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Apple AirPort is Officially Dead! Now what? – Linksys Velop Review

three AirPort Extreme Base Stations

three AirPort Extreme Base Stations

In case you missed it, Apple has formally introduced the top of lifetime of AirPort Base Stations. They’ll proceed to promote present inventory, however the product won’t get any new options and Apple will not develop this product line. What does that imply for present customers? In case you have an present AirPort WiFi community and it’s up and operating with no points, you’re in all probability superb for some time. I’ve three of the newest AirPort Excessive Base Stations and haven’t had any points. They only work! Nevertheless, I simply changed them. Why? Though I wasn’t having ANY points with my present WiFi community, I’m requested for suggestions on a regular basis. I don’t wish to advocate merchandise that I haven’t truly used. Additionally I appeared right now as a chance to attempt one thing new. Apple AirPort Base Stations haven’t had any actual new options in years. Now that they’ll not be promoting them (as soon as inventory clears), I questioned what Apple can be recommending to clients? One of many techniques they promote within the Apple Shops and on-line is the Linksys Velop system.

Linksys Velop has over four,100 critiques on Amazon.com and has a four.5 star score

Linksys Velop in the family room

Any product that has that many evaluations on Amazon and manages to nonetheless have a four.5 star score signifies that individuals should actually prefer it. I acquired mine setup and I might simply give it a four+ star score, however it’s not good…

AirPort Extreme Bese Station Specs

The AirPort Excessive is 5 years previous!!

Let’s begin with the great and even the good

Linksys Velop is a WiFi mesh system. That signifies that you purchase two or extra relying on the dimensions of the house/condo you’re making an attempt to cowl. Every node is rated to cowl 2,000 sq. ft. A two node Velop system ought to cowl most 1-2 bed room flats/houses and a 3 node Velop system ought to cowl a 5 bed room/6,000 sq. foot house. Now in fact this all is determined by the partitions/flooring/ceilings in your house. Some houses are constructed like bunkers and wi-fi alerts have a more durable time making it from room to room to room. Different/newer houses are constructed with supplies that make it a bit simpler to get good protection. I purchased the three node Velop system to cowl a more moderen four,100 sq foot residence.

With my present AirPort Excessive community I had three base stations. I had two upstairs on every finish of the home and the third one on the primary flooring sort of in the midst of the home. I had ethernet run to some rooms once I had the home constructed (ought to have completed extra rooms) and because of this I might plug the AirPorts into ethernet to get most speeds with out having to repeat the sign from one base station to the subsequent. Nevertheless, I do know that MOST houses don’t have ethernet today. That’s the place a “mesh” system is available in. You plug one node (Velop) into your router after which put the opposite one(s) in different rooms/flooring they usually talk with one another wirelessly! In contrast to older wi-fi setups like Airport the velocity gained’t/shouldn’t lower by like 50% since you’re repeating the sign. Linksys claims that it might be 100% of the sign from node to node. Once more, it will actually range from residence to residence. Though I’ve ethernet in every of the rooms that I needed to switch the Airports with Velop nodes, I needed to place one node within the kitchen space in order that it might be nearer to the patio. This implies no ethernet and it must talk with the “dad or mum” node wirelessly.

The Setup Course of is Actually Good

Linksys Velop Node Installed

You setup the Velop system out of your smartphone or different iOS/Android gadget. I beloved with the ability to obtain their App and begin the setup course of proper from my iPhone X. The setup course of is basically straight ahead. You simply stroll by way of the steps answering the questions. Linksys Velop can substitute your present router. Though I had AirPort Base Stations (which additionally act as routers) I had all the time used a 3rd get together router. This was all the time a weak spot of AirPort. Relating to router configuration and options, AirPort can appear fairly anemic. I had to have the ability to configure sure options for work again within the day that AirPort by no means allowed. Subsequently I used routers from Trendnet, Netgear and my newest is a TP Hyperlink. Throughout my pleasure to setup Velop I simply configured it to hook up with my present TP Hyperlink router. It labored completely establishing the first (mother or father) node. As soon as that one was setup and acquired the newest firmware replace, it then requested if I needed to setup one other one? Earlier than I setup the subsequent one I needed to vary a setting. By default Velop makes use of a single WiFi community identify for each your 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. I had been utilizing two distinct networks for the quicker 5GHz visitors and the slower 2.4GHz visitors. That is the place the set up course of kinda falls brief. Consider it or not, this function can’t be configured within the cellular app. You must set this setting by way of the online interface. I Googled it and located the steps to do it. Now my networks have been setup the best way that they have been on my AirPort base stations with the identical community names and passwords.  I went again to the cellular app and setup the opposite two nodes with no issues.

I really like the channel optimizer!

Linksys Velop wifi channel optimizer

It exhibits me which channels it modified.

One of many issues with dwelling in an city neighborhood is that everybody has WiFi. Because of this you’ll often see a bunch of networks and these networks are all utilizing the identical channels as yours. 2.4GHz networks are probably the most crowded as a result of there are fewer channels to select from. Though 5GHz networks have much more channels that doesn’t assist if a close-by neighbor occurs to be utilizing the identical one you’re utilizing. That is the place the Velop Channel Optimizer actually is useful. After you get the whole lot setup you’ll be able to run it and it examine your present node channels to what’s round you and make the required modifications AUTOMATICALLY. That’s virtually well worth the worth of admission alone because it regulate every node based mostly one the place it’s truly situated and never simply the mum or dad/principal node.

How nicely does it work?

Linksys Velop in my office

The protection is certainly nearly as good and doubtless higher than my older AirPort Excessive community. I undoubtedly received higher sign with the nearer node on the patio and just about all the yard. The velocity additionally appeared nearly as good as AirPort even on the node that was related wirelessly.

It even works with Amazon Alexa

Yep, there’s a Velop talent for Amazon Echo units. You are able to do issues like “Alexa ask Linksys to activate my visitor community.” “Alexa, ask Linksys what’s my wifi password?”

I additionally like the truth that you possibly can allow automated firmware updates that occur at night time and solely take a couple of minutes. The issue with most routers is that the firmware updates have to be executed manually and most of the people by no means examine or do them. That signifies that you’re lacking out on probably necessary safety updates.

Now for the not so good/room for enchancment:

I had an amazing concept and that’s the place it went downhill (briefly)

Like I stated above, Linksys Velop can also be a router. As an alternative of operating it “bridge mode” to my present router I awoke the subsequent morning and determined to set it as much as truly be my router. This additionally provides you the entire Velop function set. In bridge mode you lose a few of the options which might be router particular. I figured why not let Velop do all of it? Routing and WiFi. I went into the settings and switched it from bridge to the default DHCP and related it on to my cable modem. This was a bit tough and I in all probability ought to have simply scrapped my present setup and completed the setup once more. Nevertheless, I acquired it working.

As a router Velop was SLOWER!!

I can’t clarify it (it’s clearly a bug) however apparently I’m not alone. Individuals are complaining that Velop has slowed down their web speeds. Earlier than I researched it I truly thought it was an issue with Xfinity as each my wi-fi AND wired speeds have been at the very least half of what they usually are. I referred to as them and rightfully in order that they requested me to check by connecting a pc on to my modem bypassing any routers. Yep, the speeds returned. Sigh. I did a Google search and located this thread. Nobody has an actual answer, however I truly fastened it for now. I merely put my TP Hyperlink Archer A2300 router again in place and set the Velop backup as a WiFi bridge to it.

Now I get the speeds I’m imagined to get and it rocks wirelessly too. This can be a bit disturbing for a router/mesh that will get such excessive reward and nice critiques. I’ve been in touch with Linksys and they’re making an attempt to resolve it. They really referred to as me 3 times yesterday to troubleshoot it however sadly I couldn’t take their calls whereas I used to be working/conferences/stay streaming. I’ve little question that that is one thing that may get fastened, however for now I’m set simply utilizing it like I used to be utilizing my AirPorts. It’s quicker and has higher protection than I used to be getting with AirPort base stations. I’m getting the speeds above on the fitting even over wifi and extra persistently than I used to be getting them in numerous areas of my house than I used to be with AirPort.

The Cellular App is Nice Till it’s Not!

Velop dashboard

I LOVE with the ability to management my Velop system proper from my iPhone. I used to be spoiled by the iOS AirPort app too. Nevertheless, whereas the Velop app allows you to do far more than the AirPort app did, there are a few issues that you simply nonetheless need to do by way of the online browser interface. Like I stated above, to be able to cut up my community right into a 5GHz community and a couple of.4GHz community I had to make use of the online UI to try this. OK, no huge deal, however the different drawback with the App is that it solely connects to a Velop for the preliminary setup course of OR if the Velop is on-line and related to the web. That’s not good whenever you’re making an attempt to troubleshoot or change settings that influence the Velop connecting to the web. As a final resort you might all the time manufacturing unit reset it and achieve entry to it once more to set it up, however that looks like a downer. Now on the flip aspect if you realize your router’s IP tackle and you may hook up with it by way of ethernet, then you definitely COULD use the online interface to entry it even when it wasn’t on the web. I needed to leap by way of hoops to place the Velop again in Bridge mode as a result of I couldn’t hook up with it because it wasn’t on the web. I lastly received it working and like I stated in hind sight it may need been quicker to only reset it up once more.

Velop FAQ

Q. My present AirPort community is working wonderful. Do I have to do something?

A. Nope. Have a pleasant day. Apple will possible proceed safety patches for some time/years. Nevertheless, in the event you really feel like your WiFi community shouldn’t be quick sufficient or you will have older AirPort Base Stations that don’t help 802.11ac then it may be time to consider upgrading. In any other case, maintain utilizing what you’re utilizing. All is nicely.

Q. Do I want a “mesh”? Can’t I simply purchase a WiFi router or use the one offered by my service supplier?

A. No, not everybody wants a mesh. It’s very attainable that a single WiFi router (sure even the one offered by your ISP) may be sufficient. Mesh methods are often for bigger houses or houses that are likely to have WiFi lifeless spots. Once I lived in Michigan I had a four,800 sq. foot studio and a single AirPort Excessive Base Station upstairs coated your complete constructing. A lot of the area was extensive open. Not a whole lot of partitions.

Q. If I’m going with the Velop do I’ve to get three nodes?

A. Nope, You will get a two pack or a 3 pack. You can too add particular person (1 pack) nodes if wanted.

Q. Does the Velop have ethernet ports to connect different wired units?

A. Every Velop node has two ethernet ports. You’ll plug the primary/dad or mum into your router/modem. The opposite port is out there to connect a ethernet change or different wired system. You may also plug wired units into the wi-fi nodes.

Q. You talked about that you simply had rooms with wired ethernet drops. Are you able to connect Velop nodes by way of ethernet or have they got to be wi-fi?

A. Sure, in case you have present ethernet runs all through your own home then you possibly can plug your Velop nodes into ethernet. This can imply much less WiFi noise/utilization and quicker efficiency. Nevertheless, take into account that this technique is designed to be wi-fi out of the field. Ethernet is NOT required for the opposite nodes.

Q. What if a node will get disconnected/unplugged or dies, does that kill my WiFi community?

A. Velop is a self therapeutic community. If a node goes offline the opposite nodes will merely join to one another as an alternative and hold your community up.

Q. Did you contemplate some other mesh methods just like the Netgear Orbi or Google Wifi?

A. Sure I did, and I’m positive different techniques are good too. Nevertheless, Velop appeared to have probably the most constructive evaluations general.

Q. Can I plug in a USB arduous drive and use it like a Time Capsule for Time Machine backups?

A. Sadly no. No USB ports on this technique.

The Backside Line

General I’m proud of Linsys Velop. I might (and have) no drawback recommending it for these in search of a very good WiFi mesh system. Clearly the router concern isn’t affecting everybody or their can be much more complaints within the evaluations.

You will get the Linksys Velop three pack right here.