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Apple carries first-ever in-store, third-party Wi-Fi router in form of Linksys Velop

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Apple is now selling Linksys' Velop Mesh Wi-Fi System in stores and online, signaling a break from a policy of only selling its own AirPort routers.

The Velop is available in two bundles, with two or three nodes, at prices of $349.95 and $499.95. Like other mesh routers from companies such as Eero and Google, the Velop is intended to cover an entire home with a single SSID for devices to connect to. Each node is said to handle up to 2,000 square feet. Its presence on the store was first spotted by 9to5Mac.

"People love our AirPort products and we continue to sell them," an Apple spokesperson explained in a statement to AppleInsider and other venues. "Connectivity is important in the home and we are giving customers yet another option that is well suited for larger homes."

While Apple's routers are still available for sale, the last upgrade to the hardware was made in June 2013, and Apple has cleared out the dedicated AirPort hardware division. However, Apple has continued to update the family's firmware, and has told AppleInsider that it will keep the AirPort "as safe as possible for as long as possible."

"The hard drive iPod people were gone for a long time, when we issued the last update for the iPod classic firmware," we were told by our contacts within Apple not authorized to speak on behalf of the company in December of 2016. "Just because the hardware guys have moved on to other things, doesn't mean we won't support the software."

Shoppers looking for a discount on the Linksys Velop can also pick up the 2-pack at for $332.55, a discount of $17 off retail.