With everyone working from home in these turbulent times, the demand for WiFi connections has increased exponentially, thereby raising the demand for WiFi mesh systems that do a great job in distributing the bandwidth across the home, and thus, you don’t need to buy multiple WiFi connections to maintain the connectivity.
One of the biggest names in the WiFi peripherals market is Linksys. The brand has been around for years and has risen two be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to WiFi-related equipment.
One of the best things, however, is that Linksys has evolved with the times, and is currently right up there, with the rest of the competitors, in the WiFi Mesh market.
The Linksys Velop AX4200 is the brand’s latest offering to the market and offers a 3-piece solution for $499.99. Like all WiFi mesh devices in the market, the Velop AX4200 also seeks to help you experience total connectivity across your home or office. In this review, we will tell you exactly how it does in that department. We will also dive into the other aspect of the Velop AX4200, and by the end, you will have a clear idea of what the product is all about and whether or not it suits your needs.
Design and Build
The first thing that we see in any product or gadget is its design, or more simply, the way it looks. WiFi mesh systems follow the tower design language, and the Velop AX4200 is no different. Some would say that Linksys took the safer route in terms of the design, but what’s good to see is that the build is strong, and the towers feel really solid in hand.
Each tower measures 9.6 inches tall and 4.5 inches in width and depth, which is a decent enough size, and the white finish makes it suitable for all sorts of home interiors. Now, if you think that the dimensions are a bit chunky for a WiFi mesh tower, it will interest you to know that each tower packs four Gigabit Ethernet ports (3 LAN, 1 WAN) and a USB 3.0 port. This is like a buffet, compared to other WiFi mesh systems in the market, which feature just about two LAN ports.
The next part of the Velop AX4200’s design is the LED indicator. Yes, almost every WiFi mesh tower features an LED indicator to help users understand what is going on, and the one on the Velop AX4200 features four colors –
- Blue – This indicates successful connectivity
- Red – This means that there is no connectivity
- Yellow – This indicates that one tower is out of range from the other node.
- Purple – This indicates that the setup of the WiFi mesh system is ongoing
An On/Off switch, a reset button, and a WPS button are located on each node’s base.
While all of this does sound like a lot, one glance at the Velop AX4200, and you will see how neatly it has all been arranged, and the setup, once completed, looks really graceful, irrespective of the decor of the home or office.
The Linksys Velop AX4200 is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and 512MB of flash memory. It’s a tri-band WiFi 6 system that can reach data rates of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, 1,200Mbps on one of the 5GHz bands, and 2,400Mbps on the second 5GHz band.
Additionally, the Velop AX4200 makes use of the latest 802.11ax technologies, including WPA3 encryption, 1024 QAM, Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) data transmissions, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, and direct-to-client signal beam-forming. Still, it doesn’t support 160MHz channel bandwidth.
Now, to use the Velop AX4200, Linksys has developed a dedicated app that you can install on your smartphone and control the whole WiFi mesh system from there.
One of the pain points that we have experienced with the WiFi mesh system is that their apps and web portals are very laggy and even clunky at times, making it very frustrating to operate and control the WiFi mesh at home or at work.
Linksys has studied this issue, and thankfully, the app and the web portal are much better than most other apps and outlets we have used. On opening the app, you will see a dashboard that displays your network’s name, status (online/offline), and tabs for connected devices and nodes. Below every device that is connected to the network, the app offers the users a few essential controls, including parental controls, in case there are children in the house.
Advanced Settings include DHCP and IPv6 settings, Port Forwarding and Port Triggering settings, WiFi MAC filtering, and DNS settings.
Now, coming to the performance of the Velop AX4200, we did subject it to several benchmark programs, and on the whole, the impression we got was that while the numbers are promising, they are not the absolute best. For example, if you look at the close room throughput test, the Velop AX4200 notched 712Mbps, which is actually behind the TP-Link AX60 and the Asus ZenWi-Fi AX XT8.
Next, we tested the satellite node, and the score of 558Mbps on the close-proximity test was better than the TP-Link AX60, but it is still nowhere as good as the Velop AX MX10 and the ZenWi-Fi AX XT8.
Finally, we checked the heat map performance to see how well the WiFi signals were distributed throughout the workspace. We were happy to see that the coverage was pretty uniform throughout the area, which is what we expect from a sound WiFi Mesh system.
Overall, the performance is there when you need it, on the Velop AX4200, but is it the best? Unfortunately, No.
How to Setup
With the technical aspects taken care of, let’s talk about the setup procedure. Like most other WiFi Mesh devices, the setup of the Velop AX4200 is pretty straightforward.
Next, go through the on-screen instructions and then wait for the LED to turn purple. Once this happens, go ahead and create your account on the app. You will now be pumped to set a WiFi name and password. Next, set the location for the main node, and then move on to the next node. The whole process took us around 5 minutes, with no errors along the way.
The mobile app for the Linksys WiFi mesh systems is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices.
Linksys does have a solid package in terms of the Velop AX4200 WiFi mesh system, with a beautiful design, sturdy build, more than. enough connectivity options, a straightforward setup procedure,
we firmly believe this is a high-end device for serious streamers and gamers
However, if you are ready to spend a pro-grade on a WiFi mesh system, we recommend the Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi mesh system.