Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack) review

Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack) review

Does Linksys Velop AX4200 support online gaming? The Velop will handle 4K streaming video, music, or online gaming with no trouble at all. Each node has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for games consoles or other devices that may prefer a wired connection. It covers up to 8,100 sq, ft. and supports up to 120 plus devices. WiFi 6 sends and receives multiple streams of data simultaneously, providing up to 3.5x more WiFi capacity to hand more mobile, streaming, gaming, and smart home devices. Discover more in Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack) review.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Wide coverage area
  • Easy to use app
  • 4x Ethernet and 1x USB ports
  • Dynamic tri-band operation
  • USB port for hard drive

Cons

  • Limited parental controls
  • Lacks malware protection
  • Bulky nodes

Specs – Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack)

  • Number of Bands 3
  • Number of Antennas 8
  • Wi-Fi Spec: AX4200
  • Number of Antennas/Removable: 8/No
  • Ports: Router – 1 WAN/3 LAN, USB 3
  • Processor/Memory/Storage: Quad-core 1.4GHz/512MB/512MB
  • Wi-Fi chip: Qualcomm Networking Pro 800
  • Peak 802.11ax performance: 507.7Mbps (at 15 feet)
  • Range: 90 feet
  • Size: 9.6 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches
  • Wireless Specification 802.11ax
  • Parental Controls Yes
  • IPv6 Compatible Yes
  • Number of Wired LAN Ports (Excluding WAN Port) 3 on router, 4 on node
  • MU-MIMO Yes
  • Quality of Service (QoS) Yes
  • Security WPA2, WPA3
  • Anti-Malware Tools No
  • Number of USB ports 1
  • Separate Bands Yes
  • Coverage Area for Hardware as Tested 8100 sq ft
  • Number of Nodes 3
  • Wired Backhaul Yes
  • DD-WRT / Tomato-Compatible No

Price

The Wi-Fi 6 follow-on to the Linksys Velop mesh systems, the Velop AX4200 is available either on its own for $250 or in a three-pack for $500..

  • 1-pack (Model MX4200) – $199.99
  • 2-pack (Model MX8000) – $299.99
  • 3-pack (Model MX12600) – $449.99

While it’s being used, the Velop AX4200 consumed 13 watts. If it’s on 24/7 and you pay the national average of 13 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, it should cost about $14.80 a year to use each unit. All three together will run about $44, or about $15 more than the eero Pro 6’s three-pack kit.

Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack) review

Design

 They are white rectangular towers. The three Velop AX4200 devices that came in the kit are all the same. Every satellite takes the form of a tall box (244 x 114 x 114mm).  They each have a single LED dot on top. When it’s solid blue, everything is online but if it turns to yellow or red, the Internet connection is weak or offline.

Ports

Each node has four Gigabit Ethernet ports (3 LAN, 1 WAN) and a USB 3.0 port. Other Wi-Fi systems such as the TP-Link X60 AX3000 and the TrendNet TEW-830MDR2K are equipped with only two LAN ports. 

The Velop AX4200 does have a USB 3 port for connecting a hard drive and making it available over the network. 

Control buttons

The Velop AX4200 has a power switch and a recessed reset button to return the device to its factory settings and software. There’s also a button to activate the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) system for quickly adding a device to the network, something the eero Pro 6 lacks due to security concerns.

Room coverage

The Velop AX4200 is one of the least expensive Wi-Fi 6 mesh kits around. Each Velop AX4200 unit can cover 2,700 square feet and the three-piece kit can fill an 8,000 square foot residence, according to Linksys engineers. 

Chips & Storage

Each Velop AX4200 device has eight antennas but they can’t be aimed or replaced. Based on Qualcomm’s Networking Pro 800 series of Wi-Fi chips, the Velop AX4200 has a quad-core 1.4GHz processor along with 512MB of RAM to run its operations. There’s 512MB of flash storage for holding its firmware and settings. 

Speed

While the high-end Velop MX5300 had four streams per network, here you get slightly fewer streams. There’s a two-stream 2.4GHz network (600Mbps), one two-stream 5GHz network (1200Mbps), and one quad-stream 5GHz network (2400Mbps). Streams are important, since they can be thought of as individual networks, providing dedicated bandwidth. 

Setup

Setup is pretty easy, with the app taking you through configuring and placing your satellites before creating your secure wireless network. All-in, it took me less than 15 minutes to get my mesh network running.

From the app, you can view the devices connected to your network, toggle the guest network, and manage your wireless network. There are points where the app doesn’t quite offer the full range of features that you’d expect. For example, you can get the system to re-scan for the best wireless network channel, but you can’t choose one manually.

Parental lock

Tap the three-bar icon in the upper left corner to access the settings menu. Here you can view the status of all client devices, access Parental Controls, enable guest networking, and configure notifications such as when a node goes offline.

Parental controls are basic: You can pause internet access with the touch of a button, schedule pauses, and block specific websites, but you don’t get the granular age-based filters that you get with the TP-Link X60 AX3000 and the Asus ZenWi-Fi AX XT8 systems. 

HomeKit

The Velop AX4200 isn’t brand new but Linksys recently took it to a new level by adding a HomeKit firewall through a firmware update. This allows you to set limits on how much Internet access your various accessories have. Most notably, you can restrict them so they can only connect to your hub using the Home app. This will prevent them from getting firmware updates but will also stop them from communicating with anyone you don’t want them to.

Apps – Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack)

Setting up the Velop AX4200 mesh set starts with getting the Linksys app. Starting with everything unplugged, I followed the on-screen directions for setting the gear up and viewed several slides on properly placing the mesh host and satellites. I checked to make sure the host’s single LED was blinking purple, showing it was awake and was ready to get started. 

The app scanned for the router and found it within a minute. Next, it automatically connected the router and it was time for me to sign up for a Linksys account.

After login, the app interface has a Speed Check feature to measure your current broadband connection at the router. It takes a moment to check whether there’s newer firmware to load, although the system performs updates at night during low-load situations.

Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack) Performance review

At 75-feet, the Velop AX4200’s throughput fell to 139.6Mbps, still behind the eero Pro 6’s 208.9Mbps. The Orbi nonidentical twins – the Orbi RBK752 and RBK852 – trailed with 82.5Mbps and 85.9Mbps available. The Velop AX4200 hit its range limit at 90-feet, 15 feet short of the eero Pro 6’s 105-foot range and ability to deliver 29.5Mbps at 90-feet.

If you moved the test system 50-feet from the host router, the Velop AX4200’s throughput dropped off to 201.3Mbps. That’s better than either the Netgear Orbi RBK852 (124.4Mbps) or the Orbi RBK752 (100.3Mbps). Neither could touch the resurging eero Pro 6’s 239.9Mbps of bandwidth available for the test system at 50-feet.

Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack) Customer review

Easy Setup and Improved Range

Got this as an upgrade to my existing AC2200 system which wasn’t giving me consistent signal and speeds at one end of my house.

Setup was very easy as the app had options for adding new Child nodes and to replace the existing parent node. I just followed the prompts and a short time later my entire system was upgraded.

The first two things that stood out even before installation is 1) the nodes are significantly larger than the older AC2200 system and 2) for some reason Linksys decided to change the orientation of the power plugs so that they stick out further from the wall. It’s a small detail but can make a difference in the install.

With the old system I had to reset the furthest node several times a week to maintain a decent signal on the back porch, probably due to interference from plumbing etc between nodes, but after a week with the new system this has not been an issue and I now have a good signal in all corners of my backyard, not just on the porch.

WiFi Speed tests on the old system at the back of the house consistently fluctuated and were usually 10-15% below the 100Mbps we get at the front of the house. Speed tests are now pretty consistent regardless of where you take the reading.

The app makes it easy to provide a guest network to those visiting and you can edit the names of the devices on your network to make it easy to identify everything connected. You can also prioritize up to 3 devices on the network. With the number of smart devices many homes now have it would be nice if that could be increased to 5 or more. Mine are currently the main streaming device, my work computer and an iPad, but that keeps me from being able to add my two outdoor security cameras.

Overall I’m impressed with the upgraded system. It was simple to install, provides a strong signal and consistently fast connection.

Only suggestions are to go back to the lower profile wall wart/power plug and look at increasing the number of devices you can prioritize.

By johnk2032 at Best Buy

Linksys Velop AX4200 WiFi 6 mesh system (3-pack) alternative

Netgear Orbi WiFi 6E (RBKE963)

Specs
  • Wi-Fi spec: Wi-Fi 6e/Quad-band
  • Number of antennas/removable: 12/No
  • Ports: 1 WAN/4 LAN (base unit), 4 LAN (satellites)
  • Measured peak throughput: 1.009 Gbps
  • Size: 11.1 x 7.5 x 3.0 inches
Pros
  • Excellent mesh performance +
  • Easy to set up and configure+
  • Optional security software, parental controls
Cons
  • Expensive

Netgear’s Orbi WiFi 6E is easily one of the fastest mesh routers on the planet — and also the most expensive. But if you have a fat wallet, a very fast broadband connection and a very big house, then this is probably the mesh system for you. 

Each unit has 12 antennas and four Ethernet ports (one rated at 2.5 Gbps), and the system creates channels on the 2.5, 5 and 6-Ghz bands, plus a fourth 5-Ghz one for backhaul between units.

The Orbi WiFi 6E, model number RBKE963, can cover up to 9,000 square feet. Add a third satellite and you can go to 12,000 square feet. At a distance of 15 feet, the router’s 6-Ghz channel delivered throughput of more than a gigabit, the first mesh router to do so in our tests. 

Netgear offers trial subscriptions to its Armor security software, which includes Bitdefender antivirus, and parental controls. You’ll also have to pay for tech support after 90 days. 

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