Linksys has launched a new version of its Velop mesh router system, one that is smaller and more affordable than its previous offering. The new Velop Dual-Band series is intended to be the world’s first mass-market mesh Wi-Fi system, with Linksys claiming it provides the same software features found in its Velop Tri-Band family, including Intelligent Mesh, advanced parental controls, website block, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and more.
“Velop is now the most flexible whole home mesh W-iFi system on the market,” said Justin Doucette, senior director of product management at Linksys. “We have a Velop offering that fits any home or small business environment as well as options for different broadband service packages to deliver the best Wi-Fi experience for all the devices on the network. Our new Velop Dual-Band provides the price for performance that customers are looking for plus all the intelligent software and security features that continue to be updated for real time access to the latest enhancements.”
Pricing is the key here—mesh networking only recently has started to infiltrate the mainstream market, though not all of the options out there are affordable, especially when dealing with multiple units to cover larger homes. In this case, pricing breaks down as follows:
- Linksys Velop Dual-Band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System (1-Pack) WHW0101 – $130
- Linksys Velop Dual-Band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System (2-Pack) WHW0102 – $200
- Linksys Velop Dual-Band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System (3-Pack) WHW0103 – $300
Some of the more expensive non-mesh routers on the market have higher price tags than the 3-pack. That really should only be necessary for larger homes with dead spots scatter about in remote corners. And compared to the company’s Tri-Band models, these are much cheaper. A single Tri-Band model sells for $200, whereas it costs $350 for a 2-pack and $500 (currently on sale for $450) for a 3-pack.
Each Velop node is a dual-band 802.11ac Wave 2 router with MU-MIMO, offering a combined speed of 1,300 Mbps. They’re built to connect with each other over Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet connection, or a combination of the two—the nodes auto configure themselves to connect in multiple different mesh topologies. The Velop Dual-Band nodes are also compatible with the company’s Tri-Band models, so you can install both on the same network. That wouldn’t make much sense from the get-go, though if you already own a Tri-Band node and want to extend coverage, buying a Dual-Band node is a more affordable way of doing that.
The Velop Dual-Band nodes are available to pre-order now from Linksys and a range a retailers, and will ship on May 15. In addition, Linksys says it’s planning to release a Velop Wall Mount accessory in June that will allow users to hang a node in a high location on the wall, or remove it from a shelf to clear up clutter.