Home Reviews Networking Linksys Velop – whole-of-home Wi-Fi modular mesh system

Linksys Velop – whole-of-home Wi-Fi modular mesh system

Linksys has released Velop to envelop the whole-of-home Wi-Fi issue – it claims to be the first AC tri-band modular Wi-Fi system that can be installed in a mesh configuration to provide 100% speed to the edge of the network.

The Velop comes in single, double and three packs to cover up to 560 square metres. Mesh effectively means that you place one unit at the Internet connection point, the second on say, another level in the home and the third elsewhere. While the Mesh concept seems like a range extender it is not – each unit communicates with each other via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet and calculates the best way to deliver the Wi-Fi signal using one SSID (service set identifier network name).

With a traditional router and range extender combinations, the Wi-Fi speed is cut in half with each “hop” from one access point to the next, resulting in users receiving only a fraction of their broadband Internet speed at the edge of the network.

LS Velop range

Chet Pipkin, founder and chief executive of Belkin International, said, “This is the reason I purchased Linksys in 2013.  I had a vision of solving a huge problem in almost everyone’s life, slow and unreliable Wi-Fi. Linksys has always been pioneers in home networking and I knew this was the team that could innovate and deliver the ultimate Wi-Fi experience.  Velop is a union of performance, design, and ease-of-use and provides what everyone wants – seamless, reliable Wi-Fi.  Linksys has set the bar for true mesh networking systems.”

Each node is configured during set-up via the Linksys app leveraging Bluetooth to securely communicate between the mobile device and each node.  After set-up is complete, the Linksys app serves as a Wi-Fi management tool. 

LS Velop network

Velop uses the three radios dynamically to determine the optimal path from the modem and “parent” node to each “child” node to ensure the fastest speeds to all client devices. Dynamic channel scanning algorithms evaluate the wireless environment to select the best band (either 2.4 GHz or one of the two 5 GHz radios onboard) as well as the channels within each band to improve performance between nodes and client devices. 

Each node is a small tower standing just 18cms in height, with a footprint 88% smaller than the average router. The vertical orientation also has performance benefits, with the six antennas placed at the top and middle of the unit, some pushing signal up and down and others pushing signal left and right.

This improves Velop Wi-Fi performance in both single storey and multi-storey homes. To eliminate cable clutter, the base of the design features a cavity where power and Ethernet ports are hidden and a small notch with rubber tabs to organise cables in a clean and tidy manner.

Technical highlights include:

  • Velop hardware – Velop uses a System on a Chip from Qualcomm, the first of its kind that incorporates a 716 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor, three Wi-Fi radios (one 2.4 GHz and two 5.0 GHz) and two auto-sensing LAN/WAN Gigabit ports. This is complemented by 4GB of flash memory, 512MB DDR3 memory and a Bluetooth 4.0/LE radio. Velop contains six antennas and high power amplifiers.
  • Dynamic tri-band – Each Velop node is a tri-dand AC 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO radio configuration with combined speed up to 2200 Mbps. This technical design provides faster speeds at the edge of the network by using algorithms to achieve optimal path calculations. This eliminates the bottleneck effect that is present with traditional router and range extender combinations as well as dual-band modular Wi-Fi systems.
  • True modular Mesh design – Each node is built to connect with each other over Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet if present. They auto configure to connect in multiple different mesh topologies. The nodes have the ability to choose the best path to route data between a client and the Internet. In the event any node loses connection to another node, the remaining nodes will self-heal and re-establish the Internet connection through other nodes.
  • Dynamic channel selection – Velop will dynamically scan the available channels and select the best combination of bands and channels to optimise performance at the time of setup or whenever the user chooses. The Linksys app has a channel finder feature which will automatically find the best channels on demand and resolve congestion and interference issues that can be created by competing Wi-Fi signals.
  • App-led set-up – The new Linksys app automatically identifies the nodes to be set up using Bluetooth and creates a secure connection between the mobile device and each node. The app guides users through the installation process using visual animations where needed to clearly explain each step, including the uninstallation of existing networking hardware. 
  • Patent-pending spot finder technology – During set-up, Velop will recommend the best placement to reduce latency, maximise throughput and improve range and signal strength.
  • Bridge mode – Many consumers using ISP-issued hardware (gateways are known as consumer premises equipment (CPE) devices or a Modem + Wi-Fi Router) cannot remove or replace them as the hardware enables other services such as voice or IPTV. With Velop configured in bridge mode and connected to the gateway, wireless devices connected to the ISP gateway network and wireless devices connected to the Velop mesh Wi-Fi network will be able to communicate with each other and eliminate issues, such as double NAT.  For example, if there is a printer on the ISP gateway network and a computer on the Velop network, the computer will be able to access the printer to print. 
  • Wi-Fi experience – Velop supports one network name and password, one admin login, one interface for management and monitoring; and one guest network for the whole home.   As a result, mobile devices, such as iPhones and laptops, will roam reliably from node-to-node without interruption.
  • Airtime prioritisation - Airtime prioritisation enables faster devices to transmit at faster speeds while the slower device will not impede the speed of Wi-Fi network
  • Automatic updates – Velop is connected to a cloud service that will automatically monitor the status of firmware and update accordingly for security and performance.  Some Whole Home Wi-Fi systems require manual firmware updates to avoid being vulnerable to security infringements. Users have the option to turn off automatic updates. 
  • Future-proofing – As a Tri-Band MU-MIMO router Velop will be relevant technology for years to come.

Specifications

  • Wi-Fi technology: Tri-Band AC2200 (867 + 867 + 400 Mbps) with MU-MIMO and 256 QAM
  • Simultaneous tri-dand Wi-Fi Mesh system
  • Three-year warranty and Support
  • AutoFix and instant alerts
  • Wi-Fi Bands: Simultaneous tri-band (2.4Ghz + 5GHz + 5GHz)
  • Number of Ethernet ports: 2x WAN/LAN auto-sensing gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Antennas: 6x internal antennas and high-powered amplifiers
  • Processor: 716 MHz Quad Core
  • Memory: 4 GB Flash and 512 MB RAM
  • Wireless Encryption: WPA2 personal
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.1" x 3.1" x 7.3" per node
  • Beam-forming: for 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands

Pricing and Availability

The Linksys Velop Whole Home Wi-Fi is available from JB Hi-Fi & Harvey Norman.

  • 1-pack - $349.95
  • 2-pack - $649.95
  • 3-pack - $799.95

 LS Velop

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!