Are you still using Apple’s Airport Extreme, Airport Express, Time Capsule, or ‘stock’ routers from Comcast or Centurylink to get WiFi in your home? If so, you may have noticed that your Internet speed may be slower than you expect from your Internet Service Provider which may be the fault of your WiFi router. (You may also be paying dearly for that router you’re renting.)

Until 2016, we would have recommended one of Apple’s Airport solutions to create a strong WiFi network in your home. However according to several reliable sources online, Apple has discontinued development of these units, and we are no longer recommending purchasing them. The problem with the older style WiFi routers such as Apple Airport is that they interfere with other nearby WiFi networks, resulting in slow speeds and small coverage areas. WiFi network speed and coverage area is becoming increasingly important with the growing number of WiFi devices we rely upon within our homes. As this technology fades, performance will be lacking.

The next generation of WiFi routers use a technology called Mesh, which meld together several base stations into a continuous strong and consistent network. Mesh WiFi networks are ‘smart’, in that they automatically adjust their radio frequencies according to local conditions, such as competing WiFi networks and which devices on the network need the most bandwidth. This technology is not new, but has formerly only been available to large corporations, and/or very expensive.

While Apple is not expected to enter the Mesh WiFi marketplace, several other companies have created excellent Mesh base stations that are fully compatible with Apple products and include accompanying iPhone Apps for setting up and monitoring your WiFi network. We at The MacSpa have been using a Mesh system in our office without issue for several months and have assisted setting up these systems in many clients’ homes. Now that there are more affordable options on the market, more and more people are upgrading their home networks.

Listed below are the Mesh WiFi router brands with which we have experience and are currently recommending for regular home use. Both have easy-to-use accompanying iPhone Apps and charge around $100 per WiFi base station unit, with each unit providing approximately 1500 square footage of coverage:

Google WiFi – https://madeby.google.com/wifi/ – This is the Mesh WiFi system we use at The MacSpa. The base stations are clean and simple and setup via the iPhone App is fast and easy with a Google account.

Ubiquiti Amplifi https://amplifi.com/ -We have set up this excellent system in several client homes.  The app makes setup and monitoring simple and a convenient display on the main base station monitors network speed.

Small businesses may be interested in the enterprise-class Cisco Meraki or Aerohive products.

Please contact us at The MacSpa for more information on Mesh WiFi routers and to schedule an installation and training appointment!

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