Mesh Networking vs AirPort Extreme and Expresses??

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by davidg4781, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I'be been waiting for an Airport update before switching over and I guess now that's not going to happen.

    I am seeing a lot of posts about how mesh networking is the future. Can someone explain what the difference is between that and just using an Extreme with some Expresses spread around the house? That was my plan but if I'm dropping the cash on this I want to make sure it's the latest and greatest.
  2. ctyrider macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2012
    If your house has Cat5e or Cat6 wiring - don't bother with wireless meshes. You are better off with good old fashioned Access Points, be they AirPorts or non-Apple.

    Wireless meshes (Eero etc) are "poor man's WiFi" for those living in non-wired homes. Using wireline Ethernet to extend Wireless APs will always result in better network performance.
  3. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I think I have Cat5 running from one side of the house to the other. Forgot what it is but I ran it about 10 years ago. I don't think I can easily replace it with Cat6.

    What's the difference between putting an Express in wireless extender mode? I'm assuming that's possible.
  4. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2003
    I've read that extending your network cuts the throughput in half. Don't know why. You can do this with Apple routers.

    A mesh network somehow avoids this problem. Not sure how but Apple routers don't support this.
  5. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2016
    BaseCamp Pro
    Extending your network requires your data hop through each device and doing that wirelessly is very inefficient. A mesh network delivers your data from the nearest AP to the hub AP (ideally wired). A mesh network can also handoff from AP to AP seamlessly. Apple cannot do this. You may find yourself connected to the AP across the house even though there is one much closer with a better signal.

    I don't know the merits of each of the consumer grade mesh products.
  6. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    I'm pretty sure that's not accurate. It's not up to the AP at what stage the device jumps from one AP to take another, the device decides when to do so.
  7. BorderingOn, Nov 26, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016

    BorderingOn macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2016
    BaseCamp Pro
  8. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    I have some clients with upwards of 4 hardwired airports. Start on one side of the office, walk to the other, and your iPad, MBP, whatever device does not consistently transition to the most powerful airport signal.

    Enterprise devices are much better in this regard.
  9. garyleecn macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2014
    because in such configuration, the extender (or a point of mash that is not the main router), is connected to the main router wirelessly. so when you are transferring data from your device (say, iPhone) to/from internet, the data goes like this

    internet -- main router --*-- extender --*-- iPhone. where --*-- are wireless connection.
    so you can see the extender is receiving and transmitting the same data wirelessly at the same time, therefore the bandwidth will be cut in half.

    so if you have hard wire in your house at at least two points, just hard wire two or more AP (or airports in AP modes), that will give you a much better result. cat6 or cat.5e won't matter, you won't notice the difference.

    I have cat 6 wired to every room in my house, used to have 3 airport extremely one on each floor, worked perfectly. however I just switched to ubiquity UAP due to simpler network structure using PoE.
  10. jenzjen macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2010
    Right but most mobile devices and especially IOT stuff doesn't poll for the strongest signal frequently so the prior posters are correct, you'll likely stay connected to your first connection point even though you've walked across the building and are now standing next to another AP

    I tell people to turn wifi off/on if they are moving to another location to make sure they grab the strongest signal

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