What is a Mesh Network? – Different Types of Mesh Networks

What is a Mesh Network? A mesh network will save you from the limitation of accessing the internet just from one part of your house. 

Notably, a WiFi signal on a 5Ghz frequency will only reach a maximum distance of approximately 15 meters.

 It is quite a short distance; you could want to extend its reach further. 

Also, think of a house with a hallway, and you’d like to access the internet from that point. How do you bridge the gap? 

Mesh networks are the ultimate solution. Let’s see what they are and how they guarantee internet access even wirelessly. 

Table of Contents

What is a mesh network?

It is an aggregation of interconnected infrastructure devices, such as WiFi routers, that operate together to provide coverage in an extensive area. 

An example of a mesh network is the Google Nest Wifi Pro by Google Fiber

We refer to these numerous access points as nodes and note there’s no sole dependency on a specific one. 

Hence, each node contributes to the data relay, and there is a mechanism of repair in case one fails to ensure a continuous flow. 

So why a mesh network? The system of interconnected nodes ensures that the single network is accessible at a wider reach than if you were using a solitary router. 

Hence, it’s primarily a sort of system featuring numerous routers that assist the primary one in distributing the signal.

How do mesh networks work?

Mesh network concept. 

Mesh network concept. 

Here is a differentiation of mesh networks from the conventional star/tree local network topology: 

First, mesh networks have no hierarchical arrangement; each node is treated equally. 

The primary router is the only primary ‘node’ whose failure can result in a breakdown of the signal distribution. 

Also important is the signal routing process from one node to the other occurs via the routing technique. 

Hence, the signal moves from one node to another by a hopping mechanism, although others use the flooding computing method.

Even when there’s a breakdown in one of the nodes, mesh networks feature two reparative measures to ensure continuous data flow. These include: 

  • Shortest Path Bridging- The data will follow another pathway within the network. 
  • Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL). 

The above measure ensures you can always rely on the mesh network to supply your network needs. In addition, while the above self-healing methods primarily apply to wired connections, they are synonymous with wireless routing. 

Fully Connected Mesh Network

Finally, you could have a scenario whereby all the mesh nodes are actively connected. 

It is a fully connected mesh network, and it ensures that there’s efficient coverage. You also can rely on the system to supply data all over. 

But achieving this mode is also pricey as it requires you to have a relatively high number of connectors. 

Types of Mesh Networks

There are seven main types of mesh networks; we’ll look at each in detail below. 

Wi-Fi mesh network

Connecting to WiFi. 

Connecting to WiFi. 

The routing mode uses wireless connections to convey data to an extensive radio range. 

Setting up a WiFi mesh network is also pretty straightforward, primarily since it involves simply connecting the individual nodes to the primary router. 

Next, after connection, you position the nodes in different positions in the house. 

The rule of thumb is that the distance between the individual nodes should be within their transmission range. 

Wired mesh network

Ethernet cables are Handy in creating a mesh network. 

Ethernet cables are Handy in creating a mesh network. 

As per the name, a wired network features cables, and also, since you’ll be using ethernet cables, each node must have an ethernet port. 

Your primary node is your router which will provide the signal. 

Next, connect the nodes from the router and position them in various locations within your home. 

The upside of a wired mesh network is that it also enables you to set up a connection outside. 

Simply place your router outdoors, then route your connections via ethernet cables to various points. 

Full mesh topology network

Here, all the nodes are connected via a topology you create by a local or internet connection.

 Such a system ensures no single point of failure in the network, so you’re guaranteed uniform network signal distribution. 

Nonetheless, it remains a complicated system that requires expertise to implement, especially in fixing the endpoints behind NAT

Partial mesh topology network

Unlike in the above case, in partial topology, some devices within the network are interconnected while others connect to a few devices. 

It’s also straightforward to implement, and its primary advantage is enabling you to add a device when necessary. 

This seamless addition doesn’t interfere with the system’s data transmission. 

Moreover, with a partial mesh system, the infrastructural investment is lesser than a full mesh.

 It further leaves room to scale up your connections when necessary. 

Finally, the nodes with limited connections are as effective as the primary node in supplying an additional channel. 

Primarily this is because they are repeaters with capabilities similar to the primary router. 

Hybrid mesh network

A hybrid Mesh Icon. 

A hybrid Mesh Icon. 

It blends two or more mesh network systems and can feature wired and wireless connections. 

Its fundamental upside is enabling a more extensive range to connect than the conventional wired mesh network. 

Also, note that a hybrid mesh involves multiple networks, eliminating any connectivity lag synonymous with other modes. 

Infrastructure mesh architecture network

It’s another excellent mesh system with better capabilities than the erstwhile discussed modes. Its only peer in regards to preference is the hybrid mesh network.  

Primarily it enables improved computing performance due to its incredible internet speeds and relatively low latency. 

Again, since it lacks a centralized server, there’s no lag, and the nodes can connect wireless or via ethernet wired connections. 

Client-based mesh architecture network

It is the typical peer-to-peer data connection system whereby each node can transfer data. 

Also noteworthy is that the mesh router in a client-based architecture is the individual client. 

Benefits and Disadvantages of Mesh Networks

An Internet Router. 

An Internet Router. 

Why you should use Mesh Networks

  • They help ensure network stability over an extensive area primarily because they are unaffected by single system failure points. 
  • Nodes exchange data with each other without the need to communicate with a central access point. It makes routing easy since the need to always connect to the primary node (router). 
  • Also, a mesh network solves the dead points problem common with most WiFi networks. 
  • Again, given that the individual nodes don’t necessarily require connection to a central router, their electricity consumption is typically low.
  • You can fix any of the nodes if you notice a problem without affecting the performance of the others, given they have a coping mechanism. 
  • The network configuration of a mesh network is simple. So it requires low-cost infrastructural outlay. 

Drawbacks of Mesh networks

  • Users wary of the cost may opt for a simple router and one WiFi extender. Nonetheless, this system cannot match the extensive coverage of a mesh network. But again, you will spend more to buy numerous nodes, so this system could be more pricey overall. 
  • While scalability is possible, it can be more complex to implement and comes with an additional cost. 
  • Troubleshooting the individual nodes is difficult, given that each operates as a unique router. It may require an expert, and once more, this translates to an additional cost. 
  • If you settle for low-cost nodes that have limited processing power, they will still do the job, but they come with the possible challenge of high latency. 

Differences between mesh node, Wi-Fi extender, and Wi-Fi access point

A WiFi Signal Booster. 

A WiFi Signal Booster. 

Mesh Node vs. WiFi Extender vs. Wi-Fi Access Point
A mesh node connects to other ‘routers’ in a network distribution infrastructure. An Extender/Repeater is a device that picks up a WiFi signal as it is and extends its reach beyond the capacity of the primary router.
Hence, it’s a WiFi signal amplifier. 
A Wi-Fi access point is similar to a WiFi Extender as it avails a new point of connecting to the internet. 
For instance, say that you want to connect to the internet from your bedroom via an ethernet cable. 
You’ll install an access point from the router to where you want to connect. 

How We Choose the Best Mesh Networks?

An Internet Speed Bar. 

An Internet Speed Bar. 

The factors below should guide you in picking the best mesh network in the market. 

Ease of Setup

You don’t need to engage a technician to install a mesh node infrastructure in your home, which will balloon the costs.

 So pick up a mesh system that is easy and outright to install. Again, the administration of the system should be straightforward. 

Identifying the individual nodes with a performance issue should be easy. 

Top Speed Performance

Don’t just trust what the manufacturer says on the package about the speed capabilities of the mesh networks. 

Test first or check out customer reviews of previously used kits. 

An exemplary mesh node should deliver top-quality signals even behind barriers like walls. 

Low Latency

Again, just like speed, don’t trust the node’s package latency claims until you’ve checked what others say about it. 

The ideal mesh kit should significantly lower the latency. On this note, don’t settle for any equipment you come across, especially the lower-priced ones, as they compromise on such aspects.

Numerous Ethernet Points and Expandability

You want a mesh network with an extensive range of ethernet ports so that you can connect all your devices to it. It should be a fundamental consideration when settling on a particular system. 

Also, choose a mesh kit that guarantees room for expansion. 

Improved Processing

If you miss out on a mesh kit with excellent processing power, you’ll have done yourself a lot of injustice, as this factor matters a lot.

 A slow-performing system will mean that there will be a lag, especially when you connect numerous appliances. 

So the performance of your mesh system will depend on the RAM of the individual devices meaning this is something you shouldn’t compromise. 


We don’t recommend you go for overpriced mesh systems, as there’s no guarantee they’ll beat the performance of cheap ones. 

Nonetheless, don’t pick up the cheap ones either because you can bet their processing power will be average at best. 

An ideal mesh network should be priced at approximately $100 to $300.

 It should also have extra functionalities like WPA3 security, 802.11AX/Wi-Fi 6, and additional USB ports. 

What are the Use Cases for Mesh Networks?

What would compel you to choose a Mesh network over WiFi extenders and other systems? Two main aspects make this system quite important. 

First, if you’re in a larger room where you want to eliminate WiFi dead spots, they can immensely help. 

Also, when a node is distant from the router, it’ll still perform well because it’ll connect a signal from the nearest node. 

So mesh networks are essential both in residential and commercial settings. 


Getting WiFi from a Starlink router or any other ISP is straightforward is easy, but in most cases, the network reach is quite limited. 

Therefore, having a mesh network system is important when you want to extend your reach. 

Many mesh kits are available, and picking out the best is challenging. But we have listed the factors you should use to confirm if a router is ideal for your applications.