Linksys Velop and Netgear Orbi are two mesh WiFi systems that are designed to offer a solid and trustworthy wireless network that can be set up easily over a large space. Netgear has been around for longer, while Linksys is an option that has been getting more attention in recent years. If you are wondering which one is the best, you’ll find the answer here, but first, you may want to know what does mesh network mean.
What is wireless mesh network
With a wireless mesh network, you will be able to get reliable wireless access over an area that is larger than that of a single standard WiFi router. Prior to the introduction of mesh networks, the majority of users would just have one router at home that all their devices would connect to. Usually, the same router would be used for all the areas in the house. As you can imagine, this is not the best setting since the devices that are located far from the router will not have a strong signal, which results in a connection that is slow and inconsistent. In fact, some areas of the house may not get a signal at all.
It is possible to extend the wireless signal using other methods. For instance, access points offer the possibility to plug a device into an Ethernet cable in a different location and create and form a new point to access the network. The problems is that unless you have extended Ethernet network already, you will have to lay wires all over your home. The issue can be solved with the help of wireless repeaters. These devices get the wireless signal from your router and then repeat it into a new area. Nevertheless, the configuration is not exactly simple, not to mention that wireless routers can have a significant impact on the wireless speed.
Alternatively, you can use a wireless bridge, although setting these up can also be challenging, plus, there may be roaming issues between the bridge and the main router. Another option is to set up an access point using the existing wires available in your house. Technologies such as Powerline cables or MoCA let you send your network over your home’s electrical or cable wiring. The network is subject to the condition of your wiring and you may notice that transfer speeds are not as fast over Ethernet or Wireless AC.
Mesh wireless systems effectively deal with all these issues and the set up is very simple. Each set is meant to work with other devices, which means that the set up is minimal. You can easily provide extended wireless coverage across your home. Apart from one wire connecting to your modem, mesh network don’t need any wiring between nodes. As such, you won’t need to worry about rewiring your home or having to depend on old wire networks that are already installed.
Linksys Velop AC2200 WiFi Features
The Velop is one of Linksys’ most recent options. Just like other mesh networks, it is set to offer a consistent, fast connection across your house. All the Linksys Velop devices are white, but what sets them apart from their competitors due to the fact that they are square towers. Two sides of each device feature air holes to help with cooling. The fact that all the cable ports and switches are hidden below the device is one of the best things about the design of the Velop. Each device features two Ethernet ports. One of them on one of the devices is meant to be used to connect to a modem. For some people, having only one available Ethernet port is probably not enough, but that shouldn’t be a major issue since most people connect all their devices via WiFi these days.
Keep in mind that there is no USB port, meaning that it won’t be possible to add additional USB storage, so you need to make sure that all your printers can be connected wirelessly. The Velop has two bands on the 5GHz frequency and one on the 2.4GHz frequency. Your devices can use all three of these frequencies. They can also be used by Velop devices to communicate with each other. Velop can switch between the 5GHz bands for the backhaul connection. Keep in mind that backhaul refers to the traffic between Velop units only, not between the devices connected. Keep in mind that it is possible to use Ethernet for the backhaul if you want, but it is not strictly necessary.
The Velop uses wireless AC standard, which offers a faster connection than older standards. It also offers the chance to stream HD content from multiple devices at the same time. Plus, it can support speeds of 2.2Gbps. The Velpp also uses MU-MIMO technology. This refers to Multiusers, Multiple Input, Multiple Output. It lets the router talk to multiple devices simultaneously, facilitating cumulative connections.
With the Linksys app, you can set up your devices without issues. In addition, you can monitor your network, give priorities for certain devices or establish parental controls. It is very easy to do, which is a crucial factor on a mesh network where ease of use is essential. In addition, the Linksys Velop provides Beamforming, QoS and 4GB of internal flash storage. It is possible to get the Velop in packs of 1,2, or 3. The three pack covers up to 6000 square ft, meaning 1000 square feet more than what the Netgear Orbi provides. It should also be noted that the Velop 3-pack costs more.
Netgear Orbi AC3000 WiFi Features
The small size and appealing design of the Netgear Orbi AC3000 is the first thing that users will notice, but there are many other reasons to consider this device. All the devices ports are hidden behind the device and they are located at the bottom to keep them out of sight. There are 4 LAN ports available that allow you to connect to up to 3 devices, plus your modem using Ethernet cable.
There is also a USB 2.0 port that provides additional connectivity options. The USB port only works with USB printers, instead of hard drives. The Netgear Orbi has two bands that use the 5GHz frequency and one that uses 2.4GHz frequency. There is one 5GHz band that focuses on communication between the Orbi devices on your network. This means that there are only two bands left for your devices. This will help to make sure that both the devices and the Orbi offer a connection that is reliable and free from congestion.
The Orbi uses Wireless AC standard and in theory, it can provide cumulative speeds of 3Gbps (inc 2,4GHz), ensuring faster speeds that you can’t get from other standards. This will allow multiple users to stream videos and download content faster than with older standards. Like the Velop, the Netgear Orbi supports MU-MIMO, which is an essential feature for mesh networks due to the high amount of connected devices. It enables multiple conversations with more than one device simultaneously. Thanks to this, it is likely to make your internet faster since every device on your network would have a better and more efficient connection.
The Netgear Orbi comes with QoS to enable you to assign more bandwidth for specific activities that require it, like streaming. There is also Beamforming, which ensures a stronger connection to devices across your network at greater distances and an inbound VPN to give you the possibility of keeping your network secure. While the Netgear Orbi only comes with two devices, thanks to their powerful performance, you can enjoy WiFi in every area of your home. Netgear claims that it it can cover an area of around 5000 square feet. In addition, you can buy additional satellites that enable you to extend the coverage further to up to 2500 ft.
Netgear Orbi vs Linksys Velop: Summary
The two devices offer good quality and offer similar features. They both have good design, they are tri-band and have MU-MIMO technology. The Linksys can be easily used and set-up and it provides amazing WiFi coverage, but it doesn’t have a USB port. On the other hand, the Netgear Orbi gives you additional features such as a USB port and VPN capabilities. Although the two pack doesn’t cover as big an area as what teh Linksys offers, it is possible to go for the 3-pack option. However, the price increases slightly. Choosing the best option will depend on how much of an area you need to cover, the features that you need and your budget.