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) or the connected world have seen South African households mobilising towards environments that allow for the connection of multiple devices from various points across the home.

Critical to these home technology environments is the Wi-Fi network - most devices today require wireless connectivity to access the Internet. Smartphones and tablets have always relied on Wi-Fi but now devices like Smart TVs and media streaming boxes require connectivity to deliver online content and video-on-demand services, such as Netflix and Showmax, to televisions.

Moreover, laptops which once came standard with a built-in RJ45 connection for wired network connectivity, have abandoned it in favour of Wi-Fi.


The Barriers

Clearly Wi-Fi has emerged as a vital component of the technology engine and needs to run optimally to deliver the myriad of abovementioned connections.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in numerous households which are currently experiencing dead spots or weaker Wi-Fi connectivity in certain parts of their homes – a frustrating experience to say the least.

One of the main reasons is that Wi-Fi networks must contend with interference such as many devices sharing the already heavily congested 2.4 GHz frequency, or physical barriers like brick walls and concrete roofs. The reality is that a router with a single Wi-Fi access point isn’t up to the task anymore.

The good news is that there is an answer – a Wi-Fi mesh network could offer a solution to home users’ connectivity woes. In recent months, more and more homes have implemented Wi-Fi mesh systems to strengthen and extend connectivity across their physical environments.


To Mesh

Home users will undoubtedly be familiar with Wi-Fi extenders as an option to solve dead spots, however, with the increasing availability of Wi-Fi mesh systems, many users are considering it as a more appealing option.

For one, a Wi-Fi mesh system is relatively easy to set-up and use; it usually features three or more router-like devices that work together intelligently to increase Wi-Fi coverage and performance, throughout the home.

It is essentially a system of multiple Wi-Fi access points (also called Wi-Fi nodes) placed around the home, but without the set-up headache - it doesn’t require multiple networks or other fussy input controls. Usually all it takes is plugging in the units and following some simple steps in the accompanying mobile app to create a Wi-Fi blanket that covers your entire home.

Once it’s all set up, managing the network is again quite easy, most of the advanced and complicated features are managed in the background and the essential features are accessible and simple to use through the app as opposed to the router’s complicated admin page on your computer.

Ultimately it makes it a lot easier to change settings and see a glimpse of your entire home network.


A Collective Effort

AirTies’ Managed Wi-Fi Mesh solution, for instance, utilises lightweight software intelligence embedded with each node to support consistent coverage across the home at optimal data rates for each connection. Also, users can with a push of a button easily integrate more extenders into the home wireless network when needed.

These Wi-Fi nodes also collectively monitor shifting demand for broadband and TV streams from whatever devices are in use at any time and assign the best path for each transmission to ensure optimal utilisation of the Wi-Fi network.

Think of it as a relay race where runners hand off the baton to the next runner to advance down the track —Wi-Fi mesh systems work the same way.

A Wi-Fi mesh network does not replace your current router but works alongside it, handling only the Wi-Fi component. Whilst Wi-Fi extenders boost your existing router’s signal, a mesh system will create a whole new Wi-Fi system separate from the router’s current network, ultimately creating an optimised environment for your connected home.

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