Apple AirPort Alternative: Linksys with New Velop Dual-Band Mesh Routers

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It has been announced from a long time ago. Already one and a half years ago there were reports from the agency Bloomberg, that Apple dissolves its AirPort department internally. At the end of April 2018, the company from Cupertino will officially pull the plug. The company only sells remnants, but does not produce any new AirPort products. But it also suggests alternatives. These alternatives include the Linksys Velop series products. These are also the only ones that Apple sells through its own Apple Store. Coming soon, cheaper dual-band model comes into the trade, which we would like to introduce you to a little more detail.

Already: Linksys Velop: Mesh Wi-Fi System (AC2200)

Already published in 2017 Linksys Tri-band models of the Velop series. Overall, these rectangular devices are relatively manageable in size. Therefore, they are unlikely to be placed on the shelves for books or sorted elsewhere.

The devices provide many of the features that have dominated Apple’s AirPort products. The name AC2200 comes in the form that the devices are equipped with multiple antennas for the simultaneous reception and transmission of data. The calculation goes as follows: It is transmitted in the 2.4 GHz network at up to 400 MBit per second and additionally with additional modules twice in the 5 GHz network, each with a maximum of 867 MBit per second. 400 + 867 + 867 are 2,134 Mbps (nearly 2,200) per second, which allows the device to maximize data throughput.

Linksys sells either one, two, or three devices in a package, including the Apple Store. The best way to get the best price is through a price search engine.

What is Mesh?

Mesh is English and means grid. In fact, the Velop devices (or other products) create a “wireless lattice”. You set up a product that builds up the Internet connection, for example, or just gets looped through by your Fritz box. As a result, you can then add the rest of the “Velops” that automatically propagate the Internet around you. In this way, you can improve the distribution of Wi-Fi in a house spread over floors. Or, of course, they can use devices to get access to Wi-Fi even in the garage or the garden shed.

The advantage of using a mesh system is similar to roaming in mobile networks. For example, if you walk from the living room on the first floor with your smartphone to the attic to “copy and paste” clutter for eBay Classifieds, the connection will stay the same all the time. In conventional systems, the request would not provide feedback. But in Mesh systems, all participants (devices) communicate with each other and direct the request to where it should land.

More speed and less loss of reception

Which is also a positive side effect of mesh systems : The existing resources are grouped in the vicinity. The maximum data rate for the transmission in the WLAN increases, as long as you “strategically span the grid.”

The systems also increase the reliability. You may be aware of the problem that your neighbors also use the standard channels for transmission in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks at home. The more traffic in the area, the harder the data transfer. The mesh devices communicate with each other but on other channels, providing a more robust network at home.

New dual-band mesh routers are even more compact and affordable

After the AirPort has finished Products by Apple announced Linksys new Velop products. These are even more compact in construction. The dimensions are only 78 mm x 78 mm x 140 mm. A mesh knot in the Velop system is thus barely as wide as a 0.5 liter PET bottle and only about two-thirds as high as this one.

The product name for the single mesh router is AC1300 (400 + 867 = 1,267 Mbps). Matching this is the double pack AC2600 and the package with three devices AC3600. Linking a third device will lose some of the data rate over the distances, also because of the need for a bit of coordination among the receivers.

Linksys recommends an AC1300 for two-bedroom apartments or houses. If you want to provide Wi-Fi homes with three to four rooms, you should choose the two-pack AC2600 and the AC3600 pack of three for four- to five-bedroom homes. The devices are of course also compatible with existing Velop products.

Setup by App, Use as a Router or Bridge, or Both

You can use the Velop Mesh Routers as either a router or a bridge use, or just both functions in one benefit. The latter usually only happens on the first device, if you already set up the Internet connection via it. The remaining node points then no longer require any router functionality and can concentrate exclusively on the forwarding of the data in the network.

The devices are set up via app. There is one for Android (4.4 up) or iOS (8.0 or newer). You can also control access to the network via the app. For example, you can decide with which node the console or smart TV should normally connect.

Further basic information, prices and availability

The WLAN of the products is protected by WPA 2 , The devices have two Gigabit LAN ports, a 716 MHz fast quad-core processor and 256 MB flash memory each and another 256 MB DDR3 RAM.

The Tri-band AC2200 are already commercially available and cost approximately 230 to 240 euros street price. The triple pack is available but already from about 360 euros. Accordingly, the price per piece falls. The new models are cheaper. The MSRP is $ 129.99 for the AC1300, $ 199.99 for the two-pack AC2600, and $ 299.99 for the AC3600 Triple Pack. They are announced for the 15th of May. We will deliver the prices in Euro as soon as you know us.

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