This week on the podcast our IoT Podcast Hotline received a voicemail from Jeff. He has a Google WiFi mesh network system in his home and wants to extend that network outdoors. Unfortunately, this can’t be done with Google WiFi products for two reasons.
First, Google WiFi products aren’t rated for outdoor usage and have no protection from rain and other elements. Second, while there are competing mesh networking products that do have outdoor network extenders, none of them use the relatively new EasyMesh standard. EasyMesh is a way for mesh networking products from different hardware makers to work together as a single mesh network.
We never feel good about recommending a total platform switch for those who are heavily invested in one, but we think the best solution on the consumer market is from Netgear. Its Orbi system, for example, does offer an outdoor mesh networking extender that the company says will cover up to 2,500 square feet outside the home. The problem is without EasyMesh support, this $350 extender doesn’t work with Google WiFi, so that means replacing Google’s router and access points with Netgear Orbi units. The router alone costs $250, so a full swap will cost around $600 at a minimum.
There are some outdoor network extenders on the market that will work with any system, but they’re not actually a mesh networking solution. Instead, these will create a separate network for your devices to connect to, which essentially defeats the purpose of having a mesh network in the first place. My advice to Jeff and anyone else with a similar desire for outdoor networking is to place an access point nearest the outdoor area you want wireless coverage and see if that do the trick. It’s either that or be prepared to spend more money.
To hear Jeff’s question in full and our discussion about the options, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: