Mesh routers that are designed to overcome coverage issues and dead zones in large homes and offices by adding multiple access points or nodes that communicate with each other (directly) are now quite popular.
Using Mesh routers you have the freedom to extend your network coverage in any direction and across multiple floors without much hazel. Which is also why they are considered an ideal solution for smart connected homes.
Linksys, a popular American company known for its networking hardware, also retails a few Mesh routers in India. The one we will discussing today is the Velop Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi Router System that comes in three different variations depending on the number of nodes that you go for.
This tri-band system based on Linksys’s intelligent mesh technology is easy to set-up and manage. Is it the one you should buy? Let’s find out.
|Velop Tri-band AC6600 WHW0303-AH||3||6000 sq.ft||Rs. 49,999|
|Velop Tri-band AC4400 WHW0302-AH||2||4000 sq.ft||Rs. 31,158|
|Velop Tri-band AC2200 WHW0301-AH||1||2000 sq.ft||Rs. 15,487|
Note: In accordance with accepted router naming nomenclature, the AC in the name denotes Wi-Fi 802.11ac support and the number next to it indicates the theoretical maximum bandwidth summed up for all bands and nodes (more of a marketing thing, really).
Dual-band mesh Velop routers with different model numbers are also listed on Amazon. Try not to get confused.
Box Content and Tech Specs
We have the three-node package for review and the box comes with 3 routers, their DC adaptors, one ethernet cable, and other documentation.
Linksys Velop AC4400 Review: Design and Specs
Like other modern mesh routers, the Linksys Tri-band Vellop has a premium design that isn’t marred by protruding antennas and will blend well with your home decor. Each node is quite sleek and compact measuring just 7.9 cm(l) x 7.9 cm(w) x 18.8 cm(h) in dimensions, and feels solid and substantial.
In India, these Vellop routers are available only in white color option. Two facets have a smooth matte finish and can be easily wiped clean, while the other two, and the flat top surface, have perforated holes or mesh design that also help with cooling purposes.
The LED indicator at the top glows in multiple colors to depict internet status, and one corner at the bottom has a neat notch to accommodate DC adapter and ethernet cable you’d plug to the node. In fact, there’s space at the bottom for cable management that you may use to tuck the remaining extra cable.
There are only two ethernet ports at the bottom per node. This is good enough for us for both home and office use, but perhaps if you prefer a stable wired connection for certain devices or if you need to directly connect office equipment like printers, storage drives, etc. to the router, 2 ethernet ports might be a limitation.
Linksys Velop AC4400 Review: Installation and App features
Setting up the Linksys Vellop is extremely simple if you use the Linksys app. The router pairs with the proprietary app on Android or iOS phone using Bluetooth 4.0 and all you need to do is follow pictorially demonstrated instructions in the app to get the job done.
You will have to sign in or register for the Linksys account to simplify the process. The App also gives you access to all key Wi-Fi settings and lets you decide a number of preferences.
The app has parental controls (block specific websites, individual devices, etc.), device prioritization (you may grant priority access to three devices), lets you monitor connected devices, can be used to conduct a speed test, and toggle with advanced settings like MAC address filtering, port forwarding and more.
To unlock more features, you will have to subscribe to the Linksys Shield subscription plan that costs Rs. 419/ month or Rs. 4,199/ year.
Linksys Velop AC4400 Review: Performance and Software
Each node has 6-internal antennas and three bands – 2.4GHz (up to 400Mbps), 5GHz 802.11b/g/n (maximum throughput: 867Mbps), and 5GHz 802.11ac (maximum throughput: 867Mbps).
The 2.4GHz channel has a better range, and the 5GHz radio provides better throughput. By default, you can not decide what channel you wish to use for a particular device. The router automatically allocates the relevant and clearest channel to your device.
However, if you access router settings via browser, you will find the option to use different SSID for 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and can then manually connect your device to the band of your choice.
Since these are mesh routers, none has to serve as a primary node. You may combine any number of nodes depending on the floor area you need to cover. And the network formed is self-healing. That is, if one of the nodes is unplugged, the other nodes will coverup for it.
You can also use Alexa to control guest mode or ask for your Wi-Fi password, but that requires users to enable the Linksys Skill, which is not yet available on the Amazon India Skill store (it’s there on the Global store).
We tested the router in an 1800 sq ft home across two floors with around 7 connected devices and in our 4500 sq ft office floor where three nodes were connected to around 40 devices. In both cases, we got a full blanket of coverage within the premises, but at the same time, the range wasn’t unexpectedly awesome either.
At times we did experience packet loss, but such occurrences weren’t very frequent. The data transfer rate and Wi-Fi speed from Linksys Vellop Tri-band router were at par with the best available options in India.
In Netstress benchmark, we managed to get a throughput of around 47Mbps with 7 devices connected to the router. For best performance, we’d recommend that you place the nodes not more than 8 to 10 meters apart.
The router handled multiple connected devices rather well and we didn’t face any issue with streaming content across different devices.
Linksys Velop AC4400 Router System Review
The Linksys tri-band Velop mesh router is a good option for users who need to extend their Wi-Fi network across a wide area or connect a large number of devices. It also looks awesome and gives you the flexibility to choose any number of nodes or to easily add more nodes in the future. Also, the compatible Linksys app is perhaps the most intuitive router apps around.
Performance-wise, it doesn’t outdo other tri-band mesh routers like the Netgear Orbi RBK50 (that are also a tad cheaper) but is at par with them.
The Linksys Velop Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi Router is not the cheapest mesh router you can buy, but it’s perhaps the best looking, and the most convenient to set up and manage.