As more and more devices have started relying upon internet connectivity, it's much more important that all the nooks and crannies of your home have proper WiFi coverage. The routers of old simply aren't up to the task, but new models have implemented a variety of clever antenna technologies to make coverage better. However, mesh networking might be the wave of the future.
Google has joined other companies like Eero and Netgear in making a mesh networking product. It's called Google WiFi, and it's coming out just a year after the OnHub. What's going on with that?
Jumping on the mesh networking bandwagon
So, why is mesh networking suddenly the hot new thing? A few years ago, routers were not very smart. They'd blanket an area with signal, and hopefully you were able to pick it up on your device, because the router wasn't going to give you any help. Beamforming was added in the 802.11n specification, and it allowed routers to focus a signal at active devices. It wasn't a requirement, so there was no guarantee a router would support this technology. Smart home devices might not always be in a convenient place for wireless coverage because you usually have other considerations when adding things like cameras, lights, and so on.
At the same time, we've moved beyond 2.4GHz WiFi frequencies to 5GHz. This allows for much more data bandwidth, but the higher frequency also loses power more quickly as it passes through walls and other obstacles. At first 5GHz was at least relatively uncongested with traffic, but now there's plenty. Routers with higher power output and technologies like beamforming are necessary to maintain high throughput for applications like HD video streaming and large file transfers.