Wireless mesh systems have been gaining popularity over the last few years as a more efficient and convenient alternative to traditional routers or access points. While most mesh systems, at least from Google, Asus, TP-Link, D-Link, Eero (1st gen), etc., have been dual-band solutions, Linksys and Netgear were the first to offer a tri-band solution, with a set of 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands for RX/TX, and a dedicated 5Ghz band for backhaul handling (i.e., to maintain connectivity between the nodes), which greatly minimizes signal loss that occurs while receiving and re-broadcasting over the same band.
The current tri-band Velops retail for around $450 for a three-pack, making them the most expensive mesh system on the market. For comparison, a two-pack of Netgear’s Orbi mesh system provides comparable coverage, packs better specs (quad-stream support on the dedicated 5Ghz band, more ethernet ports, etc.) and currently retails for under $300. The new Velops are now dual-band, which allows them to target a lower price point, but inevitably at the cost of lower performance.
Specs are a standard affair – each node supports dual-stream, dual-band 802.11ac, MU-MIMO, and is rated at AC1300, which translates into a maximum theoretical throughput of up to 1300Mbps. Other features include a dedicated app for network management, support for Alexa, ‘spot finder’ for assistance with optimal node placement and automatic network healing in case of sudden node dropouts. The new models are also interoperable with the tri-band models, which is great for anyone looking to expand their existing network infrastructure on a budget.
The new dual-band Velops will also be sold in one, two or three-packs, but at more palatable price points of $129, $199 and $299 respectively. Pre-orders are now live for the white variant, with shipments commencing on May 15th.