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Can You Mix and Match Mesh Network Hardware?

Can You Mix and Match Mesh Network Hardware?
Nest

Mesh networks are an increasingly popular solution to the Wi-Fi demands of modern homes. You might be curious if you can mix and match different hardware devices— either different models from the same manufacturer or even devices from different manufacturers. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Mix and Match?

Why even consider mixing and matching? Maybe you found a good sale, a friend is upgrading and willing to hand-me-down some network gear to you, or you just want to extend coverage a little and would like to buy some less expensive hardware to get the job done. Or, perhaps, your older system has some software features, like easy-to-use parental controls, you don’t want to lose.

Whatever motivated you to consider the project, let’s dig into when mixing and matching mesh network hardware works, when it doesn’t, and the tradeoffs you’ll make along the way.

Same Manufacturer Mixing Is Usually Pretty Smooth

A network map, showing different TP-Link Deco units working together.
TP-Link

When it comes to mixing and matching hardware produced by the same manufacturer, you’re generally pretty safe, although it’s worth double-checking the fine print on the manufacturer’s website before making any purchases.

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All eero hardware is completely backward-compatible, for example, as is Google Nest WiFi gear. The popular Deco lineup from TP-Link is also backward compatible.

When mixing and matching hardware from the same manufacturer there are a few things to keep in mind to make the experience much smoother.

First, double-check if there are any specific downsides to mixing and matching hardware by checking the support documentation for your manufacturer of choice.

Although it’s increasingly less of an issue sometimes you’ll run into a situation where keeping older hardware as part of the setup leads to some of the…

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