Linksys debuts cheaper dual-band Velop Wi-Fi mesh system

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On the heels of Apple's official discontinuation of AirPort Wi-Fi hardware, Linksys on Tuesday announced a new dual-band version of its Velop Wi-Fi mesh system that packs many of the same features as its bigger tri-band sibling into a smaller, more affordable package.

Building on the success of its Velop Tri-Band system, the first third-party Wi-Fi router to be sold by Apple, Linksys is introducing a mass market mesh networking option that provides customers a slew of features at an attractive price.

AppleInsider reviewed the original tri-band version and found the setup to be top notch in terms of performance and convenience, but noted a two- or three-node solution can be quite expensive at just under $500.

Limited to dual-band connectivity, the new Velop family member is smaller than the tri-band iteration, but includes a number of advanced mesh networking features. The nodes, for example, are AC1300 devices with dual-band dual stream (2x2) capabilities supporting 802.11ac, offering combined speed up to 1300 Mbps. The devices feature MU-MIMO radio configuration, modular wired/wireless design, integration with Velop mesh technology, Amazon Alexa compatibility and more.

Along with connecting to each other via wired or wireless technologies to form a blanket of Wi-Fi coverage, each node can also act as a parent or client access point, allowing users to expand on existing systems as their wireless needs grow. For those who already have a Velop outfit, the dual-band version is interoperable with tri-band hardware, making extensions to existing wireless infrastructure easy.

As with the tri-band version, the new dual-band devices are controlled via app, feature "spot finder" technology for optimal node placement, boast the ability to self-heal a constructed network if a node should go offline and run an automatic update cycle.

The new dual-band Velop will be sold in one-, two- and three-pack configurations and is available for pre-order today through Linksys for $129, $199 and $299, respectively. Pre-orders are expected to launch on Amazon later today. Linksys is in talks to sell Velop Dual-Band through the Apple store, but for now Apple customers are relegated to the more expensive tri-band offerings.