Whole-home Wi-Fi systems are the hot ticket in home networking these days, so it should come as no surprise that Linksys is expanding its Velop mesh networking lineup with a new dual-band model (the original tri-band Velop—one of our top picks—will remain available).
The dual-band Velop is an AC1300 system that retains the columnar form factor of the original AC2200 model, but it stands about two inches shorter. It will be available in one-, two-, and three-pack SKUs at prices to be announced later (Linksys expects to ship in the spring).
The new and original systems will be interoperable, so Velop owners will be able to mix and match dual- and tri-band models together. The dual-band components, however, will not be able to take advantage of the dedicated wireless backhaul that the tri-band models offer. In any event, both models support dedicated wired backhaul if your home has the infrastructure to take advantage of it.
Linksys also announced four new software features that it plans to roll out to Velop components in 2018. Client steering by node enables the network to self-optimize, directing each client to connect to the closest node for the best performance. Backhaul reconnect and optimization ensures that each network node re-establishes the best connection to the Internet if one node fails or is removed from the network, or a new node joins the network.
Linksys also plans to introduce new parental control features aimed to prevent children from encountering the web’s darker corners, and a real-time network security monitoring to prevent malware infections, phishing attacks, and to block access to malicious websites. These last two features will apparently require in-app purchase, but Linksys didn’t offer any details on that front.