Linksys Velop mesh WiFi review
Are all mesh WiFi systems the same already?
Only yesterday we reviewed the Google WiFi mesh stem and raved about how it had rendered the entire wireless router-plus-range-extender way of networking obsolete. Now here’s Linksys with its rival Velop system.
As with Google WiFi, the Velop system took five minutes to set up and some five minutes to test. The Linksys app walks you through setting your wireless nodes up before automatically updating them. After that you are given access to identical features like parental controls, guest access and device prioritization.
It’s basically exactly the same as Google’s system in every way. Each node has a power connector, two Ethernet ports and a reset button. Linksys differs slightly in that there’s also an on/off button.
As with Google WiFi, advanced features like VPNs on a regular router are missing. You can still use your regular router as normal, though.
In terms of specs the Linksys A2200 system is technically faster than Google’s AC2200 offering but in the real world, few people will notice any difference – newer WiFi technologies count for much less than range and local environmental conditions when it comes to performance. Nonetheless, if the following marketing statement means anything to you, then the Linksys system is technically better, “Dynamic Tri-Band – Each Velop node is a Tri-Band AC 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO radio configuration with combined speed up to 2200 Mb/s. This technical design provides faster speeds at the edge of the network by using algorithms to achieve optimal path calculations. This eliminates the bottlenecking effect that is present with traditional router and range extender combinations as well as dual-band modular Wi-Fi systems.”
When we tested in our three storey Sydney townhouse using an iPad Pro and OOKLA's Speedtest, performance was basically the same (i.e. much better than our top-end MU-MIMO group test and range extender devices)...
Next to the primary node
One floor up in the bedroom
Two floors up in the attic
So what’s different? Aesthetics are different. We have to say we prefer Google’s classy round nodes more than we do Linksys’ plastic towers. But this is no deal breaker. Our main annoyance came from Linksys’s silly, stylised power adapters which are fat and square and can stop other plugs plugging into adjacent plug sockets. But again, this is minor.
So it all comes down to price. Google WiFi costs $499 for a three-node system while additional nodes cost $199. For Linksys Velop a one-pack costs $350, a two-pack $650 while a three-pack costs an eye-watering $800.
So unless WiFi channel technology means a great deal to you, the Google is the one to buy by virtue of a dramatically-lower price. However, now that this mesh WiFi technology has essentially become comoditised already, expect other manufacturers to appear in the Australian market quickly and for prices to plummet across the board.
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