Networking

Linksys expands mesh Wi-Fi system with dual-band option, network monitoring, more

Debuted ahead of CES, advances to the Velop system could make it an interesting option for SMBs, remote workers, and other professionals.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Linksys updated its Velop line with a new dual-band offering, network traffic monitoring, stricter controls, and its Intelligent Mesh technology.
  • Linksys also unveiled the WRT Gaming Router Designed for Xbox One with a new prioritization engine.

On Sunday, at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Linksys announced an expansion of its Velop mesh Wi-Fi lineup with a new dual-band option and performance features like network traffic monitoring, added security, website blocking, and updates through its Intelligent Mesh technology.

While the system is marketed for home use, the additional features could make it an option for remote workers, startups, and SMBs as well. The system is flexible and offers many installation configurations, meaning it could potentially work for many different kinds of homes and buildings.

Announced in a press release, the new dual-band modular system is "the world's first

mass-market Flexible Wi-Fi System." It comes in a pack of one, two, or three "nodes" that can be placed around an area to provide coverage. They're also about two inches shorter than the tri-band option, the release noted.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)

The nodes themselves communicate via Wi-Fi, or they can also be hard-wired to one another with ethernet, the release said. Both the dual-band and tri-band nodes can be used on the same network.

"Each Velop 'node' is a powerful Dual-Band AC1300 device that serves as router, range extender, access point, and bridge which provides users the future proof technology they need as they bring new and more devices into the home," the release said.

The Linksys app for Android and iOS is the main management tool for setting up the system. Through the app, a user can configure the nodes, using Bluetooth to communicate with them. A Spot Finder tool will recommend the best location to place the nodes for optimum connectivity, the release noted.

After the nodes are all setup, the app can help enable guest access, parental controls, and even set up prioritization for certain devices. According to the release, the app also provides data insights on the network itself.

Velop's big value is preservation of network speed, which could make it a useful asset for a cash-strapped SMB or startup. In the release, Linksys said that it will deliver "100% of their speed to the edge of their network."

The Linksys Intelligent Mesh technology, which is now rolling out to all Velop users, is a self-healing and self-optimizing technology that aims to improve the overall health of the network.

Velop also integrates with Amazon Alexa to turn the network on and off and will read off the credentials for the network. The release also stated that the Velop system receives automatic updates for firmware and new features, and to keep security up to snuff.

In addition to the Velop updates, Linksys also debuted the WRT32XB, a router designed to prioritize gaming traffic for the Xbox One, and software updates for other models that aim to prioritize gaming traffic from other systems as well, a release said. The router could be helpful for game testers who share space with other devices, or for professional gamers.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/ipopba

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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