New 'EasyMesh' Program Will Let You Extend Your Wi-Fi Mesh System No Matter the Brand

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Wi-Fi Alliance today announced a new certification program called "EasyMesh," which will allow users who own mesh network products to choose from devices across different brands, while still ensuring reliable Wi-Fi coverage (via PCWorld). This way, customers will no longer need to stay within a single-vendor ecosystem dictated by the brand of the hub router, and can branch out to add on access points to their network that might have better performance, or other advantages.

So with EasyMesh certified products, if you own a Linksys Velop router then you can extend coverage across your home using a Netgear Orbi access point. Right now, users can only add products onto mesh networks that work with the main network gateway. For EasyMesh, the limitation as of now is company adoption, so users will have to wait for each mesh system maker to introduce EasyMesh compatibility into their devices.


According to Wi-Fi Alliance marketing vice president Kevin Robinson, EasyMesh is implemented in software, "so there should be no need for new hardware," which could speed up adoption rates. Still, Robinson pointed out that it will be up to each company to decide about adding EasyMesh into existing products. He also stated that companies will also be able to "differentiate their products with unique features or performance" and went on to break down the main components of EasyMesh.
"Interoperability has been core to Wi-Fi's success," said Wi-Fi Alliance marketing VP Kevin Robinson in an embargoed interview last week. "A standardized approach enables great economies of scale." Robinson explained that EasyMesh has two main components: The controller and the agent.

"The controller resides in one device on the network--in either a gateway or an access point--where it controls and manages all the devices on the network and how they connect to each other. Agents are in the mesh access points, and they organize with each other and provide information to the controller about how the network is operating."
In the announcement, the Alliance described EasyMesh as a system that will be familiar to any mesh network user. The program monitors network conditions and "self-adapts as needed," and it can guide internet-connected devices to the optimal access point in order for the user to have the best possible connection. Of course, the main advantage is that EasyMesh accomodates Wi-Fi extending access points across various brands, making the creation of an in-home Wi-Fi network far easier.

Wi-Fi EasyMesh networks accommodate a greater selection of devices across brands and are also extensible, making it easy for users to introduce new Wi-Fi EasyMesh access points into their network. Wi-Fi EasyMesh access points today will maintain interoperability with future Wi-Fi EasyMesh networks, providing an enhanced user experience for years to come.

"Wi-Fi EasyMesh offers both service providers and Wi-Fi users a consistent approach to multiple AP solutions," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. "Wi-Fi Alliance is delivering a standardized solution to a market-leading product category enabling a strong ecosystem for interoperable, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices."
Mesh networks have become increasingly popular over the last few years, thanks to their ability to easily extend Wi-Fi signals throughout a home. Some well-known brands include eero, Linksys Velop, Google Wi-Fi, Luma, and Netgear Orbi, which just announced a new 2-in-1 modem router system earlier this month.

Apple itself never offered a Wi-Fi mesh system, and the company officially got out of the router market completely in April with the discontinuation of the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. As an alternative Apple sells the tri-band Linksys Velop system on Apple.com, and the new dual-band system will be launching tomorrow, May 15, although it's still unclear if it will also be up on Apple's website.

Check out our full review of the dual-band Linksys Velop for more information on the company's latest Wi-Fi product.

Article Link: New 'EasyMesh' Program Will Let You Extend Your Wi-Fi Mesh System No Matter the Brand
 

Menel

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Aug 4, 2011
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Apple itself never offered a Wi-Fi mesh system, and the company officially got out of the router market completely in April[/url]
I STILL have some home setups running Airport Extreme/Expresses linked together to cover large homes with both wired and wireless links running flawlessly. These were the only devices of the last generation that could mesh reliably.

Or is this some sort of nuanced technology difference I don’t understand...

Edit:nix that all remaining locations are wired backhauls to the expresses.

New installations Ive been using Ubiquiti cause it can route packets at gigabit line speed unlike the pokey apple extremes. But for the sites without gigabit fiber yet, leaving the old sluggish Apple **** cause it just keeps plugging along.
 
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adamjackson

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I'd probably still recommend people buy the mesh-extenders from the same band they already have. This market will quickly get away from us and just turn into the extender market of the mid-2000s where for $19, this thing plugs into your wall and boosts your internet according to the packaging.

I do hope products like this get Eeero to reduce their sub-station pricing.
 

macduke

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I will be upgrading to a mesh 802.11ax WiFi network sometime in the next year or so. Now I will make sure that whatever brand I go with supports this open initiative.

Now that Apple refuses to sell integrated solutions that work with an app you can easily access from the WiFi settings panel, it would be nice if they would open up some sort of WiFi network API on iOS/macOS with a UI view driven by the settings on the router, or at the very least they could deep link to the router's app in the App Store or on the device if installed. Or maybe the router software could provide an API end point where the Apple provided WiFi settings UI view would populate with settings based on JSON provided at the end point. It could build all the interface components. This could be an open standard so that Android devices could also access this API and provide a Material Design UI view. This would be a lot more consumer friendly than having to remember some IP address while navigating a clunky web interface to change router settings, and they could tokenize the API access so that users don't have to login to the router each time because the router remembers the device. You'd need to get the companies to update their software to support this but it could be worth it. Though maybe just linking to their app would be easier, and then the app could use Face ID/Touch ID to authenticate users.
 

err404

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I assume that this does not include tech like Orbi. While they are good at what they do, they are not really mesh networks. Orbi is a glorified router/AP typology. Meaning your satellites can only talk to the router, so Orbi does not allow a satellite to be more than one hop from your router.
 
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Menel

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anthonymoody

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I assume that this does not include tech like Orbi. While they are good at what they do, they are not really mesh networks. Orbi is a glorified router/AP typology. Meaning your satellites can only talk to the router, so Orbi does not allow a satellite to be more than one hop from your router.
As prior poster notes, your info is out of date here.
 

pika2000

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Jun 22, 2007
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Sure... and no OEM will adopt it. Seriously, who would adopt something that will let competitors steal your customers? The WiFi alliance should make it a requirement to be part of the actual WiFi certification instead to see adoption.
 
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H3LL5P4WN

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I just use a single, monster Asus router. It's probably damaging the upstairs neighbor's brain, but it blankets me in sweet, sweet 5ghz.

That being said, I think my parents would be better served with a mesh system in the house they're building, so this is good news for me.
 
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Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
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Such a shame Apple don’t appear interested in this market.
Why is it is shame? Most of the available Mesh systems are excellent and easy to set up, good apps. I'm not sure what Apple would bring to the table other than a bigger price tag since the Airport's hallmark - easy of set up and configurability - is widely available now.
 

fairuz

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The diagram in this article does NOT describe a mesh network but a hierarchical one, which is exactly what AirPort always did. People are talking about this like it's new tech, but it looks like the same setup I've been using with AirPort since 2005. What am I missing?
[doublepost=1526317426][/doublepost]
I just use a single, monster Asus router. It's probably damaging the upstairs neighbor's brain, but it blankets me in sweet, sweet 5ghz.
This is better because the wifi standard still doesn't do handoff well.
 
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LosLoco

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Nov 28, 2012
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This all sounds very nice.

Meanwhile, I'm having horrible difficulties using a mesh network with my iPhone X. It just... Well, refuses to change hub reliably. I have three hubs in my country, and when I move from one end of the house to another, I have to turn off wifi and turn in back on on my iPhone to have it change hubs. My wife's iPhone 7plus has the same problem.

I've tried turning down the power on the hubs (to have less overlap), dividing my signal into two networks (2,4 and 5ghz instead of a combined SSID), but nothing helps...
 

fairuz

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This all sounds very nice.

Meanwhile, I'm having horrible difficulties using a mesh network with my iPhone X. It just... Well, refuses to change hub reliably. I have three hubs in my country, and when I move from one end of the house to another, I have to turn off wifi and turn in back on on my iPhone to have it change hubs. My wife's iPhone 7plus has the same problem.

I've tried turning down the power on the hubs (to have less overlap), dividing my signal into two networks (2,4 and 5ghz instead of a combined SSID), but nothing helps...
Yeah, I've been dealing with that for years with my iPhone. I got so frustrated that I finally dug into the wifi spec to figure out what's going on. Turns out handoff for wifi isn't really a thing, and the implementations for it are hacks. I'm guessing the iPhone hangs onto the network for a long time because it breaks connections when it switches, so it wants to avoid that.

4G-LTE and other cell standards do support handoff. It's complicated and involves an upstream server to handle every client. The most difficult part of that becomes apparent when considering how traffic from the Internet is routed to people's devices if they're switching cell towers.
 
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npmacuser5

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2015
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This all sounds very nice.

Meanwhile, I'm having horrible difficulties using a mesh network with my iPhone X. It just... Well, refuses to change hub reliably. I have three hubs in my country, and when I move from one end of the house to another, I have to turn off wifi and turn in back on on my iPhone to have it change hubs. My wife's iPhone 7plus has the same problem.

I've tried turning down the power on the hubs (to have less overlap), dividing my signal into two networks (2,4 and 5ghz instead of a combined SSID), but nothing helps...
Threw in the towel, just made different zones that are independent. If in back of house, user switches to that zone. Yes, a 15 Second manual swipe up, never fails and the speeds are equal all over the house. Apple missed an opportunity in home and office mesh network customer needs. The network more important to us then car automation. Missed it badly, Apple. Glad to see technology finally addressing this annoying issue.
 
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Le Big Mac

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Sure... and no OEM will adopt it. Seriously, who would adopt something that will let competitors steal your customers? The WiFi alliance should make it a requirement to be part of the actual WiFi certification instead to see adoption.
Yep - the self-joining part is going to doom it. All companies operate by creating some type of "lock in" to their product - you need to keep playing in their sandbox or endure the cost of moving to someone else's. Helps the bottom line - seems unlikely they'll give that up here.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
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Such a shame Apple don’t appear interested in this market.
Apple had to give up this space because they cant design the technology for it. They advertise 1300mbps? 3x3 wifi, but their switch fabrics couldnt route packets faster than ~300mbps. Garbage.
 
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