Wait, was I supposed to type 11? No, it’s 6. And I’ll explain that in a moment. As a way of celebrating the smashing together of Linksys, Belkin, and Foxconn, we’ve got a new mesh router on the offer – the Linksys Velop.
So, first off, why is it going to 6? Over time, standards change, and WiFi certainly has as well – more demands on wireless networking demanded new solutions. In the early days, you had it easy telling what the more recent (and ostensibly faster) standard was – 802.11a gave way to 802.11b, and then 802.11g. Then we got into a bit of a naming mess with 802.11ac, and 802.11n. And now? We’ve got this latest standard which is known as 802.11ax. So, the WiFi consortium wanted to simplify things, especially as it’s not just networking professionals purchasing these devices. Hence, calling things WiFi 6 (and that then provides a roadmap for possibly simpler naming conventions).
In the case of the just-announced Linksys Velop conforming to WiFi 6, it’s interesting that they’re not pushing theoretical speeds. They’ve gone the route of simply saying it can handle 4x the number of devices at 4x the speed. Which, as we get into higher definition streaming (4k/8k) and the sheer number of devices in a home, that’s the marketing that makes sense.
The Linksys Velop is also jumping onto the mesh networking bandwagon. Gone are the dark days of figuring out how to reconfigure your router to act as a repeater, or installing the Tomato firmware. Instead, out of the box, these devices just know they’re going to be ready to play nicely with others. A single Linksys Velop is supposed to be able to cover 3000 square feet, so getting a second one in a regular home seems overkill, but small offices, perhaps that’s the path to go. Or I guess if you and the neighbors are real friendly-like.
Along with the buzzword bingo in the Linksys Velop press release, they’re also making a bizarre claim to be able to boost the battery life of devices connected to it. I suppose there may be some efficiencies there if your device also supports WiFi 6, but I’ve a feeling that’s a claim that is going to be hard to substantiate. If you want to test it out for yourself, you can pick up a LinkSys Velop for $399, or a two-pack for $699. linksys.com
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