Review: Linksys Velop a solid choice in wireless mesh space


It’s been interesting to see how longtime home wireless vendors have been approaching the new wireless mesh market, in which startup products like Eero, Luma, AmpliFi and Almond have hit the scene – in addition to Google, which doesn’t qualify as a startup, but is new to the Wi-Fi market.

Companies like Netgear (with its Orbi product) and D-Link (with its recently announced Covr offering) have taken a hybrid approach – providing systems that deliver “whole-home coverage” but use a router-and-satellite framework, unlike the “three-pack” systems where each unit in the package is equal (at least until you connect the first one to act as the ‘router’).

Home wireless veteran Linksys (a division of Belkin) has taken the latter approach – its new Velop system is a three-pack of wireless nodes that promises “whole-home coverage” (up to 6,000 square feet) packaged in a very sleek offering. Like the other wireless mesh systems, setup is done via mobile app, and offers features such as easy guest network access setup, parental controls and some basic device prioritization. The company sent us a three-pack to try out and test in our unofficial “Cool Tools Testing Home”.

Linksys

The Linksys Velop whole-home Wi-Fi system comes with three identical nodes. After connecting the first node to a broadband modem, the other two create a wireless mesh network.

Look and feel

Each Velop node is a rectangular column that looks more like a Bluetooth speaker system than the smaller, fatter wireless mesh nodes from other companies. The top of the unit contains a colored light to indicate whether the system is working or not, but other than that it’s an all-white design. These systems are aimed to be part of a room’s décor, so there’s no giant antennas or other protrusions coming out of the Velop node.

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