So if you are following home networking trends you will notice things like the Netgear Orbi, Google Wifi, Luma, eero and others hitting the market as “mesh” home networks. This is different from the old/current extenders you may be using. With extenders you often have to give the new extender a different Wifi name like currentname-EXT. The extender also often cuts the available bandwidth it is providing in half because it needs to provide the band to the client and send the data to the core Wifi over the same band. Not so with the Orbi. The Orbi uses one of the three bands as a dedicated wireless band for the router and the satellite to communicate. It uses separate bands from each Orbi device to provide access to the clients. So the client gets bandwidth that is not a shared band for transmission back to the router which gives more bandwidth to the client. It also does not need a new network SSID. The router and satellite both have the same SSID and the system decides which band and frequency is best for the client when it connects and when and if the client moves about the house.
So enough about Orbi. Why is this titled “Apple Mesh Wireless”? Well the Orbi got me thinking. And since Apple will not take product suggestions and Tim Cook doesn’t answer my emails I figured post a blog on the idea and see if anyone agrees with me and maybe someone can whisper in Tim’s ear.
I have the new Apple TV which is central to my house and connected to the biggest TV in the house. I have upgraded over the years and also bought and handed down the older Apple TVs to the kids rooms and even the master bedroom. I pretty much have an Apple TV of some kind in every room of the house except my office. The kids love them because they can connect to my main iMac and stream iTunes shared movies whenever they want. Over the years I have tried all sorts of wireless devices for the home including versions of the Apple Airport.
Rumor is that Apple is going to exit the networking market. I think that would be a bad idea. I think Apple needs a mesh solution and the way to do it is right in front of them already. If they really want the Apple TV to be the center of the home and own the living room, why not own the network with it? Start with the Apple Airport/Time Machine and make it the starter unit for the kit. Upgrading the software and changing/adding a single band to communicate with other mesh receivers in the house is a needed change for this idea. Now change the Apple TVs (and this might be achievable through just software for the existing ones) to act as mesh satellites. So everywhere you have an Apple TV you have an access point in the mesh network extending the mesh blanket further into the house. Add the software intelligence similar to the Netgear Orbi or Google Wifi, whereas the satellites share a single SSID and software decides which access point to connect you with and you have a mesh. This puts more Wifi coverage in the home and encourages Apple TV sales for rooms besides the main room. Apple also gains a better home network solution and more content revenue streams.
Knowing Apple they will just make it a new version of the Apple Airport. But like the Apple of Steve’s time I hope they do but add “..one more thing” and say “and with the new Airports your existing Apple TVs are also mesh satellites with a simple software upgrade, available today.”
Tim if you see this and Jony and team were not already working on it. Well, give me a call and I would love to talk about it with you.