Linksys has used CES 2017 to unveil a modular router setup designed to take the hassle out of covering larger homes with a Wi-Fi signal, a task usually achieved by using one or more range extenders.
Called Velop, the system uses identical vase-shaped 'nodes' that can be placed around the house in any order. Each one uses a Tri-Band 802.11ac radio, which dedicates two bands to computers, phones, tablets and other devices around the house that can connect on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequencies.
The remaining band operates on the 5GHz frequency and is used as the backhaul for communications between nodes. According to its maker, this is the Velop’s real party trick, as it prevents bandwidth being cut in half each time a new node is added – a common drawback of using a traditional router/range extender combination.
However many nodes are in use (Velop comes in one, two and three-pack options), they all show up under a single SSID, which is designed to eliminate confusion around deciding to connect to 2.4GHz or 5GHz networks.
Linksys has baked a number of user-friendly features into Velop, including app-based setup that’s conducted over Bluetooth, dynamic channel selection, Spot Finder Technology (to help determine optimal positions to place nodes) and compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant.
The Velop Whole Home Wi-Fi system is available to pre-order now costing £199 (around $244), £349 (around $427) and £399 ($489) for the 1, 2 or 3 pack respectively.
The company has also lifted the lid on a gaming version of its classic WRT54G router, which has been given a stealthy black makeover.
The new WRT32X works its magic through its custom firmware, which prioritizes low latency through a combination of the Linux kernel and “lightweight code base”, according to Linksys.
It also brings a host of special features when twinned with gaming machines that use Killer's networking adapters.
Through a “Killer Mode”, the router and PC are synched, allowing gamers to manage game traffic, streamed videos and downloads automatically. The latter, for example, allows gamers to be given priority bandwidth over other devices on the network when downloading patches.
The Linksys WRT32X is priced at £279.99 (around $342) and will be available to buy in the spring.
- Tech you can't miss from CES 2017