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How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

@jhpot
December 14, 2017, 8:00am EDT

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

You’re considering a mesh Wi-Fi network, because you’re sick of that one spot in your house not getting any reception. But does the convenience of these systems come with the same security as other routers?

We understand why you might wonder this: mesh networks include multiple devices, and they’re just as much smarthome devices as they are routers (and smart devices have come under a lot of scrutiny for security). In addition, such systems—like the Google Wi-Fi System or the Eero Home Wi-Fi System—tend to obscure advanced settings, which might affect the security settings you can toggle.

It leaves us wondering: how secure are mesh networks? Here’s a quick rundown.

Encryption Is Identical to Other Routers

If you’re worried about encryption, don’t be: mesh Wi-Fi systems use industry standard levels of protection. We’ve explained what Wi-Fi security settings mean, but the basic summary is you should be using WPA2 with AES security. That’s the exact specification major mesh Wi-Fi networks use at this point, and often they don’t even offer any alternatives. This is a good thing: there’s no reason to use anything but the most secure settings at this point.

A Centralized System With Automatic Updates

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

If you’re currently using a single router, you might be considering purchasing a Wi-Fi extender to reach more spots in your house, or even using a PC as a repeater. And while that’s not a bad idea, there’s one thing to consider: you’re now maintaining multiple different pieces of networking equipment.

This might be okay if you’re the sort of person who loves thinking about networks, resolving conflicts, and tweaking things. If you’re not, a mesh Wi-Fi network gives you multiple pieces of identical hardware that work well with each other, meaning you only need to configure one system.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

More importantly, mesh Wi-Fi systems install security updates automatically, and to all pieces of your network. This means security flaws, like the KRACK vulnerability revealed a few months ago, will be patched across you’re house without much intervention from you.

This is not the case if you’ve got a router and multiple extenders to maintain. You’d have to update the firmware on your router, then on each of your extenders, in order to lock things down. Mesh Wi-Fi networks are a lot easier to keep up-to-date, and keeping up to date is everything when it comes to security. Don’t overlook this.

Easy to Configure with Good Safety Features

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

Tech enthusiasts know how to access their router’s firmware: type the IP address and use the web interface to make changes. Most people, however, aren’t really aware that you can configure your router, and that means that they never do.

Modern mesh Wi-Fi systems change that with easy-to-use smartphone apps. These make it simple for everyday users to do things like change WPA access codes, and make sure updates are being installed. Some even have easy-to-use parental control features, which can make the web a safer place for kids.

All of this helps keep you secure, but traditional router setups mean most people’s interaction with their router is unplugging it and plugging it back in. Most people never touch their router’s settings; a simple user interface can change that, which is a great thing for security.

Of course, friendly user interfaces aren’t unique to mesh networks: many recent releases offer similar functionality. But mesh networks like Google Wi-Fi are the first to make managing multiple access points this easy, which is a big plus over managing a router and an extender. Combine this with generally secure default settings and you’ve got a more secure setup than most.

Some Advanced Features Won’t Be There

Of course, for advanced users, the opposite might be true, because some settings are missing entirely and most mesh systems. If you’re the sort of user who swears by advanced security steps, like whitelisting MAC addresses, you might not love the stripped down user interface provided by Eero, Google Home, and other mesh Wi-Fi providers.

It’s not relevant for the vast majority of users, but it’s worth knowing about before making an expensive purchase. And there are workarounds: you can use an Eero in Bridge Mode, for example, and still have access to advanced functionality provided by your current router. Our advice: do your research before making a purchase.

@craigelloyd
February 2, 2017, 6:40am EDT

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

If your home’s Wi-Fi network has dead spots, or doesn’t reach across your entire house, then you might have recently considered getting a mesh Wi-Fi system. They’ve skyrocketed in popularity, but what exactly is mesh Wi-Fi and how is it different than a traditional Wi-Fi extender?

What Is Mesh Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi extenders have long been a popular option when it came to solving Wi-Fi dead spots in homes, but with the introduction of mesh Wi-Fi systems over the last couple of years, many casual users have been eyeing these new systems instead, mostly due to how easy they are to set up and use.

Mesh Wi-Fi systems consist of two or more router-like devices that work together in order to blanket your house in Wi-Fi. Think of it as a system of multiple Wi-Fi extenders, but one that’s much easier to set up—and doesn’t require multiple network names or any other quirks that some extenders have. All it takes is plugging in the units and following some simple steps in the accompanying app. Once it’s all set up, managing your network is also really easy, as most of the advanced, complicated features are out of the user’s way and the big features that people want are easily accessible and simple to use.

Mesh networking has been around for a while now, but Eero was the first company to introduce a home mesh Wi-Fi system in the form that’s becoming popular today, and since then many companies have joined in on the fun, including networking giants like Netgear and Linksys.

How Is Mesh Wi-Fi Different Than Using an Extender?

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

One facet that many people don’t realize about mesh Wi-Fi systems is that they’re meant to replace your current router, rather than work alongside it. So while Wi-Fi extenders simply boost your main router’s Wi-Fi signal, mesh Wi-Fi systems actually create a whole new Wi-Fi network, separate from your current router’s Wi-Fi.

Plus, if you ever need to manage your mesh Wi-Fi network, you can do so through a simple smartphone app, rather than through your router’s complicated admin page. It makes it a lot easier to change settings and see a glimpse of your network overall.

Mesh networking also allows these multiple router-esque units to communicate with one another in any sequence they wish. Traditional Wi-Fi extenders can only communicate with your main router, and if you set up multiple Wi-Fi extenders, they usually can’t communicate with each other. However, mesh Wi-Fi units can talk to whichever unit they want in order to provide the best coverage possible to all of your devices, which is a huge benefit.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

For example, if you set up the first and second mesh unit in your house, you don’t have to worry about placing the third unit close to the first unit, since it can simply just get the signal from the second unit that you set up, allowing you to create a much larger range than you could with Wi-Fi extenders. Think of it as a relay race where runners hand off the baton to the next runner in order to advance down the track—mesh Wi-Fi systems work the same way.

Furthermore, if you were to open up a Wi-Fi analyzing app, you would notice that your mesh Wi-Fi network is actually transmitting separate Wi-Fi networks, one for each unit that you have set up. This is how traditional Wi-Fi extenders work as well, but with those you would often have to switch between networks manually (between Network and Network_EXT, for example). However, a mesh Wi-Fi network still acts as a single network, so your devices will switch between mesh units automatically.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

That said, some Wi-Fi extenders can do this as well (like the D-Link DAP-1520 linked above), but they still have a glaring downside: Since they use Wi-Fi to communicate with your router and your devices, it adds more stress to the Wi-Fi extender, resulting in slower speeds.

However, mesh networking devices like the Eero have multiple radios within each unit, so one radio can handle talking to other mesh units, and the other can be used to talk to your devices, effectively spreading out the responsibilities to avoid a bottleneck. So not only can you get a better Wi-Fi signal, but you also get the fastest speeds throughout your whole house without degradation.

The Downsides of Mesh Wi-Fi Systems

Mesh Wi-Fi seems like the second coming, and overall we’ve had great experiences with them. But there are definitely a couple of downsides that users should know about.

First off, mesh Wi-Fi systems can be much more expensive than what it would cost to use traditional Wi-Fi extenders. A set of three Eero units typically costs $500, and you can get additional single units for $200 each.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

You can certainly spend that much on a traditional router and some Wi-Fi extenders, but for the most part, if you’re capable of diving deep into the router settings to set up Wi-Fi extenders around your house, you can easily do it for less than $300 with decent networking gear. If you’re not that savvy with networking products, the extra cost of a mesh Wi-Fi system is completely worth it if it will save you from headaches and frustrations down the road.

Secondly, most mesh systems do not have all the advanced features that most normal routers offer. Granted, some mesh systems come with their own set of cool features, like guest mode, restricted access, and parental controls, although Luma’s content filtering isn’t all that great.

There’s a workaround to this, though: You can keep your current router and plug your mesh Wi-Fi system into an open ethernet port on the router itself, and put the mesh devices into bridge mode so it simply acts as a slightly-better system of Wi-Fi extenders.

In the end, mesh Wi-Fi isn’t for everyone. Advanced users who like to tinker with their network and enjoy having complete control probably wouldn’t want something like this, but your friends and family that aren’t super tech-savvy—and live in a house with a lot of dead spots—can easily benefit from mesh Wi-Fi’s easy setup and full-house coverage.

Published by BlueTeamLeader on December 27, 2018 December 27, 2018

Who cares about security….right? WRONG. These days, home networks are targeted just as much as business networks, if you become a hacking victim, it could financially ruin you.

So..You’re considering a mesh wifi network because you’re sick of that one spot in your house not getting any reception. But does the convenience of these systems come with the same security as other routers?

We understand why you might wonder this: mesh networks include multiple devices, and they’re just as much smarthome devices as they are routers (and smart devices have come under a lot of scrutiny for security). In addition, such systems—like the Google Wi-Fi Systemor the Eero Home Wi-Fi System—tend to obscure advanced settings, which might affect the security settings you can toggle.

It leaves us wondering: how secure are mesh networks? Here’s a quick rundown.

Encryption Is Identical to Other Routers

If you’re worried about encryption, don’t be: mesh Wi-Fi systems use industry standard levels of protection. We’ve explained what wifi security meanst, but the basic summary is you should be using WPA2 with AES security. That’s the exact specification major mesh Wi-Fi networks use at this point, and often they don’t even offer any alternatives. This is a good thing: there’s no reason to use anything but the most secure settings at this point.

A Centralized System With Automatic Updates

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

If you’re currently using a single router, you might be considering purchasing a Wi-Fi extender to reach more spots in your house, or even using a PC as a repeater. And while that’s not a bad idea, there’s one thing to consider: you’re now maintaining multiple different pieces of networking equipment.

This might be okay if you’re the sort of person who loves thinking about networks, resolving conflicts, and tweaking things. If you’re not, a mesh Wi-Fi network gives you multiple pieces of identical hardware that work well with each other, meaning you only need to configure one system.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

More importantly, mesh Wi-Fi systems install security updates automatically, and to all pieces of your network. This means security flaws, like the KRACK vulnerability revealed a few months ago, will be patched across you’re house without much intervention from you.

This is not the case if you’ve got a router and multiple extenders to maintain. You’d have to update the firmware on your router, then on each of your extenders, in order to lock things down. Mesh Wi-Fi networks are a lot easier to keep up-to-date, and keeping up to date is everything when it comes to security. Don’t overlook this.

Easy to Configure with Good Safety Features

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

Tech enthusiasts know how to access their router’s firmware: type the IP address and use the web interface to make changes. Most people, however, aren’t really aware that you canconfigure your router, and that means that they never do.

Modern mesh Wi-Fi systems change that with easy-to-use smartphone apps. These make it simple for everyday users to do things like change WPA access codes, and make sure updates are being installed. Some even have easy-to-use parental control features, which can make the web a safer place for kids.

All of this helps keep you secure, but traditional router setups mean most people’s interaction with their router is unplugging it and plugging it back in. Most people never touch their router’s settings; a simple user interface can change that, which is a great thing for security.

Of course, friendly user interfaces aren’t unique to mesh networks: many recent releases offer similar functionality. But mesh networks like Google Wi-Fi are the first to make managing multiple access points this easy, which is a big plus over managing a router and an extender. Combine this with generally secure default settings and you’ve got a more secure setup than most.

Some Advanced Features Won’t Be There

Of course, for advanced users, the opposite might be true, because some settings are missing entirely and most mesh systems. If you’re the sort of user who swears by advanced security steps, like whitelisting MAC addresses, you might not love the stripped down user interface provided by Eero, Google Home, and other mesh Wi-Fi providers.

It’s not relevant for the vast majority of users, but it’s worth knowing about before making an expensive purchase. And there are workarounds: you can use an Eero in Bridge Mode, for example, and still have access to advanced functionality provided by your current router. Our advice: do your research before making a purchase.

Tips about Wi-Fi security because wireless is inherently less secure

Contributing Writer, Network World |

Wi-Fi is one entry-point hackers can use to get into your network without setting foot inside your building because wireless is much more open to eavesdroppers than wired networks, which means you have to be more diligent about security.

But there’s a lot more to Wi-Fi security than just setting a simple password. Investing time in learning about and applying enhanced security measures can go a long way toward better protecting your network. Here are six tips to betters secure your Wi-Fi network.

Use an inconspicuous network name (SSID)

The service set identifier (SSID) is one of the most basic Wi-Fi network settings. Though it doesn’t seem like the network name could compromise security, it certainly can. Using a too common of a SSID, like “wireless” or the vendor’s default name, can make it easier for someone to crack the personal mode of WPA or WPA2 security. This is because the encryption algorithm incorporates the SSID, and password cracking dictionaries used by hackers are preloaded with common and default SSIDs. Using one of those just makes the hacker’s job easier.

(As we discuss later, this vulnerability doesn’t apply to networks using the enterprise mode of WPA or WPA2 security, one of the many benefits of using the enterprise mode.)

Name your network wisely – it something generic but not too common and without revealing the location.

Although it might make sense to name the SSID something easily identifiable, like the company name, address, or suite number, that might not be the best idea either. This is especially true if the network is in a shared building or in close proximity to other buildings or networks. If hackers drive by a congested area and see a dozen different Wi-Fi networks pop-up, they would likely target the one easiest to identify, which could help them understand what they might gain by hacking it. They might also choose one that’s easier to find in a congested area.

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How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

The repeal of Obama-era net neutrality laws has folks looking for ways to connect to the internet other than relying on the nation’s powerful service providers.

One of these options is “mesh networks.”

Mesh networks already exist, but in different forms. Here, we’ll shed light on the two types of mesh networks, a connectivity option that is little-used in most home environments. Interest in mesh networks has been growing since the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality.

First, what’s a mesh network?

When you google search for “mesh networks,” the results will be options to buy some curiously shaped WiFi pods from a variety of companies. They come in all shapes and sizes: cylindrical, hexagonal, and flat squares.

This is the first type of mesh network, which you can buy for your house. Placing these pods around a home or office can boost WiFi service everywhere — so there are no dead spots.

And this home set-up provides a good, tangible idea for the greater concept of mesh networks:

When learning about mesh networks, you’ll come across the word “node.” Mesh networks are an array of nodes that communicate with one another. The word “node” is an unhelpful piece of jargon, but it simply means a connection point.

Here, each WiFi pod serves as a connection point, which spreads the signal from one pod to the next (a of nodes). It can be helpful to think of these nodes like the systems of telecommunication satellites currently orbiting above Earth, strategically spaced apart to send and receive signals all around the globe.

This spreading signal is the crucial difference between mesh networks and the traditional WiFi that exists in most home environments. Traditional networks use a single router (those devices with little antennae on top) to spread a WiFi signal. But if you’re too far from a router, the connection might not reach you.

In contrast, WiFi mesh networks — such as Google’s WiFi pods — are meant to be placed around the home, on top of nightstands and furniture, to relay the WiFi from your modem/head node.

How are people using mesh networks as “another way” to get online?

This is the second way mesh networks can be used. It’s a way to get internet without relying upon major internet service providers, or ISPs, like Verizon and Comcast to connect you through their networks.

Some folks are interested in this option because — with the repeal of net neutrality rules — telecoms can now potentially favor certain types of data or information, opening a pandora’s box of ways for corporations to begin manipulating how you use the internet.

In reaction, some private citizens are taking it upon themselves to offer “community-owned networks.” These certainly aren’t available everywhere, but could very well become more common.

An existing example — with growing community numbers — is NYC Mesh, in New York City. The network has it’s own “nodes” spread around the city. This network does not rely upon the nation’s dominant internet service providers for internet, but rents data from a local data center (such as in downtown Manhattan) and then uses rooftop antennas (the nodes) to spread internet around.

This data, notes NYC Mesh, is not monitored nor controlled by any ISP.

Are there any big, nation-wide mesh networks anywhere?

Yes, in Spain. This network is called Guifi. According to NYC Mesh, this network “covers large parts of the country.”

This is achieved by having “a backbone of many long-distance WiFi connections and even their own community fiber cables.

FreeMesh is an affordable, performant, privacy-respecting mesh system that installs in less than 10 minutes.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

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The FreeMesh system promises to bring fully open source mesh networking to the masses. I recently had a chance to test it; it installed quickly, and the performance was great—especially for the price.

Why mesh and open source?

The reason to use open source is simple: privacy. With FreeMesh, your data is your own. It doesn’t track or collect data. Don’t trust it? You can easily check—it’s open source, after all! With some other popular mesh solutions, say those provided by very large tech conglomerates, would you trust them with your data?

Another important factor: updates. FreeMesh says it is committed to pushing out security and performance updates regularly. What about 10 years from now? With an open source solution, you are free to update the product for as long as you want.

So why mesh? In a mesh network, multiple wireless routers work together to broadcast a single, very large wireless network. Each router in a mesh network intelligently communicates with the other(s) to provide the best “path” for your data. The following images from FreeMesh’s website highlight the difference between using a single wireless router and a mesh network. The red network represents a single wireless router, and the green is a mesh network.

singlerouternetwork.png

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

meshnetwork.png

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

Get the equipment

To get started with FreeMesh, order a kit. Two kits are available: standard and 4G LTE.

The 4G LTE kit, as the name suggests, supports cellular data connections. This feature is a rarity in the consumer networking space, and it will be very useful to some folks. You can set up a portable mesh network anywhere with power and cell service with full fast-failover capability.

The FreeMesh kits come with a primary router and two nodes. The router and nodes use 802.11ac, 802.11r, and 802.11s standards. The included firmware runs a customized version of OpenWrt, a Linux distro for embedded devices.

The FreeMesh router has some really good specs:

  • CPU: Dual-core 880MHz MediaTek MT7621AT (two cores/four threads!)
  • RAM: DDR3 512MB
  • Interfaces: 1x GbE WAN, 4x GbE LAN, 1x USB 2.0 ports, 1x microSD card slot, 1x SIM slot
  • Antenna: 2x 5dBi 2.4GHz, 2x 5dBi 5GHz, 2x 3dBi 3G/4G (built-in)
  • 4G LTE modem: LTE category 4 module, 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink

Setup

Setup is easy, and FreeMesh’s README offers simple instructions and diagrams. Start by setting up the primary router first. Then follow these simple steps:

    Connect the first node (blue WAN port) to the primary router (yellow LAN port).

connecttorouter.png

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

setupcomplete.png

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

That’s it! There is no manual setup required for the nodes; you simply plug them into the primary router, and it does the rest. You can add more nodes the same way; just repeat the steps above.

Features

Out of the box, FreeMesh runs a combination of OpenWRT and LuCI. It has all the features you’d expect from a router. Want to install new features or packages? SSH in and start hacking!

freemeshrealtimeload.png

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

freemeshwirelessoverview.png

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

openwrt.png

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

Performance

After setting up the FreeMesh system, I moved the nodes to various places around my house. I used iPerf to test the bandwidth and was getting around 150Mbps. WiFi can be affected by any number of environmental variables, so your mileage may vary. Distance between the nodes and the primary router also plays a large factor in bandwidth.

However, the real advantage of a mesh network isn’t its top-end speed but much better average speed across a space. Even at the far reaches of my home, I was still able to stream videos and work without interruption. I was even able to work in my backyard. I simply repositioned one of the nodes in front of a window before heading outside.

Conclusion

FreeMesh is really compelling; it offers performance, privacy, and price, all in a simple, open source package.

In my experience, setup is a breeze, and it is more than fast enough. The range is excellent and far exceeds any single-router setup. You are free to hack and customize your FreeMesh setup, but I didn’t feel the need to. It has everything I need out of the box.

If you are looking for an affordable, performant, privacy-respecting mesh system that installs in less than 10 minutes, you might want to consider FreeMesh.

When setting up your Ring Alarm system, it’s important to understand how your devices communicate with one another so you can set up your Alarm components so they can use the strongest signal possible. This article will help you understand how your Alarm devices communicate.

What is Z-Wave?

Z-Wave is a wireless communication protocol that your Ring Alarm devices use to speak to the Base Station.

What frequencies does Z-Wave use in the United States and is it different from wifi?

Yes, Z-Wave uses 908.4Mhz, 916Mhz and wifi uses 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. (For more information on Z-Wave and its protocols please visit: https://z-wavealliance.org/ .)

Traditional “hub-and-spoke” networks include one central hub or access point in which all devices are connected. You are likely familiar with this network type already, an example is if you have 1 router (hub) and your wireless devices (spokes) connect to that router. Z-Wave devices create what is called a “mesh network.” Unlike a traditional “hub-and-spoke” network where each device only communicates with a central hub (access point), Z-Wave devices can communicate with each other in addition to the central hub. That means that a network of Z-Wave devices will create a net-like “mesh” that has a number of advantages over “hub-and-spoke” networks:

  • Z-Wave networks usually have a greater range than traditional hub-and-spoke arrangements. An Alarm Base Station has a range of about 250 feet on an unobstructed path. See our wireless range guide here for improving range.
  • Because devices can communicate with each other over multiple paths, their already long range can be extended out even further.
  • Mesh Networks are more robust than hub-and-spoke arrangements because signals can be re-routed if one of the connections is lost.

NOTE: When setting up a Z-Wave mesh network, the devices that act as extenders or “nodes” of the mesh are only those that plug into a wall. Battery-operated devices do not generate enough power to act as a mesh node. In the case of the basic devices that come with your Alarm system, it means that your Base Station and Range Extenders will act as mesh “nodes” while your window/door sensors won’t extend the Z-Wave signal.

More is Better

Another consideration when setting up a Z-Wave mesh network is all Z-Wave devices are compatible with one another and that more repeating nodes may strengthen your network. If you’re having a problem with a device reaching your Base Station, you can always use a Z-Wave range extender plugged in between the device and the Base Station to help it communicate.

Remember, when it comes to your mesh network, the more devices you have connected, the stronger your network becomes.

The best WiFi. Everywhere.

The Orbi WiFi 6 Whole Home Mesh System gives you the capacity to stream, surf, work and learn from home, and do more on your devices than ever before, all at once. Orbi ensures that all your devices are connected to great WiFi, no matter where they are in the home.

Capacity. Speed. Efficiency.

Upgrade your WiFi to first class.

With Orbi WiFi 6, you get up to 4X more device capacity than WiFi 5, so you can connect and stream on all your devices without affecting speed or reliability.

The fastest WiFi ever.

Orbi WiFi 6 handles traffic better, so you can stream in ultra-HD 4K without being slowed down by your smart lightbulbs, speakers, or baby monitor. It’s like driving on a sixteen-lane superhighway instead of a congested four-lane highway.

Give those batteries a breather.

Nobody likes charging their batteries any more than they need to. Orbi WiFi 6 improves your network’s efficiency by up to 40 percent, allowing you to save battery across all your WiFi 6 devices.

WiFi for the latest smart devices.

Your newest smartphones and laptops are likely compatible with WiFi 6. By upgrading to WiFi 6, you can connect your smart devices to the best WiFi available to take advantage of the highest performance and the fastest speeds.

Connect to WiFi with peace of mind

NETGEAR Armor is a cybersecurity solution that protects your network and keeps your private data safe, both at home and on the go. Protect an unlimited number of devices, including smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, and even security cameras and smart thermometers, from threats before they strike. Select NETGEAR WiFi solutions come with NETGEAR Armor built-in so you can stream, game, video call, and more with complete peace of mind. Learn more about NETGEAR Armor here.

Never Worry About WiFi Again.

More speed. More coverage. Orbi WiFi 6 uses NETGEAR’s patented tri-band mesh technology with a dedicated backhaul to provide the ultimate smart home experience with seamless roaming.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

Better on mobile.

With the NETGEAR Orbi app, you can install your mesh system in a few steps – just connect your mobile device to the router network and the app will walk you through the rest. When you’re set up, you can use the dashboard to pause internet on your connected devices, run an internet speed test, set up Smart Parental Controls, and much more.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

How secure are mesh wi-fi networksis a big deal.

  • 6 is up to 12 streams… at once.
  • 6 is 4X more capacity.
  • 6 is a 40% increase in data throughput.
  • 6 is a longer battery life for your devices.
  • 6 is a proper home for all smart devices.
  • 6 is a welcome mat to 8k streaming.
  • 6 is 100% backwards compatible.
  • 6 is the biggest revolution in WiFi, ever.

A world leader in WiFi.

When it comes to WiFi, NETGEAR has been an industry leader for over 20 years. We pride ourselves on providing the most innovative, reliable, and cutting-edge networking solutions possible. Rest assured that NETGEAR’s suite of WiFi 6 solutions gives you access to the most advanced WiFi out there.

How secure are mesh wi-fi networks

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Put simply, if your router is compromised, the security of ALL of your devices that use the router is in danger. How can you stay safe?

We generally focus so much of our undying attention on our phones, tablets, and laptops that we really give little other than a passing thought to our Wi-Fi routers.

In this day and age, this can be outright dangerous. Yes, in case if you’re still wondering, your router can indeed be hacked, which can lead to a host of unfortunate situations like identity theft or the spread of vicious malware. Your network can also be used to attack other networks.

Since we now have a better understanding that these types of threats and breaches are out there, it is best to have a sensible plan of action to protect yourself. However, many people still do not put forth the necessary effort to safeguard their routers from lurking hackers.

Put simply, if your router is compromised, the security of ALL of your devices that use the router is in danger.

One particular study conducted by the security company Avast discovered that about 80 percent of Americans do not properly secure their routers.

Do keep in mind that no router is 100-percent hack-proof. But there are certain steps one can take to minimize such threats. First off, you should always do your homework before settling on a particular router, because some models do possess better inherent protections against hackers.

If you know that you’re the forgetful type, you should definitely purchase a router that provides automatic updating. In some instances, if you don’t have the latest security or firmware updates downloaded, your router can be a relatively easy target for hackers, who are always on the lookout for weaknesses to exploit. You can always check the manufacturer’s website if you aren’t sure you have the latest updates.

Some of the easier common-sense steps to take are to have a strong password and to reboot the device once in a while. Try to pick a password that can’t be guessed easily. It doesn’t even have to be a real word, and try to mix in various capital letters, symbols and numbers, which will make it that much more difficult to crack. Rebooting your router has shown that it can disrupt malware and help identify malware-infected devices.

Finally, take the time to disable remote administration or management. This magical function gives you the ability to access and use your computer from another location. Unfortunately, this also makes it easier for hackers to manipulate your computer in real-time.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two cats.

It’s not all that unusual for military technology to eventually trickle down to the consumer level. While it’s taken a few decades, a networking technology designed for the battlefield is now increasingly common in enterprises and in your home.

Most people who think about networks probably envision a hub-and-spoke topology. A device (say, your laptop) talks to a central hub. If the network traffic calls for it, the hub may talk to another central hub that has another bunch of devices (maybe a server) hanging off it. It’s a hierarchical structure.

Hub-and-spoke is how a phone network works, too. To be ridiculously simplistic, your phone talks to a central office. The central office either routes your call to another phone connected to that central office or it sends the call to a phone that’s linked to a different central office.

This network structure has become so commonplace that it feels like an immutable law of nature. Except that’s not necessarily the case.

From hub to mesh

As far as computing technology goes, hub-and-spoke networks arrived with Ethernet in the mid-1970s. Before that, when mainframe and minicomputers roamed the earth, computers were networked using a ring topology, not unlike the way Christmas tree lights are wired.

And now, an increasing number of wireless networks are adopting networks based on a more efficient mesh topology.

The problem with conventional hub-and-spoke Wi-Fi networks is that the hubs are dumb. They only know about the devices that are connected to them and the one hub upstream from them. Moreover, the relationship between hubs and devices is a little needy. Once a device and a hub connect to each other, they try to stay together even if a better connection becomes available. Neither the device nor the hub knows something better is out there until it’s forced to look. The result can be devices and networks that benchmark fine but, in production, operate slowly because they’re not using the most efficient connections.

Mesh networks operate in a different way. Mesh hubs are aware of all other mesh hubs within radio range, which lets them manage traffic in a way conventional Wi-Fi networks can’t. Rather than creating a hierarchy of hubs, mesh networking creates a self-managing web of connectivity. As your laptop or cell phone moves around a network, the mesh network can tell if you’d be better off connected to a different hub with less congestion or a stronger signal, and it routes your traffic accordingly. When a mesh hub fails, other nodes may take over the traffic, where a hub-and-spoke network would leave devices high and dry.

A mesh network requires a much higher level of intelligence than does a classic Wi-Fi network. It also needs out-of-band signaling between the nodes, which classic Wi-Fi networks don’t require. That out-of-band signaling is a strength of mesh networks, as it allows the entire network to be aware of the network’s status and make necessary adjustments.

The downside? Because those signaling protocols are propriety to each vendor, it means gear does not interoperate. The interoperability problem is hardly news. The IEEE has been working on an interoperability standard—802.11s—since 2004. It’s not clear when the standard will come up for a vote, let alone when the standard might be adopted.

The theory and technology behind mesh networks is not new. First used in military applications—where reliability, simplicity, deployment speed, and robustness are vital—and later by first responders, mesh networks have become common in sports arenas and large public areas where flexibility and ease of maintenance are key.

Wi-Fi mesh network choices

About a dozen consumer-grade mesh Wi-Fi systems are on the market. They typically come in sets of two or three nodes, which the vendors claim can provide enough coverage for a house as large as 6,000 square feet. But the fact that they come in sets is a giveaway to the lock-in problem. You can’t mix, say, Linksys Velop nodes with D-Link or Google nodes, despite the fact they’re all running 802.11ac. The signaling protocols are different—and proprietary.

Similarly, there are many vendors of enterprise mesh networking gear— Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, being a leader in the field— with typical deployments in stadiums or other large outdoor public spaces. Metro-area networks deployed in smart cities use large deployments of mesh networking. If you use public Wi-Fi, you’re connecting to a mesh network.

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The intelligence built into mesh networks helps with their setup and maintenance. Fixing dead spots with conventional Wi-Fi requires a fair amount of guesswork about the placement of ra n ge extenders or access points. When coverage is thin, a mesh network scheme can explicitly inform a device—a smartphone, for instance—and suggest where a new node would be helpful. There are certainly specialized tools to do that with conventional Wi-Fi, but mesh nodes make it easier.

One technical criticism of mesh networks is that throughput deteriorates with each hop through the mesh. In a high-bandwidth Wi-Fi environment like 802.11ac (with speeds as high as 1.3 Mbps), the throughput loss is acceptable if you can keep the number of jumps between the device and gateway to three. Conversely, the bandwidth needs of home automation in ANT Blaze, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), or Zigbee networks are minimal, so throughput losses don’t matter all that much.

Stealth meshes

Sonos , the connected speaker company, uses mesh networking in its products. A Sonos network uses a home Wi-Fi network, but each speaker is a node that connects to every other speaker with mesh technology. That allows one-touch setup (the intelligence happens within the mesh network) and lets customers group together speakers, which can be placed even in Wi-Fi dead spots, as the mesh network can get to places that a conventional Wi-Fi access point might not reach.

Also, ANT networks use a mesh topology. ANT, a technology owned by Garmin, is typically used for heart-rate monitors. But it can also be used for home automation. ANT nodes don’t require much in the way of power or bandwidth but can extend to hundreds of devices over a large physical footprint. A new version of ANT—ANT Blaze—has been adopted by office furniture maker Herman Miller for a line of smart furniture. ANT Blaze claims the ability to scale to 500 nodes.

For its part, BLE also now supports a mesh topology, particularly for Internet of Things applications. Similarly, Zigbee and Thread-based smart home devices set up and use mesh networks that require no human intervention.

The ill-fated One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project was also built around mesh networking. Every machine was capable of automatically networking with every other nearly OLPC laptop, allowing students to work collaboratively.

Making a mesh of it

Mesh networks show lots of advantages over older topologies, whether you’re looking for rapid deployment, robust infrastructure, or just the ability to serve bandwidth to thousands of people moving around your coverage area. More and more mesh networks are around you—at work, when you’re out and about, and when you play around with smart homes. The flexibility allowed by their topology and intelligence make them an easy choice for many types of corporate networking and home applications.