Linksys is jumping on the mesh network bandwagon with the introduction of Velop, a tri-band modular Wi-Fi system that can be installed in various mesh configurations. The benefit of going this route versus a traditional router is that mesh networks are designed to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones, as well as offer fast speeds to every nook and cranny. It is particularly useful for large homes.
Each Velop node is itself a tri-band AC2200 devices that functions as a router, range extender, access point, and bridge. Normally juggling so many functions would leave less experienced users scratching their head in bewilderment before calling up their tech savvy nephew, but as we've seen in other mesh products, setup is made easy through an accompanying mobile app available for iOS and Android.
What is unique about Velop compared to the growing number of mesh network solutions is that Linksys claims it is the only one to combine the technical benefits of three Wi-Fi radios with true mesh capabilities. In doing so, Linksys says it can deliver 100 percent of a user's broadband Internet speed to the edges of the network. That is an advantage over a traditional router and range extender combination or dual-band modular mesh systems, as in those setups the Wi-Fi speed is halved with each "hop" from one access point to the next.
"If you are paying for 100 Mbps from your Internet service provider, then you want to get all that speed in every corner of your house," said Justin Doucette, senior director of product management at Linksys.
With three bands to play with (one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz), Velop automatically and dynamically determines the fastest path from the modem and "parent" node to each "child" node. This ensures that all devices benefit from the fastest speeds available no matter which node they're connected to.
While setup is easy using the mobile app, there is a fair amount of control available to more experienced users. Once configured, the app serves as Wi-Fi management tool with guess access, parental controls, device prioritization, and other tweakable bits.
So what's the catch? Mesh networks can be comparatively expensive. The Velop is no exception—Linksys has set pricing for a single node at $200. That might be sufficient for smaller homes and apartments, but multiple nodes are needed in order to benefit from having a mesh network. To that end, a two-pack is set at $350 and a three-pack will run $500.
Velop will be available to purchase starting January 15 at Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, Fry's, Newegg, Microcenter, Staples, and direct from Linksys.com.