Home / Networking / Linksys Velop, First Take: Hassle-free, cost-effective mesh wi-fi

Linksys Velop, First Take: Hassle-free, cost-effective mesh wi-fi

Wi-fi generally is a ache. Interference from different units — each your individual and people of neighbours — and thick partitions can imply patchy protection even inside a comparatively small area. Powerline adapters and vary extenders generally is a problem to arrange, ship removed from most throughput, and — in my expertise — tend to go offline on a whim.

All of these drawbacks might be overcome for those who transfer to a wi-fi mesh system just like the Linksys Velop.

The thought is that Velop ‘nodes’ sit at applicable factors and act like routers fairly than extenders. Linksys guarantees no degradation in sign energy, straightforward setup, and straightforward management by way of an app from wherever with an web connection. Meaning no extra fiddling round with an online browser to make system tweaks.

The Velop AC3900 dual-band tri-pack is a brand new addition to the tri-band Velop product that was launched final yr. It is inexpensive, and so ought to be extra accessible to residence customers and distant employees. Twin-band (one 2.4GHz and one 5GHz band) assist means speeds are slower than with the tri-band model (which makes use of two 5GHz bands), however that compromise may effectively swimsuit many customers. As I write, these are the value variants out there at Amazon UK:

Velop variant Typical protection Value (inc. VAT)
Twin-band two-pack 2/Three-bedroom residence £149.99
Tri-band two-pack 2/Three-bedroom residence £199.99
Twin-band three-pack* Four-bedroom residence £219.99
Tri-band three-pack Four/5-bedroom residence £374.99

To find out the spots with poor wi-fi protection, it may be a good suggestion to make use of one of many many free wi-fi analyser apps to your handset. Armed with this information you’ll be able to work out whether or not you want a two-pack or a three-pack of Velop nodes.

The entire setup course of is designed to be person pleasant and non-technical. A printed setup information takes you thru plugging within the first node, and after which an app takes over, strolling you thru the method. Apps can be found for iOS and Android.

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The primary node is plugged into the mains and related to your modem by way of the supplied Ethernet cable, whereupon your present router is discarded. In case your router and modem are in a single field, its wi-fi might be disabled as soon as setup is accomplished.

SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

Adjustments within the color of the blinking mild on the highest of the node, from blue to purple, let you realize it when it is time to transfer alongside the setup course of. On the applicable juncture, the printed guide asks you to obtain the app — which requires the creation of one more login and password, after all. The printed information is now put aside, and the app takes over. The primary a part of its course of works over Bluetooth, then it switches over to wi-fi. There isn’t any problem with this — it simply occurs.

My first node took about 5 minutes to arrange, and every subsequent node is configured totally by way of the app. With every node, you plug it into the mains and wait whereas it goes by way of its preparation phases, with buttons to press within the app as gadget lights change from blue to purple. The second node took an additional 5 minutes to arrange, however the third bought caught alongside the way in which. Fortuitously there is a reset button on the bottom, and having been instructed by the app to press that, I ran the setup course of once more and it was tremendous. That one took about ten minutes.

I then had the enjoyment of administering a firmware replace, which meant a considerably longer wait than setting the three nodes up within the first place. The truth is, I left it for some time, questioning if the entire thing was going to fall over. It did not, and in a shade over 30 minutes I had a totally working wi-fi mesh community.


The 141mm-tall dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Velop nodes are managed by way of an iOS or Android app.

Picture: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet


Every node has an influence enter and two RJ-45 Ethernet ports.

Picture: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The nodes themselves are fairly effectively designed as these items go. White rectangular blocks, the dual-band nodes I examined are 141mm tall and 79mm sq. (the tri-band nodes are a little bit bigger). The standing mild is on the highest, so it would not glare at you an excessive amount of if the node is on a shelf. Every node has two gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections. On the principle node one among these is at all times in use, offering a wired connection to your modem. Extra Ethernet ports can be appreciated.

As soon as setup is full you’ll be able to go into the app and do extra refined issues like configure as much as three precedence units that may get the lion’s share of bandwidth, and create scheduled offline instances for explicit units (useful if you wish to hold tabs on the youngsters’ iPad time, for instance). You can even arrange a visitor community.

Every part is finished by way of the app — there is no net interface. Some is not going to be bothered about this, however others, used to web-based entry to their modem/router setup, may discover it limiting. Extra problematic is that the app can ‘see’ units related to the Velop community, however something that is wired on to your main router/modem, equivalent to a printer for instance, is invisible.

What about efficiency and reliability? Nicely, with two residence workplaces in my home, each needing equally robust web connections, a related TV and the will to have first rate web throughout the entire home, I might struggled up to now with extenders. My kitchen has a really flaky, intermittent connection, for instance. With a Velop node in precisely the identical spot the place I might had an extender, the kitchen sign is great.

Sign energy? I am on a reasonably gradual broadband connection, so earth-shattering speeds aren’t to be anticipated. Utilizing the Which? Broadband Speed Test I bought a obtain pace of 13.8Mbps proper by the primary node connected to my router. The second residence workplace bought the identical, whereas my kitchen I bought a really acceptable 13.2Mbps.

I have been utilizing Velop for practically three weeks on the time of writing, and it has supplied the identical high quality and energy of protection all through that point. My subsequent problem is to check the tri-band system, and see if that delivers an uplift that is worthy of its increased worth.


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