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Tech Dad: Wi-Fi not cutting it?

Improve it with a mesh network.

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As a parent, you also assume the role of head of tech support for your home. It’s no easy task because these days it’s more complicated than ever. If you’ve heard your kids or spouse complain, ‘the Wi-Fi stinks in my room,” you may be suffering from an inadequate Wi-Fi problem.

Wireless internet routers weren’t designed to cover a 3,500 square foot home. Even smaller homes often don’t get proper coverage because of multiple levels, various walls, and neighbor interference. A technology called ‘mesh’ networking is becoming more and more popular, and it may be the solution to make sure your family’s devices are always connected.

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What is mesh?

A mesh network essentially creates one single network using multiple hubs placed throughout your home. Think of it as Wi-Fi with multiple antennas. The main unit goes where your internet modem comes into your home and the ‘child’ units can be placed strategically to get the best coverage. If you place a child unit upstairs, Johnny will never have a weak signal again. It’s a technology that’s been used in high-end businesses but has finally come down in price for the rest of us.

Which one should I buy?

Eero was one of the first and they are now on their second-generation model. Their system comes with a main unit and two ‘beacons’ for $399. They also sell a system with only one beacon for $299. I tested Eero; my favorite thing is that the beacons plug right into a wall socket with no wires.

Google offers Google Wi-Fi that also has three units and sells for $299. I liked the app that Google provides to control it. It’s clean and simple yet powerful.

Netgear sells a mesh Wi-Fi system called Orbi. The most affordable of the three, you get a main unit and one child unit for $289.

Kirk Yuhnke is a father of three, a self-admitted geek, and the technology reporter for Fox31 News. You’ll also find him anchoring Fox31 Morning News weekdays on KDVR.

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