Review Linksys Velop Mesh Router
The Linksys Velop Mesh Router
In a little bit of a departure from the norm today, I will be reviewing the Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi Router. As you know there are a few choices on the market including products from Netgear, Google and the originator of the mesh router, Eero. But first a little bit of history on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ I bought this equipment.
For a number of years now, my two story house has always suffered from very slow WiFi speeds. Even in the next room but still close to the actual router, the signal would be much slower than what I felt I should be getting. Part of the reason is my house was built in the 1950’s and the walls of the main floor are constructed of a plaster and a metal mesh type lath. The density of the plaster along with the metal lath more than likely contributes to the degraded signal. So over the course of the past several years, I’ve spent a considerable amount of money on solutions that gave me varying degrees of success.
Recently, I upgraded my internet service to Verizon’s FiOS 1GBps plan. Yes, that’s one GIGABYTE per second. Now as Verizon claims, that speed is advertised as “up to” and is only really attainable if I use a direct ethernet connection or connect wirelessly on the 5GHz signal and almost standing on top of the router. As you ask yourself why do I need such speeds, it should be noted I cut cable several years ago (best decision EVER), and with two kids that have iPads, my internet needs, etc, the bandwidth and throughput is needed for all the streaming. The buffering while in the middle of watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead gets old pretty fast!
For those of you that are new to the mesh network, it does differ from using something like an extender. An extender essentially takes whatever signal it gets and tries to push that signal a farther distance to help with bandwidth and throughput. The issue with extenders is that the signal it pushes is as slow as what it is receiving. Furthermore, it makes you create a whole separate SSID/Login in addition to your default router SSID/Login which can be very confusing to you and your WiFi devices. The mesh network essentially replaces your default WiFi with its own very simple and easy to use SSID/Login. But the signal is blanketed all over your house and with a couple of nodes (more on these later) the signal will be as strong as what you get close to your router. Confused? Here is a link that better explains it in detail: Mesh Network Description
After much trial and error, I decided to look into the mesh router option. As with any significant purchase, I went to those trusty interwebs and started reading reviews (like this one) to decide which one to buy. I read all the pros and cons to each brand and decided on the Linksys Velop system. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Ease of setup with the Linksys App.
2. Performance was consistently reviewed higher with the Linksys.
3. Linksys app has much better interface than competitors.
4. After extensive discussion with Best Buy Geek Squad guy, Linksys seemed better for my situation.
So I bought the Linkys Velop 2 pak in black for $349.00. As of the writing of this review, Best Buy has them on sale for $299.00. Click this link!
The packaging was nice and straight forward. Once unboxed, you simply pull out the quick start guide and follow the directions. Mainly, you need to download the Linksys App to your smart phone and then just follow the prompts. I will say that after messing with so many routers and extenders over the past few years, the setup using the app was really very simple. You essentially plug in your first node, hook it up to the router you use to get your internet, then allow it some time to configure. You’ll then assign an SSID and password to login. Once that is done, you set up your second node where you think it will be best to blanket your house/apartment. The app even tests the signal quality to assure you its in the best possible location. And folks….thats IT!
After doing some speed tests around my house using SpeakEasy, I found my speeds were significantly faster. One thing to keep in mind is to disable the WiFi signal on your default router. This is important because both signals will operate on the same band and competing signals will degrade your signal considerably. Once properly configured, you should have one WiFi signal being pushed by the Linksys Velop routers and thats it.
In conclusion, I would say that I’m very happy with my purchase and the router performs as advertised. Setup was a complete breeze and I like that it self-tests to ensure your second node is in an optimal location. Depending on the layout of your house or apartment, you may only need one node or you may need 3 or more if you have a huge mansion. My house is a two level with about a 1000 square feet per floor. If you are having issues with dead spots or walls like mine that inhibit your signal where buffering is the norm, I would say take a look at this system.