Mesh Wifi Routers for Home Automation

After 2 years of living with Homekit, I realize that I need a Mesh WiFi Router for Home Automation.  This is not only for Homekit, but also for all of the connected devices and the security cameras around my house.  Here’s why you may need to do it too.

These are what’s connected to my Wifi :

HomeKit

  • Lights and Fans : 26 (Hue Bulbs, Light Switches, Smart Plugs)
  • Door Sensors : 4
  • Motion Sensors : 6
  • Photo Sensors : 3
  • Thermal Sensors : 3
  • Homepods : 3
  • Hue Switches : 6
  • AppleTV : 3

Also,

  • Desktop PC : 1
  • IP Cameras : 6
  • iPads, iPhones, Apple watches : 14
  • Smart TV : 1
  • Nintendo Switch : 1

At any 1 time there’s more than 75 devices and accessories that needs WiFi.  Some are more data hungry than others.  This resulted in constant “No Response” errors for light switches which was super annoying.  The 3 fix options would be to restart the router (which makes everyone in the family connected to the internet angry), get a Wireless extender, or hard reset the accessory and reconfigure it.  I wouldn’t recommend the third option because you may have an automation connected to the accessory which will require reprogramming.

Getting a Wireless Extender didn’t work out too well too.  It was good to extend the Wifi, but the device had to be linked to the extender, and also didn’t have as much Internet speed as I wanted.

Home Network - Before
The Green Area would represent the WiFi area. All devices reside in this area and are prone to disconnection.

So here’s what I settled with, the Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi Router with 3 Nodes or Wireless Access Points (AP).  It know it’s old, came out in 2017.  But from the reviews and problems people are facing with the other brands The Velop seems more stable even though the internet speed is slower.

Source : Linksys.com
Source : Linksys.com

It’s been on for about a week now and here’s a quick review on the good and bad of it.  I’ll update more on this after a month to see how it is.

Let’s go through how changing to the Mesh WiFi router makes a difference.

Home Network - After
This alone gives you an idea of not only the WiFi coverage, but also the fall back connectivity in case 1 Node fails.
The Good:
  • Its so easy to configure!  The setup screen was basic and simple.  Actually, a little too simple. I’ll explain the in the Bad section.
  • Having the 3 Nodes or AP around the house always means max bars and max wireless signals everywhere.  Fast Internet connection EVERYWHERE!
  • Now accessories outside of the house like my IP Cameras and external lights all have stronger WiFi connectivity.  This means faster and more responsive connection.  For example, the DLink connection to my DLink cameras connects almost instantly where in the past it would take about 10 to 15 seconds.
The Bad:
  • There not much you can do with the router in terms managing the connected devices details.  Setting a fixed IP address to a device makes the router reboot.  Weird.
  • It only has 2 network ports.  1 will have to be for the connection to the modem, so the other will have to be to a Linksys LGS108-AP 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet (which I got) or something similar.  This is for connection to the network ports to the Philips Hue Hub, my Desktop PC, the NAD, etc.  It’s not expensive, but it does mean that you need another device that requires power.
  • when you first start up the router, practically all devices will connect to the main router that is connected to the modem.  Which means that the Front Yard Camera connected to the Upstairs Node (which was about 30 feet away and through concrete walls), even though the Living Room Node was only 10 feet away.

But honestly I didn’t care because after a day, it kinda changed nodes and was connected to the Living Room Node at full signal! And maybe, the best fix for that would be to reset the Cameras after the Linksys Velop is fully up and running…. Will try that soon.

End of the day, my issues with having 1 Wifi Router has been fixed.  As it did before, with the constant dropping, is fixed by the IP Camera auto connecting to the closer Node.  YES!  And now I get to see my cameras fast and smooth streaming videos from anywhere in the World!

So what does a Mesh Wifi Routers for Home Automation fix?  It certainly made my whole setup more stable and way more responsive.  I will not go back to single Wifi routers.  In the meantime, stay tuned for an update on it’s stability soon.  Thanks for reading!