difference between mesh-supported wifi system & multiple AP

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Long story short, please eli5 what is the differnece or the benefits of wifi mesh system & multiple AP with the same ssid & password to cover a large area

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Thank you guys for this simple clarification

In: 3

There is no good definition of what a mash network is so the term is being used to market different things. A mash network is a network where all the nodes can help propagate the signals. So a node will act as a router between other nodes when required ensuring all the nodes are connected to each other, either directly or through other nodes.

Most of the time when vendors sell mash enabled APs what they mean is that the AP can act as both an access point and a wifi client at the same time. This means that even if an AP loses its wired connection it may still work as an AP by connecting to another nearby AP. This makes the network more fault tolerant as it can handle loss of connections gracefully. It also makes it easier to extend the range of a network by installing non-connected APs near areas with bad connections, and then possibly install the network wires later on. In some cases it might also improve network speed as the wireless connection between the APs can be faster then some wired connections.

Co-ordination.

Your wifi points are all people at a party trying to talk to the other people (wireless clients) across a crowded room.

When they can’t hear each other, they shout louder to be heard over the others, but there’s a limit to how much you can shout (transmission power limits).

Adding more points blindly just adds EVEN MORE people to room, all trying to shout over the others, making it noisier and slower to communicate for everyone involved.

However, if the APs support meshing, they are able to tell each other to STFU, take turns to talk and even say “Hey, can you hear that guy in the green? Right, well, I can’t hear him very well… he’s your responsibility now” to each other. By doing this, the communication works better for everyone overall, and it’s not just a hundred clients and APs yelling at each other at the top of their voice trying to be “the loudest”.

The coordination needs mesh protocol compliance, and often the APs need to be the same brand, part of the same management network (e.g. wireless controllers are devices that exist for this reason) or you’ll have people still “yelling” rather than stopping and taking the time to talk to each other.

Generally speaking, managed wifi with only managed wifi access points nearby gets far, far better overall performance for everyone involved. Otherwise it just becomes a screaming match where every AP is trying to “be the best” because they want their brand to look good.

Like when you’re listening for a victim buried under a collapsed building, sometimes the best way to establish communication is to briefly tell everyone to STFU.

what /u/ledow said and also mesh APs will force your devices to switch to the nearest one
if you have let’s say 2 routers (or extender) with the same or different wifi name the client device will be holding to the present connection for dear life even if it’s barely there and you are standing near the second router with potencially perfect signal

In a mesh system, each AP is connected to the central router through the other APs, so traffic has to hop from node to node; moreover, the system reconfigures the routes automatically, as nodes move around, or enter and leave the mesh.

If all your APs are connected to the centrar router through an ethernet cable, then you do not have a mesh. However, some vendors use the term mesh to refer to APs that support some extra functionality, like coordination or fast transition.

Mesh has “intelligence”.

Multiple APs don’t “talk” to each other. If you are in a building with many of them, depending on your device and the configuration of the APs, your device may like to stick to being connected to one even after roaming around and now you’re closer to another AP.

Mesh setups “talk” and can re-route you to the best “node”.

Mesh also don’t need to be hardwired together, they can be for backup but normally they have a hidden network they browdcast that they connect to themselves, which is different from how regular extenders/repeaters work which is why those typically can expect 1/2 the speeds.