The Difference Between Roaming and Mesh in Wireless Networks

Zyxel_Nami Posts: 480  Zyxel Employee
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edited November 2023 in Deployment & Optimization


Roaming and Mesh are two key concepts in wireless networking, often mentioned in the context of enhancing connectivity and coverage. While they are sometimes confused or used interchangeably, they serve distinct purposes.

  1. Mesh network: It is a network that involves multiple APs working together to create a single, continuous wireless network. In a mesh setup, some APs (Root APs) are connected directly to the router/gateway/switch, while others (Repeater APs) relay and extend the coverage wirelessly​​. This is particularly useful in situations where running Ethernet cables is not feasible.
  2. Roaming: It refers to the behavior of a wireless device (like a smartphone or laptop) to move from one access point (AP) to another within the same network without losing connection. Crucial for large environments, it ensures uninterrupted access. Roaming can occur with or without a Mesh network.

Requirement & Guideline:

For setting up a Mesh network:

Make sure your devices support Mesh, please refer to their user guide or the Nebula device function table to verify.

Then, follow the configuration steps via the following FAQs:

For Roaming:

  1. Ensure APs have overlapping coverage (15-20% overlap is recommended).
  2. Configure APs with the same SSID and security settings.

You may refer to the following FAQs for more details:


  • In a mesh network, throughput can decrease by half with each wireless 'hop' between APs​​.
  • The optimal distance and placement of APs for both roaming and mesh setups can vary based on obstacles and environmental conditions.

Zyxel Nami