In today’s date, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity is something everyone feels is a necessity. It is undoubtedly one of the most essential services that you can get at your own home. Here, the difficulty arises when you’re trying to ensure that the entire house is receiving sufficient coverage and no discrepancies are found. Losing signal strength or ending up with dead spots is something that everyone wishes to avoid. This is exactly where home Wi-Fi mesh systems such as Netgear Orbi and Linksys Velop come to the table. Now among these two, which one should you go for. Both of these mesh routers are highly rated due to the incredible performance that they offer, but which one should you go for? That is exactly what we’ll go through from here. We will explore through various different factors and then conclude WiFi mesh router would be a better choice for you.
The emergence of both Netgear Orbi and Linksys Velop has enhanced the interest towards wireless home systems and is overtaking the traditional system of the old single unit router. These two are two of the frontrunners in this department and that is why we will be comparing them in order to determine which of the two WiFi mesh routers will be a better choice for you to install at your home. They both have various similarities and differences which we will be analyzing through in order to determine the superior choice.
When we talk about the appearance and design of these two mesh routers, they are certainly different in a lot of factors, even though both come with a minimalist approach and in white colour. Both Netgear and Linksys took different paths while designing their routers. When we look at the Netgear Orbi, it comes with a front side that is high in width and it is also taller when we compare it to the size of the Linksys Velop, which is also slimmer than Orbi. The Netgear Orbi is also more pleasing to the eyes as it curves around smoothly while the Linksys Velop has a rather more old school rectangular shape. When we look at the Linksys Velop, there is one design choice that can certainly be questioned and that is the perforated upper surface of the mesh router. Even though the surface on the top is added to provide some sort of ventilation to the router, the holes in it let the dust filter through the inner area. But keeping this minor con aside, the nodes of Velop are much lighter and a lot more convenient to move around as compared to the Netgear Orbi. It will also be easier to blend it in with the decor of the house as you would want to place it in the central area of your house in order to get maximum coverage on both sides of the house. It is pleasing to the eyes, as already mentioned above and Linksys Velop is more old-school and rectangular in shape.
Initially, the Netgear Orbi 2-pack was designed in a way to perform in a satellite + router like configuration. Thus, it wasn’t strictly just a mesh WiFi system. But now it has been updated, in order to allow the satellite nodes to communicate with the other, so that it can work as a full fledged WiFi mesh network.
A thing that both of these WiFi systems have in common is the fact that they both use an LED that displays the device status and network with the use of different colours. When we talk about the Linksys Velop, it has a small round LED on top of it which stays blue when everything is functioning well, it blinks purple when the node pairs with the app, and when it turns solid purple, it means that we can initiate the set up process. In addition to that, when the router loses connection to the main node, the LED flashes a red colour, while when it turns solid red, it means that the internet connection is completely lost. If the node is placed a bit too far, then the colour of the LED will be solid yellow.
One major thing to be noted down is that both of these home WiFi mesh systems are built to replace the traditional router plus extender combination that has been popular in homes around the globe in recent years. One huge advantage that comes with the Netgear Orbi is the fact that the wider coverage that it provides goes up to 5000 sq. ft., thus making it the ideal choice for homes that have multiple floors or if you wish to extend your WiFi connection all the way to the backyard. Linksys Velop falls a bit short here, as it is able to reach up to 4000 sq. ft. which is considerably lesser than Orbi. Along with that, there are more ports that you can find on each node of Netgear Orbi as compared to Linksys Velop. When we talk about Orbi’s main router, there are 1 WAN and 3 LAN Ethernet ports and there are 4 LAN ports that its satellite has, which brings the total to 8. This provides you with the liberty of plugging in more devices if required, thus you will be able to give a secure and stable connection to your TVs, scanners, printers etc. On the other hand, when we talk about Linksys Velop, there are just two ports per node, bringing the total to 4.
On the Netgear Orbi, you can also get a USB port which can prove to be crucial for you at times. The one advantage that Linksys Velop carries here is the fact that a lot more devices can be connected to it as compared to Orbi. Velop cam connect around 40 devices while Orbi is optimized to connect around 25. This won’t be a crucial factor if we look at it practically, since even the big families won’t have more than 10 devices that require wireless connectivity.
When we talk about the speed that both of these mesh routers offer, the Netgear Orbi prevails once again as it is listed with a top speed of 3 Gbps while on the other hand the Linksys Velop comes with a limit of 2.2 Gbps. It is to be noted that the speed performance of the router often is varied depending upon the conditions that you have at your home, but if we look at the independent testing, it has been confirmed that Orbi has the upper hand over Velop in this particular section. Also, as the testing has proved, the Linksys Velop is not even as consistent in terms of performance as the Netgear Orbi is.
One of the major reasons why Netgear Orbi is the better choice here is due to the fact that it has a tri-brand backhaul design provides a dedicated channel to each of the nodes so that they are able to communicate with each other, thus freeing the other two bands to maximize the connection for the devices that you use. As a whole, it has a huge influence on the mesh performance, as it enhances it in a significant manner. The Linksys Velop also consists of a tri-band mesh but it is only able to automatically connect you to the most accessible band.
When you move around the house, it won’t mean that you’ll have to re-sign in on the Linksys Velop or the Netgear Orbi as only one SSID or WiFi name can be set by you despite the fact that you have multiple nodes. This indicates that your device gets auto connected to the nearest node, which ensures that you get the best speed possible all the time.
One major difference between these two routers is how they are managed. The Netgear Orbi can be accessed through the Orbi mobile app or web browser, while on the other hand, the Linksys Velop doesn’t consist of a web browser interface. In addition to that, only basic controls are offered by the Orbi app. Thus leaving the most advanced features to be only accessed through the admin panel of Netgear. Even though it is the traditional method as to how router management is done, it does go against the purpose that a mesh network serves which is to work for the simplification of WiFi at home.
When we talk about the Linksys Velop, since it only has the mobile app management and no web browser interface, this makes its app more dedicated and comprehensive. The app allows you to access various different features like device prioritization, parental control, guest network access etc., and in addition, more technical settings like DNS and port forwarding. It can be said without a shadow of doubt that having total control of your WiFi network that is easily accessible all the time is a better choice for homes that wish just wish for their internet connection to work conveniently.
Conclusion: Orbi vs Velop
By looking at all the features and examining all the factors it can be concluded that Netgear Orbi is the clear winner of this comparison. Two of the major things that makes the Netgear Orbi stand tall over the Linksys Velop are the speed and the reliability that it offers to the users. Orbi is much more consistent and faster in terms of performance with its dedicated backhaul channel. It provides you with a rapid and convenient WiFi signal, wherever you wish to roam around the house since it has a much wider coverage as compared to the Linksys Velop. In addition to that you get a whole lot of ethernet ports that you can use for physical connections as well. Now that we have declared the Netgear Orbi as the better choice, let’s go through some reasons as to why some users may choose to opt for the Linksys Velop. The Netgear Orbi also provides you with a web interface that has a whole lot of functionalities. Another factor that helps the Netgear Orbi prevail over the Linksys Velop is the fact that it takes fewer number of Orbi Satellites to cover a specific area. For example, it will take just one or two Orbi satellites to cover a given area, that would take around three to four units to cover in other systems.
The best reason why one may go for Linksys Velop is due to the fact that it is user friendly. It provides you with the option of having all the different network management tools on your phone on their mobile app, thus you won’t have to fiddle around with the complicated traditional interfaces. The traditional interfaces can be daunting for you if you do not have sufficient knowledge in the department. The price drops on Velop can prove to be more attractive to you if your home isn’t that large, as then you won’t require extensive coverage over a large area. When we talk about the appearance and design features, there are also certain areas where Linksys Velop can prove to be a great choice for you. If you do not want to worry about the placement then you can go for the Linksys Velop as the mesh network technology that Velop uses makes things easier for you, as you don’t have to think about the placement of the nodes. Whereas in Orbi you have to ensure that the main router is placed at the center for it to reach all the satellites. No matter which of the two you choose for great coverage at your home, you can’t go wrong as both are incredible WiFi mesh routers that ensure a great performance. You have to analyze your uses, needs and requirements and choose accordingly. While the Netgear Orbi is the better choice in more aspects, you may be more suitable for the Linksys Velop if the remaining factors are of a higher priority to you. They both aim to change the way wireless internet connectivity has worked in homes all across the globe over the years.