Linksys Velop AC3900 Mesh Wi-Fi | Review

Linksys Velop
  • Design
  • Usability
  • Price
4.5

Summary

Pros

  • Great design
  • Priced very well
  • Strong performance

 

Cons

  • Difficult to set up and proved to be time-consuming
  • The app was a bit buggy

 

A very affordable, capable and reliable mesh wi-fi solution

We’re back with some more mesh for you and this time it comes in the form of the Velop system from networking veterans Linksys.

Before we begin and get down to it, it’s best we remind you what a Mesh Wi-fi system is and how they’re used.

Mesh Wi-Fi is essentially used to your home a one network blanket wi-fi coverage, unlike wi-fi extenders that can boost your signal in certain areas under different names.

Linksys’ Velop system is the first Mesh system from Belkin and it comes straight into the market to compete against the likes of Google Wifi and Netgear Orbi which we reviewed earlier this year.

Setup

Out of the box, everything is pretty simple and straight simple as you would expect in the system. The contents include 1 Ethernet cable, 3 Nodes and the mains to power them all. Unlike the Orbi system, there is no dedicated “Parent Node” needed here, you can use anyone to get going.

Before setting up its best you download the Linksys app in the App or Play store as its available on both iOS and Android. You’ll need this to set up all three nodes to your system.

Once powered up you’ll be looking for the LED indicators on the top to guide you through the setup process and all are clearly outlined in the instructions.

The parent node was the easiest to set up, and we were up and running with a brand new network within around 10 minutes.

Our difficulties came when trying to pair nodes to the parent to create a full mesh wifi network across the home.

For some reason, we just could not get it to connect and ended up resetting each node around three times. Rest assured each node can get added using an ethernet cable which was MUCH faster and easier. In hindsight, we’d wished we did this from the get-go and it was made clear in the setup booklet.

In order to do this simply connect the new node to the parent and follow the instructions as normal.

It’s not every day we get to praise customer service departments, however, the Linksys call centre was extremely helpful, knowledgeable and on-hand should you run into any issues on the system.

Our advice is to be very patient and ignore any red LED’s you see. The instructions state the node is out of range but this is normal during the set-up process.  Each node takes around 15 mins to set up each, so perhaps get the kettle on and put away some time.

 

Design

The one thing we really liked about the Velop system is the Node design, they’re extremely lightweight and small, perfect for fitting onto a bookshelf and small enough to tuck away into tight corners.

The LED itself is not intrusive and we like the fact it has 2 ethernet ports if you’re needing to network any devices nearby.

We found this particularly useful when setting up our Sonos speakers again, rather than moving the speaker near our main router, we bought the node to each speaker and we were done.

 

Gallery

 

Performance

The performance was generally very good on the Velop system. Our system is has been set up across 3 floors.

  • Parent – Living room
  • Node 1 – Corner of the conservatory
  • Node 2 – Loft room 3rd floor

As a rule of thumb, you’re supposed to link each one across each floor to form a strong link. However, we were receiving around 80 to 90% of our general ISP speed regardless of what room we were situated in.

We tested the speeds from 80 feet away and we’re still getting a solid connection, averaging around 44Mbps.

The beauty of a mesh system, however, is that you can just move around the nodes as and when you need to.

Throughout the day we did experience 1 or 2 drop-outs periods of a few seconds or so on the network. We’re still unsure as to why this is.

 

The App

The Linksys app is the controller for the whole mesh system. The app allows you setup, add new nodes, change your wifi details, add a guest network and set up your parental control.

On iOS, we found the app was slightly buggy in the latest version and we didn’t like the fact you had to add an account to do the initial set up.

Starting up the app can take around 15-20 seconds too as it securely logs you in and then you have to wait further for it to find your router settings.

We like the factor that it automatically optimises each node to the best channel using its channel scanner however again, this took around 10 mins.

 

Video

Conclusion

We had our difficulties, but overall we’re big fans of the performance of the Linksys system. The signal strength from the size of the nodes is brilliant and its priced brilliantly for consumers to get the most of their patchy wifi.

Linksys’ customer service is brilliant and you also get the added benefit of a 2 Year warranty on the product.

We would love to see the app get some updates in the near future but we’ve overall we’ve found this to be a brilliant all-around solution which anyone can pick up and use straight out of the box.

 

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