Linksys Velop

An ef­fec­tive true mesh Wi-Fi sys­tem that’s quick and easy to set up, but it’s costly even af­ter a price drop

PC Pro - - News - SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE Three nodes, £333 (£400 inc VAT) from ama­zon.co.uk

Linksys Velop has the same ap­peal on pa­per as the BT Whole Home Wi-Fi. It’s easy to set up and spread­ing a strong sig­nal across your home is as easy as plug­ging ex­tra nodes in where you need cov­er­age.

Once you’ve done that, you shouldn’t need to touch it. As you move around the house, your de­vices con­nect to the node with the strong­est Wi-Fi sig­nal and re­quests are passed around the mesh un­til they reach the base unit, which is at­tached to your main router or mo­dem.

Setup is su­per sim­ple. Each Velop node has built-in Blue­tooth, so there’s no need to faff around en­ter­ing user­names and pass­words first, and once you’ve cho­sen the type of router

or mo­dem you’re con­nect­ing to, the sys­tem sets it­self up, check­ing as you add ex­tra nodes to en­sure you’ve put them in the best place for op­ti­mal through­put and sig­nal strength.

There’s no in­te­grated DSL mo­dem, mean­ing BT, TalkTalk and Sky cus­tomers will need to keep hold of their ex­ist­ing routers, but we had no trou­ble con­nect­ing the sys­tem to a spare Eth­er­net port on our Sky Q Hub.

When it comes to fea­tures, Velop is slightly bet­ter off than BT Whole Home Wi-Fi in that it has two Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net ports per router and a more fully fea­tured app, with ac­cess to de­vice pri­ori­ti­sa­tion and ad­vanced wire­less set­tings such as chan­nel scan­ning. In other re­spects, the BT sys­tem forges ahead, with a 1,733Mbits/sec top speed and 4x4-stream MIMO sup­port to the Velop’s 867Mbits/sec, 2x2-stream MIMO sup­port.

The Velop is tri-band and uses a ded­i­cated 5GHz net­work for in­tern­ode com­mu­ni­ca­tion: it au­to­mat­i­cally and dy­nam­i­cally switches Wi-Fi chan­nels on the fly, and per­for­mance is ex­cel­lent. Up close, down­load speeds hit 78.8MB/sec, while in our tricky kitchen lo­ca­tion with a twin node setup, we saw speeds main­tained at 54MB/sec. Adding a third node in the kitchen cut through­put to 29.6MB/sec, but it’s still our best per­form­ing sys­tem this month.

The Velop’s prob­lem isn’t one of per­for­mance but ex­pense. A twin pack costs more than the Google Wifi, even af­ter a re­cent price drop from Linksys, while BT’s sys­tem is cheaper if you’re af­ter three nodes. Still, if you’re will­ing to pay more, it of­fers faster speeds and some nice ex­tra fea­tures.

ABOVE As you move around the house, your de­vice will con­nect to the node with the strong­est Wi-Fi sig­nal

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