Online gaming has become super popular in recent years. Whether you are a console or PC gamer, you are going to need an internet connection of some sort. But it is important to keep in mind that not all connections are the same.
If you have been considering mesh Wi-Fi for your online gaming, think again. Mesh Wi-Fi isn’t a good option when it comes to gaming mostly because, as the signal jumps from a node to the next, both the latency and workload increase. This can ultimately decreased the quality of connection, impacting your online gaming experience. If you are competitive in your gaming, you can’t afford those interruptions as you play.
Is Mesh Wi-Fi Good for Gaming?
There are three primary reasons why it may not be the best idea to use a mesh Wi-Fi setup for your online gaming. The first is because internet speeds aren’t going to be consistent. If you take your gaming seriously in any manner, dipping speeds are something to avoid.
There are also lacking features, especially when compared to your router or ethernet setup. That means being able to run different frequency bands or changing the DNS. A mesh Wi-Fi setup is simple but lacks many of the features that more serious gamers look for in their router.
Understanding How Mesh Wi-Fi Works
Before we understand how a mesh Wi-Fi network impacts your gaming experience, it helps to know how a mesh network operates. Basically, there is a central router in your home that connects directly to the modem.
The mesh is created through a series of nodes or satellite modules. These get placed around the home in order to provide more consistent, comprehensive coverage. The difference here is that all the devices that form the mesh all share the same SSID (Service Set Identifier as well as the same password to connect.
While it performs the same job as a basic wi-fi extender, there is a huge difference. For starters, a mesh network is much easier to set up. Not only that, it doesn’t come with some of the hassles and quirks that range extenders have been known for.
What is Mesh Wi-Fi Good for?
Just because mesh wi-fi isn’t the best for online gaming, all hope is not lost. You can turn to mesh wi-fi as a reliable alternative if you aren’t making gaming your priority. If you are a competitive gamer, especially, you should be focusing on a better connection setup.
That said, it is excellent for more than a few reason. There are five reasons in particular why making the switch to a mesh wireless network makes all the sense in the world.
A Single Network
Traditional routers using range extenders mean having different network connections. All of which means jumping from access point to access point. Mesh wi-fi allows for a single network connection, which makes it far easier to manage.
Even better, the mesh will maintain a network connection and a single SSID no matter where you happen to be within the home. Even better, it can automatically connect you to the best mode wherever you are settled in.
Easier to Setup
One of the biggest selling points for a mesh wi-fi network is that it can be easily set up. If you aren’t someone who is not interested in getting down to the nitty gritty of home wi-fi setup, investing in a mesh network is ideal.
You can generally plug it in and manage, providing a simpler, more consistent internet signal all throughout our home. Great for those who want something simple yet effective for their home internet solutions.
The simple fact of the matter is that having a mesh network means better, more comprehensive coverage for your home. A traditional router has to go somewhere centrally located, but with a single signal that has to fight its way to the outer fringes.
A mesh network will provide much more comprehensive coverage no matter where in the home you are located. Even if it isn’t great for gaming, it can provide you with better signal consistency throughout your home.
Another great thing about mesh wi-fi networks is that they can be as large or small as you want them to be. The main driving factor behind the size of network you choose is the size of your home. The bigger the home, the more comprehensive the mesh wi-fi network would be.
Keep in mind that each of the nodes has its own single module within the network as a whole. These single modules mean operating independently of the other nodes, meaning it can be removed or added with greater ease.
With a mesh wi-fi network, you don’t have to worry about a single, main access point. Which also means not having to worry about that point of failure. For the most part, you should not run into an issue with a single node thanks to the setup.
All of the noes are alike, too. That means simply replacing an older burned out node for a brand new one. You can even hot swap them out quickly if you find that one of the nodes is faulty or requires replacement.
Why Isn’t Mesh Wi-Fi Good for Gaming?
Knowing that it is basically a more advanced yet simpler to install range extender, you may be wondering why mesh wi-fi isn’t a great idea when it comes to online gaming. But there are three reasons in particular why you should avoid it if you are a regular or serious gamer.
While it is important to get a consistent, even signal distribution, it would be a lie to say that price plays no role. And the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of mesh wi-fi systems are hardly cheap.
Your average setup requires multiple nodes, meaning you could spend hundreds just trying to provide complete coverage for your home wi-fi. By going with a mesh setup, you can at least provide some level of consistency to your home’s internet connection.
Speeds Aren’t Consistent
Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid mesh wi-fi for your online gaming needs is that the speeds you get won’t be consistent throughout your home. A wireless signal starts to degrade as it gets further away from the point of origin (the router, in this case).
Mesh networks emit the signal from the router, then picking up the signal through one of the nodes and amplifying it as it is rebroadcast. But the further you get from the origin point, the poor the quality of signal and the greater amount of latency that you will experience.
No Advanced Features
If you like tinkering with the advanced features of your router, then you will be sorely disappointed with a mesh wi-fi network. The average mesh wi-fi network is marketed towards consumers that want to connect to the internet across the entirety of their home.
Because of this, the average mesh network is going to be missing unique advanced features that may have been included on the router. Things like switching between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands is important. The same goes for adding custom DNS or changing the DHCP scope.
For users who are simply trying to get a better quality, extended signal range, a mesh network is fine. But if you are trying to game at high speeds, you may run into more issue than you were prepared to deal with.
Alternatives to Mesh Wi-Fi for Gaming
Without a doubt, the single best method for online gaming should be using an ethernet cable. This ensures that, unless there is a total outage, your signal won’t drop and you won’t run into latency issues as you game.
The one downside to using an ethernet cable is that your gaming setup has to be located within proximity of your router.