Enterprise Mesh WiFi Explained

November 19, 2020

For medium to large-size enterprise businesses, wireless connectivity demands can quickly outpace solutions that work fine for smaller businesses. Running cords to every single corner of the business can be expensive, impractical, or even impossible, necessitating a different type of solution. A small-scale WiFi device can still struggle with dead spots, connectivity, and speed, but a properly configured enterprise mesh WiFi solution can help deal with these problems.

What is Enterprise Mesh WiFi?

An enterprise mesh WiFi network involves taking a typical AP wired-in hardware device, and expanding the coverage of that WiFi network by pairing the wired device with smaller, wireless AP devices, also known as nodes. The use of wireless nodes in a mesh network is also superb at providing WiFi coverage in spots that are considered to be “hard to reach places.”

What are the Benefits of Mesh WiFi?

The most immediate benefits that enterprise venues will realize when implementing a mesh WiFi network are consistency and simplicity. Extending WiFi coverage with properly integrated mesh WiFi tools will increase coverage, eliminate dead spots, and improve connectivity. Nodes in a mesh WiFi set up are designed to be configured to an already existing network. This allows for a seamless implementation and configuration process for enterprise venues looking to increase the coverage of their WiFi network.

The biggest single benefit of a mesh WiFi network is, of course, the ability to extend WiFi coverage to areas that can’t be wired in the first place, but beyond that, mesh WiFi has substantial value in being functional and relatively easy to implement.

Why Mesh WiFi Over a Range Extender?

A WiFi extender device works differently from a mesh network because it repeats (or mimics) the original WiFi signal being broadcasted to create a new WiFi signal. Because of this operating procedure, WiFi extenders will need to broadcast a WiFi network name different from the one created at the original AP device. If you have ever noticed two identical WiFi network names before except one with “_EXT” at the end, it is likely you have come across a network utilizing a WiFi extender.

The nodes used in a mesh WiFi network do not mimic or replicate the WiFi signal being broadcasted from the original AP device. Rather, the nodes work in conjunction with the original AP to create the expanded WiFi coverage. By sticking with the original WiFi network to expand the coverage, venues will find a simpler setup process when choosing a mesh network over a WiFi extender — not to mention that WiFi signals are significantly degraded once the signal is “hopped” to an extender.

What Venues Should Utilize a Mesh WiFi Network?

Any venue that needs additional wireless coverage in areas that are hard to wire needs enterprise mesh WiFi. Even in areas where it is technically possible to run wires to where you need them, price, complexity, and other considerations of the physical space make enterprise mesh WiFi a worthwhile consideration. While this need could apply to plethora of businesses, here are some examples to give you an idea where mesh WiFi will prove to be instantly useful:

  • Stadiums and arenas that want to provide WiFi to a large audience or fan base
  • Conference and event centers that want want to offer reliable WiFi to attendees and exhibitors
  • Large office buildings to provide fast and reliable WiFi to the entire workforce
  • Hotel and lodging venues that want WiFi coverage to cover all guest rooms as well as additional amenities (dining area, hotel pool, etc.)

Smaller-size venues such as restaurants or coffee shops wouldn’t usually be in desperate need of a mesh network. However, if there are any that are experiencing WiFi dead zones in their establishment, a mesh network would help to alleviate the problem.

Which Mesh WiFi Brand Should I Choose?

While there are plenty of reliable mesh WiFi networks on the market, we recommend a Cisco Meraki mesh WiFi solution. Every Cisco Meraki AP comes with auto-mesh networking capabilities so venues that are ready to implement a mesh network with their Meraki device can do so in a matter of minutes.

Meraki devices optimize the mesh network process by creating a self-healing network that is resilient to cable and switch failures.

Cisco Meraki’s elite mesh routing guarantees enterprise venues a high level of mesh network performance with the help of wireless mesh APs that work together in real time to optimize overall capacity and client throughput. No matter the venue, no matter the size of the network needed, Cisco Meraki is ready to get the job done.