Posts with tag: Network

2017-08-27 16:00 

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If you are just looking for a quick summary of the router: There are a lot of reviews out there regarding the Velop, most of them will tell you it's currently the best router / mesh network solution you can buy, and unless you want to tinker and know what you are doing they are completly correct. If you want something that works extremly well right out of the box, is easy to install, does not require any network knowledge, and you don't mind spending the money (it's very expensive even for a top end router).. get the Velop.


The Good

This is by far one of the best looking routers I have had, and that's a good thing because Linksys specifically tells you to place it out in the open where people are, this is probably one of the reasons it delivers such good numbers (most of the time you are sitting right next to it) and it's competing against your old router that is hidden away in some closet. But let's look a little more into the details of it.


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The setup of this router is very easy. You take one router (all nodes are the same so it does not matter which) and place it where your internet connection is, and either plug it internet connection socket on modem or fibre module. You download an app and click a few times in an very easy to follow guide, and add the rest of the nodes in turn as the app tells you too. The iOS or Android App guides you the entire way, very simple and very non technical person friendly. No computer neccessary and its all over in 10 minutes.

There are two key aspects of how this router works that makes it very intresting technologically. The kit I bought came with two identical routers. These two routers communicate with each other on a dedicated "backbone" wifi network that does not get interference from the regular network traffic (because it uses a completly different channel). This is what separates it from a regular repeater. A normal repeater communicates with all clients and the base router (the one connected to the internet) on the same channel, this means network traffic throughput is cut in half since it needs to receive, re-send, wait for response, and then send again to a client all on the same channel (kind of how a regular conversation works if you are shouting messages between two people). The Velop does not do this. It communicates with clients and the base network station at the same time using different channels (it can shout at everyone at the same time and everyone still hears everything perfectly). But there are other products out there that also do this, such as the Netgear Orbi (also a very good router). 

But what really separates this router from the rest is the Mesh network aspect. That means that each module in the network can communicate with all other modules making sure they are always finding the optimal route for your data, and this network is also self healing, so if one node goes down the other nodes simply find different routes. This does not really matter when you just have two nodes such as me. But if I were to expand on this and get one more (if I for example find a spot with bad connection speeds) it would be very usefull. I could for example put them all in a straight line from one end of the house to the next and the traffic would be jumping from one to the next, regular repeaters don't do this. The Netgear Orbi does not do this.

There is also one other piece of new tech in this thing (that most new routers come with) and that is MU-MIMO. This basically means that the router can communicate with all clients at the same time and does not have to wait for any client (which other older routers do). This means that old routers could get slowed down by having many connected clients, but with this (and most new routers) that does not happen anymore.

There are also other mesh routers out there that do all of these things but the Velop outperforms them all: Velop vs Orbi, Velop vs Amplifi HD.

The Bad

As you can probably tell I really like this router, but there are two distinct downsides and one thing I just don't like about it. The price is the biggest downside. It is expensive. Each router will as of writing this set you back 150 USD, and you need at least two of them for there to be any purpose in buying Velop at all (there are better single node routers for less money if that is all you want).

The second problem with it is that each node only has two network ports. On the one connected to the internet there will only be one left. So if you have anything that does not use WiFi such as a printer or NAS you need to get a switch (I have several such things so I got a Netgear Switch for 20 USD along with it).. This in itself is not a big issue, but it adds even more to the total cost of getting everything working. I would have liked Linksys to add 4 ports on each unit, this would cover most normal users needs.

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The final thing that bothers me a bit is that installing it requires you to register an account with Linksys. There is no reason for me to share my name, email, or anything else with them. But this is easily circumvented by using a throw away email and fake information. I just don't like the trend of everyone requiring accounts for everything.

But what If you know what you're doing, is it still worth it?

The answer here is yes and no. The router does everything you might expect it to do, it forwards ports, has a firewall and let's you block things, edit the DHCP settings and reserve ip addresses. So if that's what you mean then yes, it's still worth it.

On the other hand if you are looking at something like Ubiquiti Edge router and AP AC Lite one of those routers and two of those access points along with an extra switch will get you more performance in all categories. I currently have their Edge router and ONE of those access points (hidden away in a crawl space) and when testing the Velop they performed pretty much the same throughout the house with one bonus point to Velop for reaching a little further into the garden, but then again I could add a seconds AP AC Lite access point without it being as expensive as the Velops and then the Velop would have no advantage. On the other hand it took me well over an hour of command prompt writing and installing software on my computer to get those things working and it was not easy at all. They really are NOT meant for anyone who don't mind spending several hours of writing commands and knowing what a subnet mask is and like fiddling with weird configuration settings.

Conclusion

This is probably going to be the top end router for the rest of 2017, and a bit into 2018. If you don't mind the price, live in a large space, and just want something that dosen't require fiddling and works perfectly from the start there is (right now) no better option.