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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Strong, consistent connection
Good ventilation prevents nodes from overheating
Frustrating setup process
Some features cost extra
The Linksys Velop is a powerful mesh Wi-Fi system that is somewhat overpriced and which suffers from a very buggy setup process.
The Linksys Velop is a mesh router designed to blanket even the largest house in a seamless Wi-Fi network. Can it really offer such an advantage over your bog-standard Modem/router combo?
With an unassuming yet slick look, the Linksys Velop’s diminutive nodes fit in easily with any decor. Two sides are a blank white surface, while the other two and the top are ventilated to release the heat generated by the router. The two ethernet ports on each node, as well as the power switch, reset button, and power adapter port are located in a recessed cavity on the underside of the nodes. Cables are routed out through a triangular slot in the back of the nodes. Power adapters and ethernet cables are included with each node.
Like many other modern Wi-Fi routers, setting up the Linksys Velop is all done through the mobile app. Once installed, the Linksys app quickly detected the first Velop node after I’d plugged in its ethernet cable and power adapter. However, I had significant difficulty getting the Velop to connect to my modem. The app initially failed to pick up an internet signal and had me fully power off my modem for a full two minutes. I went through this process several times without success. I tried reaching out to Linksys technical support to get it up and running, but their advice got me nowhere.
After two days of frustration I reset the router one last time and it just worked, as if it knew I was about to give up on it and had decided it had inflicted enough torture upon me.
Finally, after two days of frustration, I reset the router one last time and it just worked, as if it knew I was about to give up on it and had decided it had inflicted enough torture upon me. I was able to create an account and set up the network easily after this, though getting each node connected required a lot of patience. In addition to the lengthy wait required to connect each note, the entire system initiated a major update that added yet more time to the installation process.
It should also be noted that the color-coding of the indicator light with blue, purple, and red increased the difficulty for me, as my colorblindness made distinguishing the different signals challenging.
While using the Linksys Velop, my Wi-Fi signal never dropped in strength within my 4,000 square foot home, and the Linksys Velop could easily provide an acceptable network throughout a much larger building. I was able to easily connect to the internet from anywhere within my yard, and if somehow the three Velop units aren’t enough you can always buy a fourth to expand your network.
The triband hybrid mesh network produced by the Velop did a good job of eliminating dead zones within my house.
Since I have a slow DSL connection speed, I was unable to test the upper limits of the Velop’s speed capabilities. However, in my tests, I did find that it was able to take full advantage of my connection and in fact, outdid connecting an ethernet connection directly to my router. Speeds were consistent throughout my home, though they started to drop off once I went outdoors and put considerable obstacles between me and the router nodes.
The triband hybrid mesh network, which uses a dynamic combination of 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz networks, produced by the Velop did a good job of eliminating dead zones within my house. This seamless connection is certainly aided by each node’s array of 6 internal antennas.
The Linksys app is intuitive and useful but has an unfortunate Achilles heel. It tells you the status of your connection, which devices are connected, and allows you to check how fast your internet connection currently is. You can also manage prioritization of up to three different devices, set up a guest network, set parental controls, and adjust advanced network settings. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa.
However, some features are annoyingly gated behind a paywall, and the app actively advertises these subscription services to you. The first of these extra features that you have to pay for concerns about parental control. While you can pause internet access for a certain device, schedule internet access pauses, and block specific websites, you have to pay $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year if you want to block websites by category.
There’s also Linksys Aware, which senses motion in your home using your Wi-Fi network and alerts you if an intruder is detected. However, that will cost you $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year. It may not sound like much for either of these services, but those costs add up over the course of a few years, and it’s easy to forget that you’re paying such auto-renewing subscriptions.
With an MSRP of $400, the Linksys Velop is quite a pricey Wi-Fi system to invest in. Also, if you want some of the exciting added features, you’ll be paying extra for those optional services. It’s a little galling to be asked to pay extra for features when the base system is so expensive.
It’s a little galling to be asked to pay extra for features when the base system is so expensive.
The TP-Link Deco P9 is an attractive budget alternative to the Linksys Velop. The Deco 9 was quick and easy to set up, whereas the Velop was a pain to get up and running. The Deco P9 is also almost half the price of the Velop and provides a similar degree of performance. However, I found that Deco P9 was prone to overheating and occasional signal loss, while the Velop stayed reassuringly cool and provided an absolute rock-solid signal.
The Linksys Velop is an expensive, but powerful and reliable mesh Wi-Fi system with a few irritating issues.
At its core, the Linksys Velop is a particularly powerful and high-quality mesh Wi-Fi system. However, I can’t ignore the difficulty I experienced setting it up, and the high cost with some features locked behind subscription fees makes this router hard to recommend over the competition.