Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi System Review 2020 Latest Updated Review
The Linksys Velop Plug-In is a three-piece mesh Wi-Fi system designed for ease of use, but less-expensive and more feature-packed competitors offer a better value.
The Linksys Velop — Belkin’s first home mesh Wi-Fi system — finds itself right between the Google Wifi and Netgear Orbi in terms of performance.
There is room in this new category for routers of different product tiers, but with middling performance, the fewest features and the highest price of those competitors, the Velop is hard for me to recommend.
By comparison, the Google Wifi costs $300 for a set of three or $130 for a single unit.
And the Netgear Orbi costs $400 for a set of two units, which are strong enough to deliver the same Wi-Fi coverage as three units of other systems.
Like all Wi-Fi systems, you use one unit of the Velop as the main router to connect to an internet source, such as a broadband modem.
After that, if you have a large home, you put the rest of the nodes one or two rooms away from the main unit to automatically extend your Wi-Fi coverage.
The setup process is easy as long as you have smart phone, and like many other mesh routers, there are no alternative set up options like a web interface.
Just download the Linksys app, follow the instructions to register and log in with a Linksys account the rest is self-explanatory.
Keep in mind that, like the case of the Google Wifi, your home network powered by the Velop will stay connected to Linksys at all times.
What makes the Velop better than the Google Wifi is the fact that each unit is a tri-band dual stream (2×2) router with two 5GHz bands (867 megabits per second each) and one 2.4GHz band (400Mbps).
The system dedicates one 5GHz band for backhaul, the job of linking the nodes together.
This minimizes the effect of signal loss, which is the 50 percent efficiency reduction that always occurs if a band has to both receive and rebroadcast the Wi-Fi signal at the same time.
This means the Velop only has to deal with signal degradation over distance.
In my trial, I got full speed at up to 25 feet away; by 50 feet, I got about half the speed, and the farther out I ventured, the slower the connection between nodes would get.
The mobile app has a test function that helps determine the optimal distance between nodes.
Good, But Basic
The Linksys Velop Plug-In makes it easy to create a mesh network that will blanket your home with Wi-Fi.
It’s a breeze to install and can be managed from your phone with a well-designed mobile app or from a PC using a more traditional web-based console.
However, its performance is merely average, and you’ll have to pay extra for strong parental controls and malware protection tools.
For about $100 less, the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Mesh Wi-Fi System offers better performance, free robust parental controls and anti-malware protection for three years, and it doubles as a home automation hub. It remains our Editors’ Choice for mesh Wi-Fi systems.
- Quick, easy installation.
- Mobile app and web-based management.
- Uses plug-in nodes.
- Mixed performance.
- Limited parental controls.
- Lacks anti-malware protection.
- Nodes lack LAN ports
Plug and Play
The Velop Plug-in system comes with a main router and two nodes that plug in to a wall outlet.
This gives you the ability to place them anywhere in your home that has a socket without worrying about unsightly cords.
The router is the same mini-tower used in the original Velop system that we reviewed back in 2017. It is 7.28 inches tall and measures 3.07 by 3.07 inches at the base and 2.6 by 2.6 inches at the top.
There’s a single LED indicator on the top of the tower that flashes blue during startup, glows blue when connected, turns red when the internet connection is lost, and turns purple during setup.
There are two gigabit LAN ports on the base, along with a reset button, a power switch, and a power jack.
As with the original Velop, there are no USB ports.
The Velop Plug-In system is installed and managed using the same Linksys mobile app (iOS and Android) used to control the Linksys Velop Dual-Band Wi-Fi system, and it also offers a web-based console for PC-based control.
The mobile app opens to a Dashboard screen that displays the internet status (online, offline) the number of connected devices, and the network name.
There are also buttons for guest networking, parental controls, and device prioritization.
TP-Link’s HomeCare plan offers similar parental controls as well as malware protection for their Deco M9 Plus Wi-Fi system, but unlike the Linksys Shield plan, it’s free for three years.
After that you’ll have to sign up for a subscription. Asus offers the best deal around with their AIProtection plan:
it’s free for as long as you own your router or Wi-Fi system and includes malware protection, age appropriate parental controls, and infected device detection.
Back at the Dashboard, tap the three-bar icon in the upper left corner to access individual device settings.
where you can enable prioritization and parental controls, check the IP address, and see which node the device is connected to.
There’s also a Speed Check option to see how fast you can upload and download content from the internet.
Specs – Linksys Velop AC3900 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi System
- Router type: AC1300
- Wireless: Dual-Band
- MU-MIMO: Yes
- Dimensions: 78.7 mm x 78.7mm x 139.7 mm per node.
- Processor: 716MHz Quad-Core
- Antennas: 3 antennas and high-powered amplifiers
- Ports: 2x Gigabit Ethernet,
Design – Looks, Feel and Features
The new Velop AC3900 is Linksys’ second stab at the mesh Wi-Fi market. It’s less powerful than their previous tri-band system but – again – it’s also much more competitive when it comes to price.
Each node in the mesh system is a tall, white rectangle with a grilled tent-like roof to it. This block-like shape does make them a little bulkier than the D-Link’s Covr or TP-Link’s Deco nodes