Almost everything in your home can be controlled through automation, and mesh networks add extra security and reliability to your system.
So much happens behind the scenes with automated home systems, and it can take extra attention to make sure everything is running smoothly. After all, how bad would it be if your home security system went down due to a network outage. This is not only inconvenient, but also potentially dangerous.
Improved reliability is one of the many why mesh networking is recommended for home automation systems. This type of networking offers a level of stability that you cannot achieve with conventional networks. Your home remains secure and fully under your control at all times.
What is a mesh network?
Before we dive into the benefits of mesh networking, it's important to understand what a mesh network actually is and how it works. All networks consist of three parts: a gateway, a router, and a client.
The gateway is the access point to your Internet. In most homes, this is usually the router or modem; whatever device connected to the wired connection enters your home.
While the main router or modem acts as a gateway, additional routers can be used throughout the home to extend the signal or provide alternate routes for network signal transmission (keys in mesh networks). No matter how many you have, a router acts as an access point for devices that connect to your internet or home network.
In home network terms, a client is any device that acts as the final signal destination. Phones, computers, smart switches, thermostats, security systems or any other device that connects to the network.
In a traditional network, the modem / router acts as the main gateway and access point for all clients. If that router goes down, the whole network goes down too. Even if you have additional nodes (addresses on the network), this only creates more opportunities for network failure.
Mesh networks differ in that all network devices are connected to each other. Each device sends a signal to all devices in the home network. Because they are interconnected, the signal is simply redirected to another node if one point in the system fails. It looks more like a web than a single straight path.
Advantages of mesh networks
Imagine you were back in high school and between classes. The hallways are crowded with students heading in different directions, many of which intersect with the direct route you need to take to get to the next class. Suddenly a fight breaks out involving six guys, the school janitor and a broken trash can. Traffic in the hallways comes to a standstill until the fight can be stopped, leaving you late for class and at the mercy of your teacher.
Now let's change the scenario. Suppose the whole high school is laid out like a grid, with hallways going in all directions. There is always the shortest and most direct route from A to B - but if that route is congested for some reason, there are other options. This is the main advantage of a mesh network. Because everything is connected, one point can fail without disrupting the rest of the system. Your devices simply reconnect to nearby nodes.
Going back to the high school analogy, a grid layout not only allows you to avoid major blockages in your route, but also avoids delays. Similarly, a mesh network allows signals to travel the fastest possible paths through the system, rather than paths blocked by data.
Application of mesh networks in home automation
Your home automation system includes various components, and it's important to ensure everything works as it should, even if one point in the network fails.
A mesh network is ideal for this type of situation, which is common in large homes or offices. Every device communicates with every other device, so signals always have a path to follow. This ensures that everything works as it should at all times.