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Communications Networking Wireless Networking

Linksys Latest Company To Unveil a Wi-Fi Mesh System (engadget.com) 88

From an Engadget report: Mesh networking has become trendy for folks looking to fill every nook and cranny of their homes with Wi-Fi. So it should be no surprise that the makers of the most iconic router ever is unveiling its own system. The Linksys tri-band Velop setup is a modular system that the company says is made to expand as your needs do. Each Velop Tri-Band 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO node pulls quadruple duty as a router, range extender, access point and bridge. According to Linksys, each Velop is capable of a combined speed of 2,200 Mbps. It's like having a bunch of little routers in your home all working together to make sure you can stream The OA regardless of which room you're in.Linksys' Velop will set you back by at least $200 for an individual modular, with the pack of two and three priced at $350 and $500, respectively. This makes it costlier than Google's Wi-Fi router, which starts at $129.
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Linksys Latest Company To Unveil a Wi-Fi Mesh System

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  • by WarJolt ( 990309 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @03:41PM (#53599999)

    Game over guys

  • by skids ( 119237 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @03:47PM (#53600025) Homepage

    Seriously, one afternoon, a power drill and a crimp tool. How hard can it be?

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      I wired my previous house, but it was a one-story and I could route the wires up the wall to the attic and back down to the router......but I don't have any clue how to do the same in my 2-story house. Otherwise, I'd wire it.

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )

        If your basement is finished I'm not sure I would bother as you'd need to do a lot of fishing (or installing access ports.

        Firstly, don't retrofit it in the external walls. If you go into the attic make sure once you run the cable use a can of spray foam to fill in the gaps. You don't want to allow outside air into your walls, it will cause heat loss / gain.

        Otherwise you buy flexible drill bits that are ~4 feet long, this lets you hit the right angle to drill between floors, if you don't hit the right angle

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        Another good option is to re-use the existing wires in the wall to carry data. Ethernet-over-power-lines [amazon.com] is cheap and works well (as long as your two endpoints are on the same circuit, and your appliances aren't too electrically noisy). Ethernet-over-phone-lines rather pricey but also works well (I'm able to get broadband data traffic up to the third story of my building from the garage using 1970's-era phone wiring with this device [amazon.com]).

        • Another good option is to re-use the existing wires in the wall to carry data. Ethernet-over-power-lines [amazon.com] is cheap and works well (as long as your two endpoints are on the same circuit, and your appliances aren't too electrically noisy)...

          I'm just afraid my appliances will know the network is talking about them...

      • HVAC stack. Bonus is closets and bathrooms tend to be grouped around it for less than public visibility of any access panels you might need
    • by WarJolt ( 990309 )

      Honestly most people give me a blank stare when I say crimp tool. Those who know what that is has no idea how to configure router properly. Just face it, the vast majority of people don't want to be bothered with managing their WiFi. I found google wifi care very useful with helping out with propblems (even though my problem is probably qwests messed up PPP implementation).

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @04:02PM (#53600117) Homepage Journal

      How hard can it be?

      Before or after you suddenly get packet loss eight years later because one of the punch-downs didn't hold the wire quite well enough inside the wall, and suddenly you're having to take a panel off the wall behind a bunch of equipment? :-)

      But seriously, yes, wires are good, and for the most part, fairly easy to set up and maintain. With that said, what the heck are people building their walls and floors out of that they need a mesh network in a house!?!

      • How hard can it be?

        Before or after you suddenly get packet loss eight years later because one of the punch-downs didn't hold the wire quite well enough inside the wall, and suddenly you're having to take a panel off the wall behind a bunch of equipment? :-)

        But seriously, yes, wires are good, and for the most part, fairly easy to set up and maintain. With that said, what the heck are people building their walls and floors out of that they need a mesh network in a house!?!

        Why do you have punchdowns behind the wall? Stick in a wall box.

      • How hard can it be?

        Before or after you suddenly get packet loss eight years later because one of the punch-downs didn't hold the wire quite well enough inside the wall, and suddenly you're having to take a panel off the wall behind a bunch of equipment? :-)

        Thank you for confirming why I would always run two network runs to every location instead of just one. You never know. :-)

        And to be honest, you're probably wanting to upgrade the entire damn run with Cat6 or better after almost a decade of use, so taking a panel off the wall becomes a rather moot point.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          I run four, but if I'm using all four, I still have to dig into the wall. :-)

          As for upgrading the cables... yes, in theory, I could upgrade my 15-year-old Cat 5e wiring with something more modern, but I don't see myself upgrading my managed switch to 10-gigabit any time soon, as the existing gigabit network is still more than an order of magnitude faster than my upstream provider's download speeds and two orders of magnitude faster than my upstream provider's upload speeds, which would mean that the only s

          • by skids ( 119237 )

            Keep the Cat5e. There are good odds it will run 10G just fine, and if not, there are adaptive-speed standards coming onto the pro market now that can shave off a couple GB of bandwidth to make older wire work.

      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        Some people (most people?) don't build.

        I lived in a ancient (by US standards) 2-story rental with plaster interior walls with metal lathe, and concrete block exterior. With an unfinished basement , a detached garage, and a huge yard.

        Primary router/AP was in the middle of the basement, attached to the ceiling, because it was easy and invisible. It didn't adequately cover the house, and as the modulation rate ratcheted down to cover the slower/farther-away clients the nearby fast clients suffered as well.

        So

    • I'm not finding the RJ45 on my phone.
      • Why do you need that? Just use your cellphone, download Vonage or 8x8 or iPlum, sign on to their service and you're off to the races
    • But why do that? If you buy a decent or even mediocre router, wi-fi works great. I get the same speed a floor away from the router so why would I run wires in my walls?
    • My 3 story house, built in 2000, came wired! 1 or two wall sockets with coax, phone and ethernet in every room, all going back to a closet under the staircase, where the FiOS come in as an ethernet wire. It was my problem to put the router and 32 port switch in the closet.

      I may never move. The thought of dealing with an unwired house does not appeal to me.
      Maybe if I had a 'back to the studs' fixer upper, I would consider it because I could put my own comms wiring in with more ethernet and less coax.

    • Seriously, one afternoon, a power drill and a crimp tool. How hard can it be?

      My last "mesh" network (ironically enough a group of WRT54GS models running DD-WRT using WDS) covered about 3 acres across four structures.

      While I agree with you that running the damn wire is the easier way to go, it's not always the ideal option for every scenario.

      Oh, and that network was about a decade ago. It's about damn time Linksys.

    • Our utility box is in the basement. We bought the house with 95% of the basement ceiling drywalled. Our bedroom juts out mostly over the garage and the heat only gets upstairs through a maze of joists and ducts. Very difficult to cable. It's not impossible, we were doing renovations once and had a key part of the wall open that exposed the difficult part of the path upstairs but I thought screw it.. wireless routers work well enough. It has been a long time since I had the free hours for such endeavors
    • In my apartment it would take cutting an extra hole in the drywall to route the cable around the fireblock, if it's even possible. If it's not possible, I'd have to drill through the fireblock or sacrifice some other cable (coax, in use, electrical, not legal) to complete the run. Then I've got to patch the drywall back up.

      I used to run wireless from the second floor to the first floor but it was ass. So I got me some Zyxel powerline networking adapters. These things were ok but didn't get great speed.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Some people really hate the cables, crimps, etc. like my parents. :(

  • Mesh Solves Little (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @03:53PM (#53600053)

    Lets be honest here, the problem most people have is radio congestion in dense areas and the problem everyone else has is that consumer routers are buggy pieces of shit.

    • Back-channel between routers -> more congestion
    • More complicated system -> more bugs

    I can see how this solves our problems.

    • by WarJolt ( 990309 )

      I can't speak for linksys, but the google solution auto updates. Buggy routers don't get fixed because no one updates them anyway. Force updates and now vendors have incentives to fix their bugs.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The obvious question you failed to answer: how will the team that failed to understand basic network and OS concepts be able to do better given more time and no more money?

        • This is why I agree with RMS somewhat. If it can't accept updates, I don't need access, but if it accepts updates, it has to be open so that I can manage my own updates including updating the software myself since I have incentive for the device to work.

          And if the device can't be updated, they have to do a lot more testing at the dev stage. With forced network updates they have no minimum standard; anything can just be fixed later, so very little testing is needed. They're only really incentivised to avoid

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        I'm not convinced really - once the manufacturer has sold you the device the only incentive they really have is to get you to buy another one.
    • I live in a 300-unit apartment complex. Just about every one has a wireless router for cable or DSL service. Congestion during the day when everyone is at work isn't an issue. Between 7PM to 2AM, it's really bad.
      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        I live in a 300-unit apartment complex. Just about every one has a wireless router for cable or DSL service. Congestion during the day when everyone is at work isn't an issue. Between 7PM to 2AM, it's really bad.

        I live in a 30 unit complex right behind a 200 unit complex, and while the 2.4Ghz band is crowded and littered with AT&T and Xfinity SSID's, there's not much interference on 5Ghz, the DFS bands are nearly empty.

        • 5GHz barely penetrates paper

    • If you're building a mesh wi-fi network, you're probably not doing it in a dense apartment complex. You're doing it in a suburban, possibly two story, home and there is probably some distance to the next home. Moreover, the 5GHz signal dies out pretty fast. I can probably still see the SSID of the neighbors 5GHz wi-fi, but not the one from a house next to your neighbor.

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @03:55PM (#53600067) Homepage

    It's like having a bunch of little routers in your home all working together to make sure you can stream The OA regardless of which room you're in.

    This is a good reason not to upgrade. The OA is neither as entertaining nor as plausible as the "buffering, please wait" progress bar it would supersede.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the power and Ethernet ports are on the bottom of the Velop so it maintains a clean profile from all angles.

    This design garbage from the company that created the glorious WRT54G?

    • I feel like ports on the bottom are a nuisance as they cause kinked and shorted cables.. but thats just from my 16 years as a professional electrician/low voltage tech
  • Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @04:08PM (#53600173) Homepage

    Seriously, why? For a single home? I just picked up a bunch of 802.11n wireless routers for $10/ea brand new off of Amazon Prime. Disabled DHCP and all other routing services on each, so they all act as just access points and nothing more. *BAM*, great wireless coverage all throughout the house now, and was super freaggin cheap, too.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @04:28PM (#53600295) Homepage Journal

      Why? Because these have the potential to be infinitely better. I'm not going to detail my geek cred, but suffice it to say for these purposes that I usually build my own Linux-based routers. I'm not allergic to solder or compiling kernels. But I bought a 3-unit eero system over Thanksgiving and it's been a godsend.

      These networks aren't so much hubs as layer 2 switches. Know how your phone jumps from one station to another as you move through the house? How it's automatic and quick, but sometimes totally breaks the connect and makes Netflix stutter or VOIP calls drop? eero at least totally ends that. Connections are rock solid even as they bounce from one router to another. And they do bounce. If my kid and I are sitting on the couch using our phones, and both of us start streaming videos, eero is smart enough to push one of us off onto a different router so we're not interfering with each other's connection.

      I would not willingly go back to a handbuilt network now. I've only had a mesh network for a month and a half, but it's so much better than anything I'd pieced together myself that I'm retiring from the practice. Laugh if you want to or dismiss it as "I could do that myself for a fourth the price!", but keep an open mind. I think this is the way of the future.

      • You can totally do mesh networks yourself, it is just software. You brag about your geek cred being so awesome you're embarrassed to admit it, but want to trade on it anyways, and then you go full-marketing and claim that Brandybrand(TM) software can do stuff that software a sysadmin might install can't possibly do. Not impressed.

        • I can do lots of stuff myself. I can hunt for my food, or plant it. I can build furniture. I could make papyrus if I had to. And I don't do any of that because there are other things I'd rather be doing with my time. Networking was fun for the first 15 years or so, and I still enjoy it but it's no longer on the short list of my favorite hobbies. It's been demoted to something I have to get done so I can get started with my more favorite stuff.

          Yeah, I like eero. I read up on it, I bought it, and I'm glad I d

          • Right, in your response you get to the real issue you're talking about, and it isn't whatever Brandybrand(TM) of device that you used.

            Your actual whole story is just, "I used to like doing my own networking as a hobby even though I didn't need any special capabilities, and now I switched to just buying networking appliances and I like it better; I'm happy to give up that hobby."

            Has nothing to do with mesh networking. Those of us who still enjoy doing our own networking can do it exactly the same with mesh n

      • by unk98 ( 1525843 )

        Eero manages your equipment from their remote servers (i.e. the cloud) and therefore your network is no longer secure nor private. A 3rd party, remote managed device is too high of a risk for me to accept the convenience of mesh network.

        FAQs for Eero [eero.com] states that it collects "[O]ther data such as MAC addresses, IP addresses, and types of connected devices", which in my opinion is a lot of information to know about a customer.

        As examples, cloud managed means the 3rd party company has unrestricted access to:

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I'm guessing these things are designed to do a couple of things:

      1) Cooperative channel and power management -- make sure they don't step on each other any more than is necessary.

      I wonder why they haven't built this into wifi devices forever, too. Input a "coordination key" on each device and then let them learn about each other and manage power and channel assignments.

      2) Wireless backhaul -- place one where it can get signal from another unit and use that as uplink to distribute signal to areas that drop o

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2017 @04:17PM (#53600211)
    My router is G. My router is old. My router works just fine everywhere in my house.
    • by Rufty ( 37223 )

      My router was G. My router was old. My router worked fine just everywhere in my house. And garage. And shed.
      Then there was a thunderstorm and the the ADSL port went deaf.
      So I go a new, high power N router.
      Now I can get a great, full bars signal from anywhere in the house, but can no longer transfer any data
      at all from three rooms away, never mind the garage, even though I've got a full bars signal. WTF?
      Netgear POS.

    • If by fine you mean having at best a 20-25Mbit connection to the internet, or 10Mbit connection peer-to-peer within your home network, then I guess wireless-g fine.

      I have a 802.11ac router installed in the middle of a home, and I am able to transfer files between two computers in the far corners of the house at something like 150Mbps. Which is twice as fast as what I have seen with Wireless N.

  • ...I do not think that word means what they think it means.

    2.45 GHz is one ISM band.
    5.8 GHz is another ISM band.

    I keep looking for 900 MHz or 24.125 GHz ISM bands on these "tri-band" access points, yet I find none.

    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      From https://www.smallnetbuilder.co... [smallnetbuilder.com]:

      The AC2200 classification (400 MHz @ 2.4 GHz + 2 x 867 Mbps @ 5 GHz) and "tri-band" description mean Velop has a dedicated 5 GHz backhaul radio.

      • That's "tri-radio", not "tri-band".
        Words matter, and they matter even more when using them in technology.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The Linksys Tri-Band is made of up 3 radios, 1 using the 2.5 band, 1 using the lower half of the 5 band, then 1 using the upper half of the 5 band. How 1 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 3 is "marketing". What you really get is two radio with half the band funtionality disabled. Not something I would ever consider buying.
      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        If one 5 GHz radio can receive without degradation while the other 5 GHz radio is transmitting, then I might consider it "tri-band". Otherwise it is just Linksys marketing lies which is nothing new for Linksys. Why would I ever buy anything from them again?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I just hope I can get FTTH before you whippersnappers convince too many people that nobody needs wires anymore and everybody should just use mobile.

  • I've sworn off buying their crap after going 3/3 on their routers developing hardware failures. Bought a ubiquity wireless access point 3 years ago and haven't looked back
    • Also have an Ubiquity AC. Loaded Open-WRT on it (scary to do because there are no physical bottoms with which to initiate recovery mode). Works great.
      • I just used the firmware that came on it, which is...fine. More impressed with the hardware than many more expensive pieces I've owned. I think I have had to hard reboot it 3 times in the time I've owned it. Not sure why they're not more popular.
        • I know they're pretty popular among professional installers, but popularity is low because the setup is a bit technical (and required running a wire through the wall of ceiling)l, and because they aren't carried at mainstream box stores.
  • After all, the wires are all there, right? All that's required is to inject a signal into 'em at one end and take it off at the other - and I happen to know that the technology can handle gigabit network speed, certainly up to most home user needs.
    • Noise on the power line is actually bad for a lot of devices, and that's what it does; it injects noise into the power line, then filters it back out to recover the signal. But all your electrical equipment sees extra noise.

      And maybe you don't care, you figure, power supplies never go bad so it won't hurt. Still, your bandwidth goes down whenever an electrically noisy device turns on. Your bandwidth goes down if you go into the kitchen and turn on a blender. Using the microwave? Less bandwidth. Somebody doi

  • "the most iconic router ever"? That comes as a surprise to me. Please let me know the specific model you are talking about and where it was determined to be iconic.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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