Mesh routers have become increasingly popular, even though we’ve seen them are more accessible with regards to price, there will be premium offerings for many who are able to pay a lttle bit more. With products just like the Netgear Orbi, the premium is justified, as the network coverage and performance that you will get are unmatched by the less expensive mesh router systems that we’ve reviewed up to now.
Linksys is a well-known and trusted name in the wonderful world of networking and it recently forayed in to the world of mesh routers. The tri-band Velop mesh Wi-Fi router system we are reviewing today comes in three different configurations – Rs. 49,999 for the router system with three nodes (bearing model number AC6600/ WHW0303-AH), which includes an advertised selection of 6,000 sq. ft.; Rs. 34,999 for a pack of two nodes (AC4400/ WHW0302-AH) which claims to get a selection of 4,000 sq. ft.; and Rs. 19,999 for the lone AC2200/ WHW0301-AH which, as you would’ve guessed, includes a selection of 2,000 sq. ft.
The naming system is a lttle bit of a disaster, in particular when you consider there’s a far more affordable dual-band Velop router system aswell, which carries model numbers AC1300/ WHW0101, AC2600/ WHW0102, and AC3900/ WHW0103 Dual-Band for the main one, two, and three pack kits respectively. With regard to this review, all references to Velop match the tri-band router system that people are reviewing, rather than the less expensive alternative.
Let’s have a closer consider the Velop mesh Wi-Fi router system in the hope that the engineers at Linksys did an improved job compared to the marketing department that developed those model numbers.
Linksys Velop design and specifications
Routers are often viewed as utilitarian devices with big, bulging antennas and cables popping out of everywhere. Some entry-level routers still follow the template, we’ve seen manufacturers of expensive routers make more of an attempt to create something that’s aesthetically pleasing.
That’s especially the case with mesh router systems, which contain multiple nodes that require to be put across different rooms, this means design is normally among the standards that consumers base their purchase decisions upon. Linksys says among its goals while designing the Velop system was to “have a tiny footprint made to disappear in virtually any room of a home”, and it’s really safe to state the engineers have delivered on that promise.
Each Velop node includes a 3.1-inch (7.9cm) square base and slightly tapers towards the most notable. The units have are 7.3 inches (18.5cm) tall, this means they are fairly simple to tuck away when compared with the humongous Netgear Orbi units, though much less compact as, say, the nodes of the D-Link Covr or the Tenda Nova mesh systems, which we’ve reviewed recently. Also, unlike the Tenda Nova, for instance, we’ve no complaints about the construction of the Velop units. Each unit looks and feels solid, and the partial mesh design lends them a genuine premium look.
Leading and right (when you are facing the machine) sides are solid white, as the back, left, and top sport these mesh look. There appears to become a black colour option in a few markets, but it isn’t available in India up to now.
The status light at the very top blends in nicely with the mesh look, even though it’s lit. There’s a tiny vent in the bottom, between your two mesh sides back for cabling. The connector that plugs in to the power port of every unit is angled to be able to easily go through this vent. Turn the machine upside down and you will see a tiny gap between your foot of the router and the ports. That is a good location to coil up any extra amount of cables and tuck them from sight.
Photo Credit: Linksys
Discussing the ports, each Velop unit has two auto-sensing Gigabit Ethernet LAN and WAN ports, this means the router can find what’s linked and decide their behaviour accordingly. Unlike the Netgear Orbi, for instance, there is no dedicated primary node, and the main one linked to your web line becomes the principal node.
This also signifies that you can, for instance, buy a one-pack Velop system to get started on with, and buy another or a two-pack if the needs you have change at a later stage. A Linksys representative confirmed that you may even buy two three-packs and incorporate them right into a single network assuming you have a humongous house and money’s no object.
There are no USB ports, therefore you cannot hook up any peripherals to the network, unless they have built-in networking support themselves. Power users may also lament the limited number of Ethernet ports on each unit instead of, say, the Orbi nodes but that’s evidently a function of the Velop units’ compact design. Each unit also offers a reset button and a power toggle.
As we mentioned earlier, the Velop system we are reviewing this is a tri-band system. Each node has one 2.4GHz radio with a maximum theoretical speed of 400Mbps, and two 5GHz radios – one for 802.11b/g/n and another for 802.11n/ac – that all max out at a theoretical 867Mbps. Each unit has six antennas, and is powered by a 716MHz quad-core processor with 512MB RAM and 4GB of internal storage, if you shouldn’t should worry about that.
Linksys Velop starting out, software, and features
Getting started off with the Linksys Velop mesh system is rather straightforward, even though there’s a Web-based interface to assist you do that, Linksys a lot more than encourages you to use its software for both initial setup and system administration at any later stage. Download the Linksys iphone app for Android or iPhone, power on the router, and you will be ready to get started.
Each node has Bluetooth 4.0 LE, that makes it discoverable to the iphone app through the initial setup process. Follow the prompts to create the first node – together with your Internet connection plugged directly into among its Ethernet ports – and do the same to include additional nodes to your network. Everything is pretty intuitive and user-friendly.
As we mentioned, you can administer the router on a PC using the Web-based interface aswell, but each and every time you try and do this, you will be reminded that Linksys would like you to be using the iphone app instead almost in a “are you sure you should do this?” sort of way.