Linksys Velop AX mesh router with Wi-Fi 6 outshines the original

The Velop AX delivers a mesh network that easily covers large spaces and heavy usage.

16-velop.jpg

Image: CNET

Intelligent mesh networks have become standard fare for businesses striving to cover a wide spread Wi-Fi net over large areas. Although this has been an area of much-needed improvement over the years, there's never been a time when full building coverage was as important. 

Think edge computing.

Think CI/CD.

Think streaming content.

Think big.

And it only makes sense that the technology driving such mesh coverage would trickle down to the consumer and prosumer grade gadgets. 

Such is the case with the Linksy Velop. I was happily using the original dual-band Linksys Velop in my previous 1,500 square foot home. Three Velop units covered that building fairly well. Was it perfect? Mostly, yes. There were a few spots that went without coverage and the mesh barely reached the back porch. The units also experienced a few hiccups when, after a power outage, I would have to walk through the setup process for each unit again. That was a frustration I didn't need, but with such technology we have grown accustomed to the occasional problem.

SEE: Flash storage: A guide for IT pros (TechRepublic Premium)

But when we moved into a house twice the size of the old one, I quickly saw the shortcomings of the original Velop: Range. The three units would cover the top two floors of the house, but barely offered a signal in the basement.

The basement was important, because that's where I had my workout equipment and my wife did all of her plant potting. So we needed reliable wireless to reach that point, for streaming services. The original Velop could not deliver.

That's when I discovered the Velop AX. This new mesh router from Linksys not only offered a wider range, but Wi-Fi 6. The new Velop was considerably larger than the original (Figure A), but had the same simple setup as the original units: Install the mobile app, plug the unit in, join the Velop Wi-Fi network on the mobile device, and walk through the setup. 

Figure A

velopaxa.jpg

The Velop AX, shown on the right, is quite a bit larger than the original.

Image: Jack Wallen

The main attraction to the Velop AX is the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6. This new wireless technology (released in 2019) offers features like:

  • 30% faster speeds than previous wireless protocols (9.6 Gbps vs 3.5 Gbps)

  • Much improved mesh network support

  • Lower latency and more simultaneously deliverable data

  • Improved power efficiency

  • Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) support--which is an improved standard for encoding and transmitting data

How does the Velop AX perform?

It should come as no surprise, given the Wi-fi 6 protocol, that the Velop AX far outshined the original Velop units. In fact, where 3 original units couldn't fully cover 3,000 square feet, 2 AX units more than covered the needed area, with zero dropped zones and full signal strength throughout. In fact, I always default to the Velop AX mesh over the standard router (Linksys Nighthawk) on my network. That's how good the coverage is.

Although the coverage was the single most important factor for my situation, the increased speeds and reliability cannot go unspoken. Where the original Velop units would randomly lose signal strength, causing a drastic slowdown in bandwidth, the Velop AX has yet to have such an issue (after nearly a year of usage). And when hitting the Velop AX with numerous devices, each streaming different services, the mesh network never blinked, never slowed down, never hesitated.

In other words, the Velox AX is the perfect option for situations where numerous devices (50+, according to Linsys) are used for all types of content. That translates beyond consumer usage. Although you might not use the Velop AX for your enterprise business, for a small to midsize business, these mesh routers could be the ideal solution. 

Linksys Velop AX specs

For those who like to get their geek on over specs, here they are:

  • Processor: 2.2 GHz Quad-Core

  • Memory: Flash: 512MB; RAM: 1GB

  • Wireless encryption: up to 128-bit

  • Easy set up: Simple and secured App based setup

  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.5" x 4.5" x 9.6"

  • Weight: 3.5 lbs

  • Security features: WPA2. WPA2 / WPA3 Mixed Mode

  • Power supply: Input: 100-240V, 50-60Hz; Output: 12V/4A

The cost of the Velop AX is $399.99 for a single AX, which will cover up to 3,000 square feet. For a larger space, go for the two pack (which is what I have), that will cover up to 6,000 square feet. The two pack runs $699.99. 

For anyone needing a reliable mesh network, that won't blink when numerous devices simultaneously attempt to stream various types of content, you cannot go wrong with the Velop AX. It's a bit pricier than the standard router, but when coverage and reliability can make the difference between you getting your work (or workout) done or not, that cost is pretty easy to swallow.

Also see