Linksys (WHW0303) Velop Triband Whole Home Mesh Wifi System Review

At a glance

The Velop Mesh Router System is Linksys first entry and forays into the market of mesh Wi-Fi systems that incorporate plug-in rather than the standard tabletop nodes.

The Velop Mesh Router System utilizes a tri-band system that already puts it above most of the competition.

However, Linksys is not content with just having a tri-band system and saw fit to equip the Velop with their signature Linksys Intelligent Mesh technology.

How does this proprietary Wi-Fi mesh technology improve the Velop's performance?

That is what we will be answering in this review as well as other key points to help you decide whether this is the Wi-Fi mesh system that you need.

The Linksys Velop features a vertical design that gives off the modern and minimalist appeal. You can also choose from a one-unit package to a three-piece pack.

This allows customers to expand their mesh system if needed as they can choose to purchase a single unit.

So, how does the Linksys Velop Mesh System compare to others in the market?

Is this another top-tier product from the well-known wireless technology manufacturer? Let's find out.

Main Features

1.

Tri-band AC2200 (5GHz 867Mbps + 5GHz 867Mbps + 2.4GHz 400Mbps)

2.

716 MHz Quad-core processor

3.

512MB RAM and 4GB Flash memory

4.

802.11b/a/g/n/ac network standard

5.

MU-MIMO wireless technology

6.

x6 Internal antennas equipped with Beamforming technology

7.

2x LAN/WAN auto-sensing Gigabit Ethernet ports

Design

Minimalist and Modern Aesthetics

A complete opposite of the standard router design, the Linksys Velop takes on a visually pleasing appearance with its compact vertical build.

Most routers, even modern ones, typically feature angular and large exterior cases with a substantial number of external antennas.

While this appeals to a majority of customers, sometimes you want a neat router to complement your modern and organized home.

This is where the Linksys Velop belongs. The low-key design makes it more like a modern interior decoration than a high-tech wireless system.

Since a Wi-Fi mesh system will be installed in different areas of the residence, the design is a priority for most manufacturers.

This is why you see this type of router incorporating a vastly different approach when it comes to appearance. It needs to be not only functional but also stylish.

The Linksys Velop hits the mark with its minimalistic design which will undoubtedly blend nicely into your home's interior design.

The compact design leaves a considerably small footprint and helps the router and nodes to blend into the background. The Velop is not designed to catch attention.

No Nonsense Practical Build

The Linksys Velop router/node all have a measurement of 4.7 x 3 x 2.1-inches (HWD).

It is also around 7.3-inches tall and only takes about 3-inches in regards to the square base of the unit, which makes it considerably more compact than the NETGEAR Orbi with its ball-shaped design.

Behind the router is a mesh covering which gives it ample ventilation while also giving it that premium shine. The front side is pretty simple with its solid white design.

If you are not a fan of the all-white aesthetic, the Linksys Velop comes in black as well. However, this version does not seem to be available in all markets.

The Velop also took into account cable management into its design with a small gap at the bottom which you can use to store extra cables to prevent your rig from looking like a tangled mess of cords.

This is a simple yet highly welcome design inclusion and fits perfectly well with what the Linksys Velop is aiming for in regards to its overall design.

Also, of note are the LED status indicators which are subtly implemented into the outer case, which prevents it from being too distracting.

Setup

A Piece of Cake to Set Up

Staying true to its user-friendly aesthetics, the Linksys Velop also provides users with a quick and easy way to set up their home mesh system.

This Wi-Fi mesh system is a 'plug-and-play' device with its straightforward and automated installation process. Setting up the Velop is a pretty standard Wi-Fi mesh system affair.

You take one of the nodes and use it as the primary router that connects your network to the internet via modem. You can then use the other Velop units to extend your Wi-Fi range.

AS we have already stated, setting up the Linksys Velop is incredibly easy. Just plug in the primary router, allow it to boot, go to the official web portal and follow the procedure via the Setup Wizard.

Once done, update your Wi-Fi login credentials (the SSID and password) and you are ready to go. As for the nodes, please place them in an ideal location in your home, plug them in, and wait for it to connect to the main router automatically.

There is also a Linksys app that you can download and install on your smartphone (Android and iOS) to access your mesh router settings.

The app allows you to make adjustments on your router without needing to go to the Linksys web portal.

However, do take note that depending on how many extra units you will install (we used the 3-pack Velop mesh router system), complete installation may take a while.

In our case, it took us about 30 minutes to completely set up the Wi-Fi mesh system – a majority of which was waiting for the units to boot up and connect to the main router.

Functionalities and Features

Limited and Basic Features

The Linksys Velop's weak point undoubtedly resides with its barebones features.

While not exactly a deal-breaker, this limited number of elements does exactly endear this Wi-Fi mesh system to the more hardcore internet user base like gamers and streamers.

Then again, the Linksys Velop seems to be aimed towards the more casual customer base.

The Linksys Velop also won't appeal to users that wish to customize their network as the optimization settings that are found here are incredibly restrictive.

For example, the ability to customize the Wi-Fi network is pretty much non-existent with everything already pre-programmed.

While the Wi-Fi network is already optimized by default, I still prefer having the ability to tweak and adjust specific settings when needed.

Because of this limited network customization capability, I don't recommend the Linksys Velop for users who like to go in-depth when it comes to optimizing their router settings.

However, this also makes the Linksys Velop an appealing choice for beginners and newbies who prefer a decent plug and play Wi-Fi mesh system.

The Linksys Velop indeed aims for the family market if you check the additional Wi-Fi features that it does provide, namely, bandwidth prioritization and parental controls. Still, I found both parts to be somewhat clunky compared to other routers.

Parental control, for example, only allows limiting one device at any given time.

Velop does not offer the ability to restrict multiple connected devices at once or scheduling of internet connection which is a common feature in most router parental control settings.

Hopefully, Linksys will rectify this with a firmware update in the future.

Reliable Tri-band Router

What the Linksys Velop lacks in features, it more than makes up for with its foundations. The Velop incorporates a dedicated backhaul, one 5GHz stream, which helps in linking together the satellite nodes with each other.

What this simple solution does is eliminate one of the most common issues in mesh Wi-Fi systems, the 50% reduction in signal efficiency between the main router and the nodes.

This guarantees that the nodes will be able to broadcast at the optimum range and deliver the best possible throughput.

As you can see, what the Velop lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in delivering robust raw mesh Wi-Fi system performance.

Extra Supplemental Features

The Linksys app offers some additional functions to help provide further convenience to the user.

However, the available settings found in the app is quite limited and displays only a handful of customizable router configurations.

Opening the app will lead you to the main dashboard, which displays your internet's status and a list of all connected devices to the network.

Navigating through the rudimentary interface will also lead you to parental control, bandwidth prioritization, and guest network.

As we have already discussed earlier, parental control feels outdated with only a handful of features available, and these features are limited themselves.

The bandwidth prioritization feature is pretty self-explanatory and allows users to pick specific devices to receive the lion's share of the bandwidth. Think of it as a prototype version of the Quality of Service (QoS).

The Guest Network allows users to allow specific devices to connect to the internet using their Wi-Fi without enabling them to access network-specific files and tools such as printers.

The Velop also allows users to subscribe to the Linksys Shield, which costs around $4.99/month. This feature provides users access to a child, pre-teen, and adult presets depending on the user/device.

The Child preset restricts the device from accessing websites that are known to contain adult content as well as limit access to websites that offer downloads and social media sites as well.

The Pre-teen preset still blocks access to websites that contain adult content but releases some of the restrictions concerning downloading. The Adult preset releases all limits to the user.

Performance

Stable Speed and Impressive Range

Since this a Wi-Fi mesh system, signal coverage will be its main selling point. If you live in an unusually large abode, this type of router might be ideal in your specific case.

The Linksys Velop offers quite an impressive range even if you have only one unit/router.

At 25-feet away, the Velop managed to maintain stable throughput speeds. Double the distance, we did notice a considerable drop of almost 50% in its speeds but consider this, this is just with one unit. We haven't even plugged in the additional satellite nodes, yet.

To help you determine the best distance between each Velop satellite node, I recommend you use the Linksys mobile app speed test.

However, I do want to stress one particular aspect of the Velop router, its max throughput speeds.

The Linksys Velop hits the ceiling at 50Mbps. It is essential to take this into account, mainly if your ISP provides you with higher bandwidth as the Velop will not be able to support premium speeds.

In terms of file transfers, though, the Velop went above and beyond what was expected. It managed to deliver double the transfer speeds than that of the NETGEAR Orbi.

Overall, the Linksys Velop appears to be aimed at casual, and family internet users with its simplicity and user-friendly interface.

The range that each node can provide also makes the Velop an excellent Wi-Fi mesh system for larger residences.

Price

As a mid-range Wi-Fi mesh system, the Velop is quite expensive than most of the other Wi-Fi mesh system routers in the market.

That said, the Linksys Velop is a little rough around the edges and lacks in the router feature department. This is a rudimentary Wi-Fi mesh system in every sense of the word.

It will appeal to casual internet users and families living in a large home. Its simple configuration means you won't need to tinker with the router as it will automatically go for the optimum settings.

Of course, that also highlights the Linksys Velop's limitations.

Pros

  • Excellent throughput speeds at short to medium range per Velop unit/node.
  • Beginner-friendly and straightforward interface.
  • It is equipped with MU-MIMO technology.
  • Sleek, minimalist, and modern design.

Cons

  • Very expensive in comparison to its competition.
  • It has limited features and functionalities.

Final Verdict

Due to the exceptionally high price tag, the Linksys Velop is not the most enticing choice of the bunch.

There are cheaper alternatives out there if you are looking for a Wi-Fi mesh system. What the Linksys Velop brings is the ease of use, but that price tag will still make customers pause.

There are other Wi-Fi mesh systems out there that are available at a lower price tag and more features, so I suggest you check those out first.

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