Mesh routers are the brand new scorching pattern in wi-fi networking, although they are typically costly. We took the brand new budget-friendly Linksys Velop dual-band entire residence Wi-Fi system for a check to see the way it carried out, and in contrast it to the favored tri-band model.

Belkin-owned Linksys just launched an up to date, extra inexpensive model of their widespread Velop mesh routers. Except for being extraordinarily succesful routers on their very own, Velop is the first non-Apple router to be sold in Apple Stores, lending to their credibility.

Once we reviewed the original Velop setup, the largest concern was the excessive price ticket related to it. Linksys has gone a protracted option to alleviate that concern with the brand new entry-level mannequin.

Design

Just like the bigger one, it’s out there solo, or in multi-unit packs. Every particular person node is just below six inches tall, and really paying homage to Apple’s discontinued AirPort routers, simply in a extra trendy, squared off design.

On high, alongside a sequence of small round vents, is a standing LED that assists within the setup course of, and is a fast option to discern the standing of every node at a look. After setup, a blue gentle indicators it’s linked to the web, crimson means no web entry, blinking crimson means out of vary, and yellow designates weak connection.

Velop Ethernet ports

The facility change and a reset button are positioned on the underside, and should not have to be accessed usually. Each Ethernet ports and the ability enter are positioned across the again. Solely having one LAN port is limiting, virtually mandating a standalone Gigabit Ethernet change for something past probably the most fundamental wired community setups.

Within the field, Linksys features a single Ethernet cable, essential for connecting the primary node to the modem. All the remaining nodes may also be hardwired, although you’ll have to present your individual cables if you happen to choose to go that route. In most setups, customers will choose to maintain the opposite nodes wi-fi.

Setup

Every node should be arrange one after the other, beginning with the first node plugged into the modem. Throughout setup, the Velop app walks you thru the method, first asking if a modem and router or a single modem/router combo is getting used. It’ll then ask you to plug every node in, it is going to test its location, run an replace course of, and transfer on.

Linksys helps you a bit in putting the nodes by providing you with a tough thought of the place to place them, and alerting you if the sign energy means that the location is simply too distant.

Linksys app

Total, we loved the Linksys app, although not as a lot because the one which accompanies the Eero routers. Linksys makes use of the identical app for establishing all their routers, not simply the Velop sequence.

This meant every time we searched our telephones for the “Velop” app, it did not present up till we looked for “Linksys” as a substitute. Small factor, however one thing we saved doing.

Proper whenever you launch the app, it reveals the web standing, in addition to the variety of gadgets linked to the community. There may be fast entry to many settings akin to enabling visitor entry, parental controls, and system prioritization.

Throughout the app, there are sections to run a velocity check, entry Wi-Fi settings, view all linked gadgets, allow notifications if Web entry ever disappears, and to tinker with the extra superior Velop settings.

One factor we observed that was odd was the flexibility to show off DHCP for the router and basically put it into bridge mode was absent. That is one thing we see with plenty of mesh routers, however it was doable to assign a static IP to the WAN aspect of the community.

Parental controls permit the administrator to create schedules that pause Web entry and block particular web sites for any system linked to the community. It’s fairly fundamental, however can nonetheless be helpful for households.

Gadget prioritization is one in every of our favourite options for the trendy residence community, which may help in prioritizing gadgets used for streaming or taking part in video games. You might be restricted to 3 gadgets to prioritize, which was sufficient for our testing —and needs to be sufficient for many setups.

Use and velocity

Velop AC3900 Router

We used each the brand new AC3900 and the bigger AC6600 for some time now in quite a lot of eventualities in two totally different places. In each a smaller 1,500 sq. foot townhome and a bigger four,000 sq. foot two-story home, sign energy was robust.

With the townhome being in a really crowded condominium complicated, we observed no distinction in speeds with all the congestions of numerous different wi-fi networks in shut proximity. That is one thing that may be problematic for different routers —together with the dearly departed AirPort Excessive or Time Capsule.

We observed no dramatic community slowdowns, and pretty spectacular speeds as nicely. Speeds had been barely slower on the smaller AC3900 routers, which is to be anticipated. Our testing atmosphere was arrange with gigabit web, far quicker than the wi-fi efficiency may deal with, in order that was not the limiting think about our checks.

On the AC6600 router, we averaged round 366 Mbps down and 190 Mbps up. In the identical environments, the AC3900 was pulling 205 Mbps down and 186 up. Each routers had been in a position to outperform their rated specs.

Twin-band AC3900 vs tri-band AC6600

This new mannequin, the AC3900, is a barely smaller, slower, and more cost effective variant of the AC6600.

When put next, Linksys says the AC3900 is provisioned for web speeds as much as 100 Mbps, whereas the AC6600 can deal with as much as 300 Mbps. Bigger properties additionally profit from barely extra protection on the AC6600.

The newer AC3900 can also be solely dual-band (one 2.four GHz and one 5 GHz), the place the AC6600 is tri-band (one 2.four GHz and two 5 GHz). That is what Linksys actually sells the distinction on, so you will need to know what advantages three bands can supply.

Bodily, there are additionally a pair variations. The brand new AC3900 is a bit smaller in stature in comparison with their tri-band brethren. Linksys additionally moved the ports from the underside, to the rear of the unit, eliminating the built-in cable administration on the identical time. In any other case, there may be nonetheless the identical pair of Ethernet ports and the ability port.

Traditionally, tri-band routers are fairly a bit dearer. So you will need to ensure they’re wanted earlier than taking the plunge. Customers who’ve an entire lot of 5 GHz gadgets will discover the largest distinction on tri-band.

Simplistically, having a second 5 GHz community is like including an additional lane to the freeway. Extra gadgets can hop on the community and be much less prone to negatively influence Wi-Fi speeds.

These with a a lot bigger residence, quick web above 100 Mbps, or numerous 5 GHz gadgets ought to go for the bigger AC6600 setup. These with barely smaller properties, fewer gadgets, or web under 100 Mbps, which is realistically a lot of the United States, will just do high quality with the extra inexpensive AC3900.

Conclusion

Velop AC3900 Router and HomePod

There at the moment are many choices for these excited by Velop routers, and issues to think about when selecting between them. There are two totally different fashions, after which one, two, or three packs of every of them.

Except you’ve got a house above four,500 sq. toes, have extraordinarily web quicker than 100Mbps, or a lot of 5 GHz gadgets, the extra inexpensive AC3900 will go well with for much less dough.

Speeds had been stable, sign was nice, and setup is comparatively painless with both choice. In comparison with the remainder of the market, the worth is a nonetheless a bit on the excessive finish, however the high quality is unquestionably there to assist justify the fee.

In terms of velocity, if that is your final objective, there are different standalone routers that may finest both mannequin of the Velop system, however they might not supply the expandability and protection we see right here.

Score: four.5 out of 5 stars

The place to purchase

Amazon has each variations of the Velop routers out there with the tri-band three pack running $497.97, and the dual-band three pack running only $299.99. Single and two-packs are additionally out there.

B&H also has the tri-band Velop system for $499.99, and Best Buy has the new dual-band models for $299.99.

For different choices, you should definitely take a look at our roundup of great AirPort router alternatives which incorporates a number of mesh techniques and particular person routers.

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