From time to time I think about buying the best mesh Wi-Fi system for my flat: it's an odd shape so the signal doesn't reach everywhere, and with two kids gaming or streaming congestion's often an issue. And then I look at the price and change my mind. So I'm very interested to see the Velop Pro 6E, the new and affordable mesh Wi-Fi system from Linksys.
If you’re not familiar with mesh networking, it’s a wireless network that can use multiple interconnected routers to deliver much wider coverage than a single router can provide - although as here, the individual routers can also deliver really impressive range on their own. But where mesh networks get good is when a single router struggles with range, because Wi-Fi speeds start to drop dramatically as the signal strength reduces. Mesh networks are designed to give you five-bar signals everywhere.
I've been using Linksys products since long before I had kids, so I know they're rock-solid when it comes to reliability. And the price here is reasonable for such well-specified routers: £199 for a single unit, £379 for two and £499 for three.
Linksys Velop Pro 6E: features and specifications
The Wi-Fi here is Wi-Fi 6E, which uses a third band, 6GHz, in addition to the more common 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. That means less interference and better throughput, because data on that band isn’t competing with all your smart home kit and your neighbours’ Wi-Fi. And you can potentially connect an awful lot of smart home kit here: the Velop Pro 6E can handle up to 200 devices at once. Connection speeds are up to 5.4Gbps.
The range is impressive. A single unit will cover up to 3,000 square feet, with the usual caveats about obstacles. A twin-pack is good for 6,000 square feet, and the triple can cover up to 9,000 square feet. As a rule of thumb that means you need one for a flat or smaller house, two for a four-bed house or three for your mansion.
I haven’t tested this one yet, but our very own Yasmine Crossland has reviewed the Wi-Fi 6 (not 6E) Linksys Atlas Pro 6, praising its simple setup and straightforward operation. It was particularly good at solving Wi-Fi signal issues. This newer product has even better speeds and supports many more devices, so it looks like a good option for larger spaces.