Mesh networking simply refers to a wireless distributed system. In other words, all mesh nodes can cooperate and contribute to the distribution of data in a network. This is particularly useful in solving the problems of dead spots in homes. It gives homes the ability to have multiple access points (nodes), and these access points can cooperate to expand Wi-Fi coverage.
This video from Trilliant, a networking and communications provider in the US, sums up the idea of mesh networks in about a minute:-
You might consider one if you experience Wi-Fi dead zones at home. The single best thing about mesh networks is that it broadcasts a single SSID and promises seamless switching between the nodes. Simply put, you shouldn’t experience any drops in connection as you move around your home.
It's faster and more flexible because it uses Wi-Fi technology. But beyond that, let's look at the problem of range extenders and powerline adapters.
A true mesh networking system is one where all the nodes in the mesh network can communicate to each other and that there isn’t a central main router that handles all communications between nodes.
Greater flexibility in deployment, which is useful if you need to expand Wi-Fi coverage over a larger area by adding more networking nodes. True mesh networking systems can also be daisy-chained, which is handy for homes with multiple stories or odd layouts (think L-shaped homes).
A good number of mesh networking systems use what is sometimes known as a star or wheel topology. In such a system, there is a central or main router that handles communications between the various nodes. The nodes cannot communicate with each other independently, they must do so through the central router.
There is nothing really wrong about this, but such systems are restricted in their deployment. Because the nodes must be within the range of the central router, there is a limit to how much you can expand your Wi-Fi coverage.
Backhaul communication refers to the data that needs to be transferred within the mesh network to be sent to the user. Since users are typically connected to the nearest node, if you are nearer to node B and node A is the one that is actually to your ONT, then node A needs to transfer data to node B before it can reach you. This transmission of data from node A to B is an example of backhaul communication. This feature is typically only available on tri-band systems, where one of the 5GHz networks can be set aside for this purpose.
Arguably, the most crucial aspect is the environment that you intend to use it in. For larger homes, especially those with multiple stories, a true mesh networking system, where the nodes can communicate independently with each other, is the most ideal as it gives you maximum flexibility in deployment.
Speed is important, but it is not determined the way you might think it is. Consider the number of networks it supports rather than outright total speed or bandwidth. In other words, a mesh networking system that has a dedicated network for backhaul communications is the most ideal as it means that users need not compete with the mesh network itself for bandwidth.
Don’t be misled by marketing. 1,733Mbps over the 5GHz network is all well and good, but do you have devices that can take advantage of that speed? Remember, most mobile devices today only support up to 867Mbps, and only a handful of notebooks support speeds of up to 1,300Mbps. So don’t disregard mesh networking systems that only offer 867Mbps over their 5GHz networks. It is sufficient for most users.