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This review is from: Linksys Velop Wireless Whole Home Wi-Fi AC4400 Tri-band Mesh System (2-pack) WHW0302
Pros: It wasn’t apparent to me just how unique this product is until I set it up and ran it, it’s not just another WiFi modem – it offers something I have until now been unable to find – the full bandwidth of my ISP’s access through all 3 floors and across my house. The setup I put into place for which I’m writing this review was probably a bit non-standard, but exactly what I needed so I want to explain it.
I tested with two Velops (AC4400) WHW0302 using the Android App version 18.104.22.1681662 and Velop FW Version 1.1.1177892. Unlike what I had read from another reviewer, I thought the application was stable and solid and easy to setup. As a SW engineer who has worked on telecom and consumer products I would emphatically state that it was definitely not an alpha version product, the revision numbers may also back that up.
I didn’t replace my exiting router which was also a Linksys MU-MIMO box, but plugged the Velop into the RJ45 jacks of that router. The reason for this is that up on the top floor of my home my wife’s PC and a couple of RoKus routinely lose connection so I thought this would be a really good test to see if I could get a solid signal between the two Velops. So between the three routers I had my original Wi-Fi router in the basement with Ethernet cable running from the switched output on the back to the first Velop the first floor connected via Ethernet (which had previously been fairly solid) to a second Velop on the second floor (where PC and Roku connections have been intermittent).
I physically plugged the Velop Ethernet into the Ethernet connector of the PC and turned off the PC’s Wi-Fi. With the Wi-Fi I had gotten on average with speakeasy speedtest ~5-10Mbps and once connected directly to the Velop (connected wirelessly to other Velop downstairs) was solidly hitting max that my cable provider would provide ~55-65Mbps, a phenomenal speed jump. This is the same speed I get when I plug my laptop directly into the back of my cable modem in the basement 3 floors down on the other side of the house – the full speed provided to me by my ISP. I also connected wirelessly to my Samsung Galaxy 6+ Edge plus (802.11ac MiMo) and got the same result in a room previously starved for WiFi. Rather wireless or wired made no difference; the whole capacity of the line was available.
The RoKu in the room was connected and has since run completely seamlessly with no problems for several days and the PC is blazing as well as cellphone Wi-Fi, etc. My reaction.. WOW.
Cons: No web interface, the IP it sets for itself is 22.214.171.124 (different than most routers of 192.168.1.1) and when I pointed my web browser at that page it just had a graphic that said to go get the app to manage it. Personally I prefer webpage management because it is agnostic and you can use a windows PC, Linux box, MAC, tablet of any type to manage it rather than a tiny screened mouse less interface of my Android.
Other complaint is that the guest network requires a password. I find this obnoxious as it half defeats the purpose of a guest network. It should be a choice; somehow security “experts” and marketing people have arrived at the conclusion that they need to force me into creating a password. I live in the boondocks hundreds of yards from my neighbor, I don’t care who uses my bandwidth if they are actually close enough to get it – and yes I realize the liabilities – I just don’t care and think it should be my choice. If I choose to leave the keys in my car in my driveway that’s a risk I choose to assume.
Brick power supplies are unwieldy but as someone who previously worked at several telecom and consumer audio companies, I realize it’s a way to make the product cheaper for the customer. As this system is worth every dollar in my opinion, it isn’t cheap.
It lacks a few of the features of a fuller featured standalone Wi-Fi cable modem such as 5 port switch, online storage capabilities, etc. These I think were wisely sacrificed to deliver something unique for a price a consumer would find worth it.
Other Thoughts: For the last decade I have been looking for a system to do what this does (Full speed connection between two nodes on opposite sides and different floors of my house). For me, I bury all my little gripes about everything else and get something unique and really, really works. Just connect a small 5 port switch on the output of both of the Velops and you have any of my (real) gripes addressed.
I've given several bad product reviews when warranted over the years, Newegg is really good about that. There is only a request for honest reviews. This is sincere, I’ve just been so blown away by the performance, in the big scheme of things none of the cons matter to me. Until there are competitive mesh networks at this level of performance for consumer prices for me this is heaven. If you have a 2 bedroom 600 SQ foot apartment, you don’t need this, but if you have a 2000-3000+ SQ foot home you’ll probably find this higher on your Maslow’s hierarchy chart than your need for a garage (or refrigerator, or stove). For this reason I give it 5 stars.
Pros: Really solid and well made, feels more like a commercial grade rather than a home router. Running Speed Test from my home to NYC, it runs 3x to 4x faster than my old router, which was a full feature fairly high end router when I bought it 4 years ago. My cable modem is likely the bottle neck as it is only 8x4 and the top data rate is 60 Mbps – but wired through the router I get 62 Mbps and wireless about 56Mbps! Zoinks! My old router crawled and this is such a nice surprise. WU-MIMO is WOO WOO! If you don't know what this means - is that it can broadcast different data simultaneously on 4 different channels to a MIMO device, making for the (seen) incredible BW gains in data - and the WU part means that it can transmit to multiple devices at the same time and not round robin. There is also wave shaping, etc.. all in all taken as a whole it really does make a huge improvement over a standard SIMO (Single In Single Out) router.
I have about 16 devices – a bunch of Rokus, a several PCs, Android phones, Printers, and streaming audio devices that show up on this very nice looking display. It has the ability to map 4 wireless access points, 2.5/5 Ghz private and 2.5/5 Ghz public. My last router had public also and it really was very useful. Whenever people come over for a party or whatever, they have instant access. IT has the ability to limit how many can connect to the guest network ranging from 5 to 50. My only real beef with the guest network is that you have to have a password. This requires you to connect then login via a browser – many devices will not work with this. PLEASE LET ME DECIDE IF I WANT TO USE A PASSWORD OR NOT.
I live in the boon docks and have no worries about anyone using my public access router, but even when I lived in an apartment complex, I left the guest network open for neighbors who couldn’t afford it (and when you do this you ARE NOT liable for other nefarious actions). The WRT3200ACM firmware version on mine is 126.96.36.199416 which it reports as the latest as of writing.
Some of the stuttering I have experienced with streaming HiDef Video seems to have disappeared. Things overall are faster, smoother and more stable.
Cons: Definately not being able to set NO PASSWORD is a real problem. But aside from that was another issue which may not be with the router but worth mentioning.
When I installed the WRT3200ACM I just set it up with the same name and PW as the old one to save time. Unfortunately, I still have two devices (a Brother printer) and a Samsung DVD/Streaming WiFi that I have been unable to reconnect too the router wirelessly, I have connected them via an Ethernet switch – I suspect that it isn’t a problem with the router but due to the MAC being different on the router the devices (printer and DVD player) refusing to recognize with a different MAC and being unable to remove them from the setup memory.
I have since found that (maybe) there is a way to change the MAC in the router settings but don’t want to do it now as I have everything working.. Still I’m only guessing and I don’t know for sure it’s the problem.
Other Thoughts: I would give it 4.5 eggs - but obviously can't. However trivial the password irritates me still.. it means I have to tell my guests the PW.. it should have been my choice and also can cause issues with dumb devices which won't work well with a PW. Aside from that - this thing is AMAZING with speed and streaming. I'm really pleased and aside from what's mentioned it's hard to imagine much higher performance in a consumer package so well done.
(Response From Linksys)
Thank you for sharing this detailed feedback with us. Rest assured that we took note of your suggestion and will let the Engineering team know for continuous product developments. We’d also have our Escalation Engineers help you in connecting your other devices. Please shoot us an email at LinksysCares@linksys.com with your contact details and the link to this review.
Pros: I’ve always been fond of ASUS boards, in the consumer class they are among the best IMO – this board has reinforce this belief.
I built up a pretty standard configuration to use in my bedroom with a 55” HDTV and a Bose sound system. I always thought it could be fun to have a small but high performance PC there to run with some games and just to be able to do some web browsing while sitting in bed. This was the perfect board for it which I stuffed into an older Lian Lee case with supply. I had a very basic configuration of single HDMI output to the TV (TV has ARC which feeds the sound system), wireless KB & Mouse, 8 GB, Samsung 500 SSD, and an i5-6600k.
I like the BIOS setup, it's intuitive and doesn't leave you guessing.
What I didn’t do was RAID SSDs as IMO thought it will increase your performance, you can experience amazing performance for a reasonable amount of money, or then a slight bump for a multiple cost more than that. If you have money to burn great.. But amazing performance is good enough for me.
Another reviewer commented wisely.. *always* check out the MB.. smart idea. No problems with mine but I would also add double check all your wiring before powering it up. Mine came up beautifully on the first try.. put up Win7 as I’m not fond of 10.
It ran solidly and I have had no issues with it so far except to say the performance has been great. Just about everything you really need is on it, and what’s not it has the expansion capacity to add.
Cons: This should be list under the both “pro” and “con” category. There are FOUR video outputs, this is great if you have odd monitors you want to connect, but if you wanted to add a couple of (for example) 4K monitors you have to use an assortment of Display port and HDMI. It would have been nice to have a pair of either.
Other Thoughts: My rating is based on what this board is, an *ENTRY LEVEL* fast gamer’s board – otherwise I would be basing the rating primarily on features which cost money. So I’m not going to pan it because it doesn’t have all the features of a high end board but judge based on price/features/performance.
I’ve been building my own P.C.s since the 1980s (yep.. that long ago) so I’m not going to be griping about things that anyone building without experience might not know. I don’t push my components much past spec as I personally don’t find a marginal gain in performance to be worth the risk if instability and damage over numbers that you don’t really change the human experience. I always find it humorous when people way overclock their PC and then complain about stability as if they do not understand the concept of why there were specs to begin with.
Based on this review of how easily it came up and solidly performed, and based on what could reasonably be expected in this price performance range this board was solid and I would give it a 4.5 out of 5, but because of the video port thing I’m downing it ½ star – as this was a design tradeoff, I’ll round up in the boards favor…. So 5 eggs!