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Excel 2023 New Features – The new Excel 2023 version of Microsoft Office was recently released, and all the Office geeks are going gaga over it! MS Office comes loaded with Excel 2023 features and user-friendly options that will make life easier for us, the computer people.

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Microsoft Office has run a course for 27 years and has managed to change the market with almost zero competitors. MS Excel has always been more of an office-used program than a home-based one, unlike MS Word or MS PowerPoint. Therefore, Microsoft needed to step up its game and develop something innovative and useful to improve this already valuable program.

It has rows and columns and intersections of these two, called cells. You can use MS Excel to handle data arithmetically and in charts.

Using MS Excel, you can build three-dimensional graphical display sets which enable you to display data in diagram forms. That being said, MS Excel has many super useful features that can take some time to get used to.

There are not many ways to know it – either you hear from a feature from the Internet or a friend, or you discover it on your own once you start using it regularly.

Visually, a lot has stayed the same. It comes with many great Excel 2023 new features, many of which amalgamate old and new.

So let’s save you time by diving straight into the good stuff- now, as well as hidden features of MS Excel 2023, which will enable you to work faster and smarter.

Excel 2023 Features; #1 Power Query

What is Power Query? It is a data analysis feature available in Excel that allows you to combine, refine and discover new data. This feature enables you to find and connect data from various sources. It can help you merge and shape data sources to match your data analysis requirements while prepping it for further analysis.

The user can use the JSON parser to create data visuals over Big Data and Azure HDInsight. It also allows you to create custom views. You can also perform data cleansing operations and import data from multiple file logs.

Power Query used to be a separate plug-in in the Office 2013 version. What makes this feature even more noteworthy is its ability to pull in and supply data from many sources like web pages, Access, Oracle, Sybase, XML files, and text. Files, Teradata databases, and SharePoint lists are a few.

You can access this feature under the Data tab, under the Get and Transform group. It will then show you various options from which you import data. It can be natively found in Excel 2023.

Next time your boss calls to ask you about the forecast for next month’s sales, answer without hesitation. It is an awesome feature that has infinite uses. Your data is mined and inferred, and it makes predictions about future trends and patterns. It comes with a ‘Tell Me’ search bar. The previous version offered only linear forecasting as an option – a long-drawn-out process at its best.

#3 Text lines in a cell

Well, as the veteran users of MS Excel already know, when you type in a cell and want to start a new line, pressing the Enter key does not help (as it goes to the next cell). You can now press Alt+Enter on a Windows PC and a Mac; you can press Control-Option-Return. This little piece of information can save you valuable time and frustration. It is a feature you must know.

#4 Enhanced PivotTable

We are all familiar with working with the Pivot Table. Microsoft has brought in many more features and improvements to make the experience even more rewarding and productive. Here are a few of the features introduced.

Creating, editing, and deleting custom measures: This can now be done directly from the PivotTable menu instead of the systematic analysis required earlier. It saves up a great deal of time.

Search in PivotTable: This feature speaks for itself. It helps you get fields that are important to your data from across your entire data set.

Automatic Time Grouping: This feature enables you to group all your data based on time. It auto-detects similar time zones and groups them for you. Once done, you can drag the group down and begin your analysis.

PivotChart Drill-Down buttons allow you to zoom in and out across time groupings and other structures available in your data.

Smart Rename: This feature allows hassle-free renaming of any columns or tables in your workbook. One part of this that I like is that Excel 2023 automatically updates the names and related calculations across the workbook you are working on so that you don’t need to.

Multiple usability improvements: A few more changes have been made. The changes will be updated at one time once the Power Pivot window is shut. For example, delayed updating allows you to perform various Power Pivot modifications without waiting until each is spread across the workbook.

#5 Multi-Select Slicer

You can select multiple categories in the Excel slicer as opposed to the one on previous versions of Excel. You can enter this mode using a new button on the slicer’s label by the multi-select method.

#6 Power BI

You can monitor all your data from across your organization and from all the apps that you use. This feature also enables you to create rich and interactive reports that others can share and edit with due credentials. This feature has been deemed the future of Excel, and rightly so.

What makes Power BI so attractive is that it can pull in data from many applications and platforms like Zendesk, Salesforce, QuickBooks, Twilio, and even Google Analytics, which are just a few of the many. It has rich visuals, which will make your data come to life.

#7 Newer, better charts.

The charting options in the previous Windows versions could have been more impressive. In the 2023 version, Microsoft recognized the limited options and made improvements.

It has introduced many new and modernistic charts that bring data to life. While Microsoft has tried to retain the ‘old-new’ feel, it has many new charting options with rich formatting options (which I found surprisingly easy to use).

#8 Collaboration

You can’ co-author’ documents to share them with different people. Or you can share them while chatting on Skype, which is all Office integrated.

“People often start and end their work in Office, but there is often a messy middle that involves a lot of discussions – in person, phone or via various tools -as well as multiple (sometimes conflicting) inputs,” Microsoft’s head of Office Kirk Koenigsbauer said, and I agree. It was an important point that needed to be added for Office to give more to its users.

#9 Data Loss Protection

I cannot tell you how often I have had to rummage through my purse to input critical data while working on an important project because I was too wary of saving my data on a computer. Well, no more.

Microsoft geniuses have taken a definite step forward and introduced Data Loss Protection or DLP in Excel 2023. Data Loss Protection enables a real-time scan of content that is based on a set of predefined policies for sensitive data. It is originally a feature that was found in Outlook and was much loved by all.

It saves data like credit and debit card and bank account numbers at the user’s discretion. This data can be shared across platforms such as Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive. Another plus point of this newly introduced feature is that it will synchronize this personal data across all Microsoft, Word, PowerPoint, etc.

#10 New features like ‘Tell Me’ and ‘Smart Lookup.’

Excel is one program that can be difficult to navigate. Its previous versions housed a personal assistant called Clippy, which wasn’t of any real help though cute. Microsoft has promised its users to deliver a smart ‘assistant’ which is fresh, new, and improved beyond recognition.

They have called this the ‘Tell Me’ feature. This feature allows you to search for Excel 2023 functions that you may not be able to find. This feature provides you with a large number of menus which are more useful than a single menu. Meanwhile, the ‘Smart Look Up’ feature allows users to select a word or phrase from the typed data and will enable them to ‘look it up.

While the older version of this feature enabled you to look up a word in the inbuilt dictionary or redirect you to the Internet, this new feature brings extra information and related images into the sidebar without ever leaving the program.

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What Is Qualitative Observation?

Qualitative observation is a research method where the characteristics or qualities of a phenomenon are described without using any quantitative measurements or data. Rather, the observation is based on the observer’s subjective interpretation of what they see, hear, smell, taste, or feel.

Example: Qualitative observationYou are interested in studying the behavior of children at a local after-school program using qualitative observation. You attend a few sessions, jotting down what you see. Observations like “the child seems hesitant,” “the child avoids making eye contact” or “the child prefers to play alone” describe the behavior of the children you are observing, but they do not involve numerical data or measurements.

Qualitative observations can be done using various methods, including direct observation, interviews, focus groups, or case studies. They can provide rich and detailed information about the behavior, attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of individuals or groups.

When to use qualitative observation

Qualitative observation is a type of observational study, often used in conjunction with other types of research through triangulation. It is often used in fields like social sciences, education, healthcare, marketing, and design. This type of study is especially well suited for gaining rich and detailed insights into complex and/or subjective phenomena.

A qualitative observation could be a good fit for your research if:

You are conducting exploratory research. If the goal of your research is to gain a better understanding of a phenomenon, object, or situation, qualitative observation is a good place to start.

When your research topic is complex, subjective, or cannot be examined numerically. Qualitative observation is often able to capture the complexity and subjectivity of human behavior, particularly for topics like emotions, attitudes, perceptions, or cultural practices. These may not be quantifiable or measurable through other methods.

You are relying on triangulation within your research approach. Qualitative observation is a solid addition to triangulation approaches, where multiple sources of data are used to validate and verify research findings.

TipIf you are more interested in numerical interpretations, then a quantitative observation may be a better fit for your research. Just remember that quantitative observations by definition describe phenomena using quantitative measurements or data.

Examples of qualitative observation

Qualitative observation is commonly used in marketing to study consumer behavior, preferences, and attitudes towards products or services.

Example: Qualitative observation in marketingYou are interested in consumer attitudes towards your company’s newest energy drink. You decide to conduct a focus group, where you act as the moderator and encourage participants to share their thoughts and opinions about the product.

During the focus group, you focus particularly on qualitative observations, taking note of the participants’ facial expressions, body language, word choice, and tone of voice.

These qualitative observations can help you draw inferences about a variety of themes, such as willingness to try new energy drinks. These can help inform your company’s marketing strategies and product development.

Qualitative observation is often also used in design fields, to better understand user needs, preferences, and behaviors. This can aid in the development of products and services that better meet user needs.

Example: Qualitative observation in UX designYou are interested in how users interact with the digital products and services offered by your company’s app.

You are particularly focused on any usability issues that could impact customer satisfaction. You run a series of testing sessions, focusing on reactions like facial expressions, body language, and verbal feedback.

Expressions such as frowning, squinting, or long pauses can indicate frustration or confusion. These can help you identify usability issues like confusing navigation or unclear labeling, as well as develop solutions to improve the user experience—informing your company’s design decisions over time.

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Types of qualitative observations

There are several types of qualitative observation. Here are some of the most common types to help you choose the best one for your work.

Type Definition Example

Naturalistic observation The researcher observes how the participants respond to their environment in “real-life” settings but does not influence their behavior in any way Observing monkeys in a zoo enclosure

Participant observation Also occurs in “real-life” settings. Here, the researcher immerses themself in the participant group over a period of time Spending a few months in a hospital with patients suffering from a particular illness

Covert observation Hinges on the fact that the participants do not know they are being observed Observing interactions in public spaces, like bus rides or parks

Case study Investigates a person or group of people over time, with the idea that close investigation can later be generalized to other people or groups Observing a child or group of children over the course of their time in elementary school

Advantages of qualitative observations

Qualitative observations allow you to generate rich and nuanced qualitative data—aiding you in understanding a phenomenon or object and providing insights into the more complex and subjective aspects of human experience.

Qualitative observation is a flexible research method that can be adjusted based on research goals and timeline. It also has the potential to be quite non-intrusive, allowing observation of participants in their natural settings without disrupting or influencing their behavior.

Qualitative observation is often used in combination with other research methods, such as interviews or surveys, to provide a more complete picture of the phenomenon being studied. This triangulation can help improve the reliability and validity of the research findings.

Like many observational studies, qualitative observations are at high risk for many research biases, particularly on the side of the researcher in the case of observer bias. These biases can also bleed over to the participant size, in the case of the Hawthorne effect or social desirability bias.

Qualitative observations are typically based on a small sample size, which makes them very unlikely to be representative of the larger population. This greatly limits the generalizability of the findings if used as a standalone method, and the data collection process can be long and onerous.

Like other human subject research, qualitative observation has its share of ethical considerations to keep in mind and protect, particularly informed consent, privacy, and confidentiality.

Other interesting articles

If you want to know more about statistics, methodology, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

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Incognito Mode Unmasked: What It Does And What It Doesn’T Do

What is incognito mode?

The word incognito means to hide one’s true identity. Incognito mode on Android devices is just that; it’s a way to hide as you travel the web. As realized in Google Chrome on Android, Incognito mode hides your browsing history so others can’t see the websites you’ve visited. In effect, it masks your footprints across the web.

How to turn on incognito mode

Your IP address, which is a way of identifying your basic location.

Your actual, real-time activity as you use a website or service.

Also — and this is key — your identity if you sign in to any web service. That includes Google-owned sites such as Gmail.

See also: Google may be tracking your porn habits in incognito mode

Please use private browsing if your family shares a tablet or PC.

Another example: you’re using a public computer. Say you have to fill out some form on a machine in the doctor’s office or similar. See if you can switch on private browsing mode so others who use the device can’t go back to the page and stumble onto your data.

Last, if you don’t want your partner or significant other to know what you’ve been up to online, private browsing is the best way to keep that information to yourself. This is essential for things like gift-buying and surprise parties.

How do you turn off private browsing?

It’s pretty easy. It’s simple to locate since incognito mode runs in its own tab apart from your regular Chrome tabs. Tap the tab button in the upper right corner of the browser, and it should show two series of tabs: regular on the left and private on the right. Private tabs are often colored dark. Tap the “x” button in the top right corner of each incognito tab to close them.

Alternately, Android gives you a really powerful way to avoid trouble. Let’s say you were enjoying some adult content but shut your screen in a hurry and left the tab active in Chrome. Anyone who opens Chrome will land right smack in the middle of that content. Chrome in Android gives you the option to end all incognito tabs from the quick settings menu. It appears as a silent notification. Simply tap the “close all incognito tabs” notification, and it will silently shut everything down on the sly. Crisis averted big time.

Closing incognito mode is critical. Everything remains in the open until you actually close the incognito tabs.

Do other apps and browsers have incognito mode?

They sure do. Google’s own Play Store and Maps apps have Incognito mode. Incognito mode for the Play Store is still in testing and not fully rolled out. The idea is to allow you to browse for and search through apps without having your searches recorded. Incognito mode for Google Maps allows you to hide your travels and your searches. Neither of these solutions prevents other apps from seeing what you’re up to.

YouTube has Incognito mode, as well. It prevents others from seeing your search and view history. The limitations are the same as they are with Chrome.

Safari for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac supports private browsing. Access it by tapping the tabs button in Safari and selecting “Private” to open a new tab. Apple says Safari won’t remember the pages you visited, your search history, or your AutoFill information after you close a tab in private browsing mode.

The Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10 machines has InPrivate mode, and Firefox supports Private Browsing for most platforms. As with other apps, these prevent the browser from recording your browsing history when in the proper mode. We also like Brave Browser and have a great roundup of all the best web browsers for privacy.

Google Chrome’s incognito mode isn’t a perfect solution, but it does have its uses. Keep in mind, it doesn’t impact most apps at all. If you download an adult content app, that’s totally on you to hide in a folder or lock it down with a passcode.

Whether you have anything to hide or not, safe browsing folks!

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How To Create Meaningful Content Every Time: The Who, What, What

How to Create Meaningful Content Every Time: The Who, What, What Fiona O’Connor

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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Why do you sink your sweat and tears into writing, editing and rewriting? In B2B, the job is to help others explore a new idea or solve a problem, right? So, isn’t your audience at the foundation of anything you write, design, create and share? Most definitely!

Furthermore, with all the content out there, people keep getting pickier. They expect highly relevant “personalized” experiences – and that includes the content you’re creating in your job. If readers feel your content isn’t relevant to their needs, they’ll jump to something else. If, like me, your readers are often your company’s buyers, that’s a big problem.

As content creators, we all want to create meaningful content. Yet somehow, in the process of creating new material, teams can get a bit lost. So, it’s helpful to have a set of tools available that keep things on track. Whether it’s an e-book, a webinar or anything else really, content creators need to work hard to make sure everything they build provides clear value to their readers. Here’s one exercise I do before starting content development to guide myself. To help frame out my story and deliver on my objectives, I ask three simple questions.

#1 – Who are you talking to?

In many cases, your topic could be interesting to several different groups. But in order to create content that will feel more personally relevant, you usually need to narrow your focus. You want to think about a tight group of people with many needs in common. Inside your customer base, there are lots of segments, buying groups, and personas like this.

Be as specific as possible in answering the “Who?” question. Industry vertical works as a start. But inside of that, what is their function and their role? Are they more generalist in function or specialist? Are they senior or a more junior level? The more precise you can be, the better you’ll be able to create messages and material that will attract and engage your “Who.”

#2 – What does your audience currently think about the topic?

Now it’s time to walk a mile in your audiences’ shoes. Before you start working out how to get them onto your side, imagine what their day-to-day looks like. What do they care about most? What are the biggest challenges or frustrations they’re facing?

Now expand out to the topic or theme you’ll be writing about. What does your audience think about it? Is it something they think about regularly, or rarely at all? How does it impact their everyday work?

If you’re going to go after more than one audience in a single piece, you should answer this question separately for each, since each audience will likely have different perspectives. And once you’ve done that, consider how the two groups might interact within the topic or scenario you’re presenting – you may need to address their potential interactions as well.

#3 – What do you want your audience to think about the topic?

In writing about anything, we want to introduce something compelling – a different perspective, idea or approach – that will resonate with other people, give them something or help them learn. Simply put, we’re usually asking our audiences to change. And in B2B, we’re commonly asking them to change how they perceive a situation such that they’ll be more likely to consider our solution.

Think hard about exactly what you want your audience to change. Is there business opportunity they’re missing that you will illuminate? Are there chronic barriers that they could overcome with just a little help?

The “story” you’re telling needs to be presented in a clear and familiar context so your audience can easily relate it back to their own work. When you set out to answer the second “What” question, you’re delivering the key takeaways you want your piece to provide. When you begin to map out the content in detail, you’ll want to ensure that you can use data, quotes and examples that build your audience’s confidence in your understanding of them and the relevance of your recommendations. Remember: it’s this thread of audience understanding that binds the whole piece together.

Seeing “Who, What, What” in Action

Personally, I do best with a real-life example. Let’s use this blog as an example of content that we need to create. Image we’re at the very beginning of the writing process and we need to answer these three questions.

Early-in-career marketing roles who are either helping to get content created or are themselves content creators.

What do they currently think?

Process managers: This content takes a lot of time and effort to create, and that’s time I often don’t have. I’ve just got to get this out; I can’t worry about the performance of this single piece.

Content creators: Wow, we seem to be trying to talk to everyone here. I feel like it’s both too much and too little. This isn’t going to work.

What do I want them to think?

I have a simple tool that allows me to more easily create content that will better resonate with my audience. By answering these three questions before developing a new piece of content, I can be confident that the story will be relevant and meaningful to its intended audience. Implemented by all of us, this way will work better for everyone involved.

There are lots of ways to incorporate this exercise in your teams’ processes: if you’re visual, it might be helpful to map it out on a whiteboard or notebook. If you’re still “getting to know” an audience, you might want to use this as a brainstorming activity with a peer. Whatever your approach, make sure you write your thoughts down as you have them. Then, if you get lost while you’re creating, revisit your “Who, What, What” to double- and triple-check that you are delivering meaningful content for readers and your company alike.

B2B content creation, content creation, content marketing

What Is Rank Transition & What Does It Mean For Seo?

We’ve all been there.

A client, or boss, presents a problem with the website: “Rankings are down despite all this work we have done on the site.”

You scratch your head looking at the pages you updated with internal linking, meta tag updates, and perhaps some small text on the page that mentions the focus keywords.

You’re not spamming, at least you don’t feel you did enough to alert Google that you’re spamming.

The pages are showing up in search results, but the rankings aren’t what you predicted, and they aren’t consistent across the pages you edited.

So you make those changes. And the rankings change again – but not for the better.

It’s as if the pages are all ranking randomly, and each change is making it worse.

Every SEO professional at some point has experienced this rank transition, whether you realize it or not.

What Is Rank Transition?

Rank transition is Google’s way of confusing spammers as they adjust for rankings and continually readjust in an attempt to obtain a good position for one or more documents within a website.

It’s Google’s way of identifying specific techniques and formulating an algorithmic rule that appears to randomize rankings.

Google’s Ranking Documents patent was approved in 2012. The SEO industry covered it extensively, including Bill Slawski at SEO by the Sea and myself as I was experiencing the effects of the patent.

In 2014, the U.S. Patent office approved a similar updated patent, Changing a rank of a document by applying a rank transition function.

Both patents are fairly specific about what Google considers spamming, and the timing is quickly mentioned.

However, the wording leaves it somewhat open-ended which I believe could be used for most changes for SEO as well as the timing.

What Appears to Be Random Isn’t Actually Random

Computers and programs can’t function in a random way.

Therefore, the ranking documents patent contains 29 claims detailing a set of rules in which the pages (or documents) that are affected by the patent are set up in a way that rankings appear to be random during the established transition period.

The patent’s abstract describes:

“A system determines a first rank associated with a document and determines a second rank associated with the document, where the second rank is different from the first rank. The system also changes, during a transition period that occurs during a transition from the first rank to the second rank, a transition rank associated with the document based on a rank transition function that varies the transition rank over time without any change in ranking factors associated with the document.”

Upon a change to a set of pages on a website, the new ranking position is determined.

However, it is not set for an amount of time. Instead, each page is assigned a position based on the algorithms defined in the patent.

The positions will appear to be random until that determined amount of time is complete and no further work or adjustments to those pages were made.

Figure 1 from the Patent:

Google looks at the page that is now changed (or optimized), determining the old rank and then the new rank based on the changes.

The rank transition is set and published.

If there are no further changes during the transition period then the target rank is set. However, the transition period is reset if more changes are made.

The patent talks about spamming techniques in detail:

“Various techniques exist, such as keyword stuffing, invisible text, tiny text, page redirects, META tags stuffing, and link-based manipulation.”

Keyword stuffing: Repeatedly using a keyword within a page to make the page appear to be more relevant to the keyword being searched.

Invisible text: Including a set of words on a page in which the text is the same color as the background.

Tiny text: Using keywords in small text within a page in an attempt to make a page appear relevant for a wide range of search queries, even though the page may not be relevant.

Page redirects: Using a first paragraph of code to automatically redirect the user to a second page that has nothing to do with the search query (typically a browser side JavaScript redirect rather than a server side redirect 301, 302 or similar which is safe).

Meta tags stuffing: Using a large set of keywords in the meta tags in which the keywords do not relate to the content on the page.

Link-based manipulation: This may include the creation or manipulation of a first document or a set of first documents to include a link, or several links, to a second document attempting to increase rankings for the second document.

While these spamming techniques are mentioned in the document, many more could be included that trigger rank transition – even just simply making changes to a specific set of pages.

How Long Does This Ranking Transition Last?

The patent mentions:

“After a period of time, the document’s rank might rise to its new steady state (target) value. Like FIG. 6, the time line shown in FIG. 7 may be represented in days in one implementation consistent with the principles of the invention. In other words, the document’s rank may decrease for a period of approximately 20 days before settling in on its new steady state (target) value (e.g., 1.0 in FIG. 7) in approximately 70 days after a positive change in its link-based information.”

When the patent was approved in August 2012, Google was pushing Panda updates and refreshes and my team launched a major project that cleaned up many issues.

Three months (to the day) after launching the updates we saw a significant increase in traffic and improvements in rankings for the series of pages.

Ranking transition is triggered when changes are made to a set of pages on a website.

Those pages begin with a first rank for the page (or document) with a second rank then set.

During the transition period, a transition rank is set based on the rank transition function that varies the transition rank over time without any change in the first or second ranking factors for the page.

This year, I worked with a property management company. I helped redesign and optimize their website.

The site was completely overhauled. The roughly 100 URLs and content stayed the same with a design refresh after completing an SEO audit and market research.

I cleaned up some internal linking that appeared spammy and made some usability improvements.

The site added 500+ new pages of content optimized following today’s best SEO practices.

Using the Keylime Toolbox tool, I monitored the rankings in Google over time from Day 0 (before launch) to Day 90, and 10 days past.

At Day 90 the site saw a stable average ranking position and seemed to hold with minimal fluctuation. The 90 days appears to be the transition rank with a few volatile bumps.


The massive efforts in 2011 and 2012 to fight spamming has left us SEO professionals often wondering what is going on with our results.

Never fear, though.

It could be that your changes are in the ranking transition period and simply waiting to show their permanent place.

I have often sent the articles written about the patent, and even sent the link to the patent itself, to help make my case to clients and bosses that we simply need to wait it out and see how we did in a few months.

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Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, February 2023

What Is A Mesh Network? Here’S What You Need To Know

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Home Wi-Fi used to be so simple. You could plug in a router and connect all of your devices. Now we have fancy gaming routers, gigabit speeds, and more options than you can count. One of the easiest modern ways to connect your entire house and your smart devices is with a mesh network. If you’re not familiar, we’re here to explain just what exactly a mesh network is and how to set one up.

We’ll do our best to give you an idea of what mesh networks are and how they work. They have their benefits and drawbacks, so this page gives you a complete picture.

See also: The best Wi-Fi routers: Which one is right for you?

Flexible signal — The fact that every point in your network produces its own signal means that you can stay online even if a point goes down. If you have to repair or replace part of your network, the rest of it should stay online for your continued use. You can also add extra points for even more powerful coverage.

Direct paths — Unlike a traditional router and extender setup, mesh networks send their signal in all directions. This means that you should always be able to get the fastest signal in your home. It almost works like shipping a package — the more options it has, the faster it should get to you.

Convenient controls — Google and Amazon are both key players in the home Wi-Fi game, and they offer some beneficial features. Both the Nest system and Eero network offer companion apps that allow you to manage devices, set downtime, and more.

Are there any drawbacks?

Of course, mesh networks aren’t perfect. There are a few reasons for you to stick with your current setup, or at least wait a while to upgrade. Think about a few of these drawbacks before you get shopping:

Expensive — Because each point in a mesh network produces its own signal, it often includes more expensive components. You can easily spend $200 to get off the ground, plus another $100 to $200 for each additional network point. On the other hand, plenty of traditional routers cost less than $50.

Require multiple outlets — Multiple access points mean that you’ll need to plug each one into its own outlet. It’s not a big deal on its own, but think about how many other lamps, smart speakers, and devices you plug into your house at any given time. You may need to invest in a few power surge protectors to make up space.

Range trumps speed — Mesh networks place a blanket of widespread connectivity over all else. You may be able to connect more devices over a wider range, but you may lose some of the top-end speed. Further, most people don’t have to worry about covering 3,000 or more square feet, so you may find yourself with more coverage than you need.

Can I get even more information?

Of course you can. In fact, our own Gary Sims has an extensive explanation of mesh networking and everything involved in it over on his YouTube channel, Gary Explains. He digs further into the topics we’ve covered here and even reviews the MikroTik Audience, a tri-band mesh network access point. Give Gary’s video a watch down below before you jump into a few of our favorite mesh network systems:

What are your options for mesh networks?

If you’ve decided that a mesh network is indeed right for you, it’s time to start shopping. We’ve already mentioned the Google Nest and Amazon Eero systems, but there are plenty more to consider. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Amazon Eero 6 Pro mesh system


Amazon purchased the Eero brand a few years back, and it’s been pumping out reliable Wi-Fi options ever since. In fact, I’m writing this while connected to an Eero network. The Eero 6 Pro system is the company’s latest offering, and it comes in a handy three-pack.

See also: The best Alexa-compatible devices for your home

It boasts an impressive coverage range of 6,000 square feet, which is more than enough for most people. The Eero 6 Pro mesh network also comes with a built-in Zigbee hub and connects to your other smart devices with Alexa. You can add as many as 75 devices to your network with the tri-band setup, and the Eero 6 Pro packs blistering Wi-Fi 6 connections.

TP-Link Deco X60 mesh Wi-Fi system


TP-Link is another top name in the mesh network game, and its Deco line is one of our favorites. You can choose from a few different models of various shapes and sizes to fit your home perfectly. The Deco X60 is slightly taller than some of its competitors, but it can reach up to 5,000 square feet.

Google Nest Wi-Fi system


If you prefer Google’s Nest family of products, this is the only way to go for mesh Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, a two-pack only covers 4,400 square feet, but that should still suit most setups.

See also: Google Nest Wi-Fi review

On the bright side, Google boasts that its Nest Wi-Fi can handle as many as 200 devices at once, and it has one of the better companion apps on the market. You can add parental controls to your network as needed, and you can manage it all from the palm of your hand. Each Google Nest router packs a pair of ethernet ports, so a wired connection is always on the table.

Meshforce M3s mesh Wi-Fi system


One more mesh network to consider, the Meshforce M3s, may not have the same name recognition as the others. However, it still packs a punch. The bundle says that it’s best for six bedrooms or up to 6,000 square feet, though it only supports 60 devices.

While you may not have as much device flexibility, most users probably don’t have that much to worry about. You can manage your connections right from your phone and establish guest networks whenever you have company over. Meshfroce’s M3s tops out at Gigabit speeds, and you can always tap into Ethernet options for extra speed.

There you go, everything you need to know about mesh networks. Hopefully, we’ve done our part to help you improve your home Wi-Fi. We’ll add new routers and information as technology continues to evolve, so check back often.

What Is Esg Investing And What Are The Best Esg Funds?

While many factors make an ESG fund worth investing in, these are the ten that investors seem to flock to the most.


With nearly $6.5 billion in assets from over 400 companies, iShares ESG MSCI EAFE ETF [1] (ESGD) comprises many large and mid-sized stocks in Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Far East. This fund is ideal for those hoping to build a sustainable equity portfolio that will bring in great returns over the long run.

Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund (VFTAX)

What sets Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund [2] apart is its commitment to exclude all companies in the alcohol, tobacco, weapons, fossil fuels, nuclear power, gambling, and adult entertainment industries. Instead, the fund invests in companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and countless other large companies that pass the strict ESG criteria.

iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN)

This iShares fund has far fewer companies under its umbrella — just over 80, for the time being — but the total assets still come close to that of iShares ESG MSCI EAFE ETF. As a matter of fact, iShares Global Clean Energy ETF [3] currently holds nearly $6 billion in net assets. The fund focuses exclusively on clean energy stocks from all over the world.

Shelton Green Alpha Fund (NEXTX)

As one might tell from the name, Shelton Green Alpha Fund [4] focuses primarily on the green economy: companies that help make the Earth greener while also demonstrating above-average potential for future growth. Any company that prioritizes products and services that better the environment is especially attractive to this ESG fund.


This iShares fund has that same focus on large- and mid-cap stocks that demonstrate those all-important environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices that other iShares funds have. Still, the iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF [5] is unique for the way it hones explicitly in on U.S. companies only. With nearly 350 holdings and over $21 billion in net assets, this strategy seems to work quite well for the fund.

Parnassus Core Equity Investor (PRBLX)

A primary goal of the Parnassus Core Equity Investor ESG [6] is to maintain its high quality through both market highs and market lows. This means investing in U.S. companies that pass the ESG test and perform incredibly well during market downturns. With this unique strategy, it ultimately hopes to outperform the S&P 500 Index.

iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF (SUSA)

Of course, while the intentions with ESG funds are always good, certain companies are inevitably going to become embroiled in controversy from time to time. In an attempt to avoid this, iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF [7] turns its attention to companies that stay away from low ESG ratings and have averted any severe controversies in their histories. Their net assets are lower than other iShares ESG funds on this list, but it’s worth it when considering the fund’s commitment to the ESG mission.

Parnassus Mid Cap Fund Investor (PARMX)

The Parnassus Mid Cap Fund Investor [8] aims to avoid companies that would perform poorly during market downturns while still staying committed to companies with high ESG ratings. This fund invests solely in high-quality companies with a small range of expected investment outcomes hoping to protect capital during downturns. Ultimately, the end goal is to outperform the Russell Midcap Index.

iShares ESG Aware MSCI EM ETF (ESGE)

As with the Parnassus funds, it helps for an ESG fund to have a specific index in mind when establishing particular financial goals. In the case of iShares ESG Aware MSCI EM ETF [9], that index they hope to mirror is the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. To do this, the iShares ESG Aware MSCI EM ETF invests in large- and mid-cap stocks that are just beginning to show great potential, such as Alibaba and Tencent.

SPDR S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Reserves Free ETF (SPYX)

The SPDR S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Reserves Free ETF [10] is a more ESG-friendly alternative to the S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Free Index, allowing investors in the fund to have the peace of mind that they are not investing in any fossil fuels or other non-ESG compliant companies.

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