Linksys, Netgear, Norton taking different approaches to whole-home Wi-Fi

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2017
Home networking giants Linksys and Netgear have unveiled next-gen routers, with Linksys opting for mesh networking, and Netgear relying on traditional hardware. Norton is also throwing its hat into the ring with a router that claims to block all security threats before the enter the home's network.


Linksys Velop mesh networking system




The Linksys Velop adopts mesh networking, similar to that in the Google Wi-Fi and Eero systems. Each Velop "node" is a Tri-Band AC2200 device that serves as router, range extender, access point, and bridge.

Each node is configured during setup by the accompanying Linksys app for iOS. After setup is complete, the Linksys app serves as a Wi-Fi management tool with ufeatures like guest access control, parental controls, device prioritization, and quality of service monitoring.

Each Velop node contains a Tri-Band AC 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO radio configuration with combined speed up to 2200 Mbps. A pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports provide wired connectivity. The Velop has no USB ports for device sharing, however.

The Velop system utilizes three Wi-Fi radios to determine the optimal path from the modem and "parent" node to each "child" node to ensure the fastest speeds to all client devices, regardless of which node they are connected to. Additionally, Velop can also use an Ethernet connection for inter-node communication to allow all three radios to communicate with clients and help Wi-Fi reach distant locations in the home.

The Linksys Velop Whole Home Wi-Fi is available for preorder, with prices ranging from $199.99 for a single unit, up to a retail price of $499.99 for three.

D-Link Covr system




Also shown at CES is the D-Link Covr system. D-Link's new offering is not a mesh system at this time, but can implement the company's latest PowerLine technology to connect Wi-Fi extenders to the main router to make sure an entire residence is blanketed by sufficient Wi-Fi signal.

The core of the system is the DIR-883 AC2600 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router, with up to 1733 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 800 Mbps on 2.4GHz band. Wired connectivity is supplied by one Gigabit WAN port, and four Gigabit LAN ports.

Paired with the router is the DAP-1655 Wi-Fi range extender, with speeds up to 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It connects to the router through either the pre-configured Wi-Fi signal, or though Ethernet by way of the company's compatible DHP-W730AV PowerLine adapters.

D-Link notes that a future firmware update will provide full mesh networking support to the D-Link Covr system, but a timetable has not been provided.

The Covr Wi-Fi System with DIR-883 router and DAP-1644 extender will be available in the second quarter for $299.99. The Covr DHP-W732AV PowerLine system will be available at the same time for $199.

Norton Core




The Norton Core moves security from individually connected devices on a network to the router itself, enclosed in a 7-inch icosagon that the company says is "inspired by defense and weather radars."

Powered by a 1.7 Ghz dual-core processor, the Norton Core performs deep-packet inspection to ferret a threat, and eliminate it at the router before it can reach a connected device. Norton also claims that security can be performed from the inside of the network out, as well. If a device on the network is identified with "known vulnerabilities or threats" the user is notified, and the device is shunted to a "segregated network."

Specific speeds on each frequency have not been announced, but the Norton Core is an AC2600 MU-MIMO router supporting both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz frequencies at a peak speed of 2.5 Gbps. Wired connectivity is provided by a Gigabit Ethernet WAN Port, three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and a pair of USB 3.0 type-A ports.

The Norton Core will retail for $279.99, and is available for pre-order for a limited time at $199.99. Purchase of the Core device includes a year of Norton Core Security Plus for 20 iOS, macOS, Android, or Windows devices. After the first year, the security service is $9.99 per month.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,429member
    We can see why Apple stepped away from this market, at least in the short term. What can they bring when selling just "standard" routers? Consumers will lean towards these added-value devices, instead.
    Daekwandesignr
  • Reply 2 of 32
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Maybe Apple is developing a new router for this space?

    these guys seem confused. 
    Daekwan
  • Reply 3 of 32
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,429member
    The top photo with the Linksys Velop node inside of a metal shelving unit kind of highlights user ignorance about how radio frequencies operate.
    jSnivelyelijahg
  • Reply 4 of 32
    designrdesignr Posts: 463member
    cali said:

    these guys seem confused. 
    Why do you say that?
  • Reply 5 of 32
    I'd like to see a head-to-head with the velop vs. eero.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,108member
    We can see why Apple stepped away from this market, at least in the short term. What can they bring when selling just "standard" routers? Consumers will lean towards these added-value devices, instead.
    My thought is Apple brings a router not needing these abilities. I traditionally had coverage issues until I went to the vertical AirPort extreme and now have no coverage issues at all.  I can get my WiFi from about 150 feet from my house and can't see the need for mesh routers any more.
    Daekwanspliff monkey
  • Reply 7 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    $499 is too cheap, I'm holding out for a home wifi setup that costs $4,999
    elijahg
  • Reply 8 of 32
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,787member
    People here may not like this but I think this is exactly why Apple got out of the router business, at least for now. They can focus on other things rather trying to make something others are already doing. If others are getting better and better and making their device setup easily and work very well, what does Apple offer that they don't other than making something very similar with an Apple logo on it? I have a Linksys AC1200 and it works just as good as any AirPort/Time Capsule router does and it was quite easy to setup too. 
    edited January 2017 designrgatorguy
  • Reply 9 of 32
    macxpress said:
    People here may not like this but I think this is exactly why Apple got out of the router business, at least for now. They can focus on other things rather trying to make something others are already doing. If others are getting better and better and making their device setup easily and work very well, what does Apple offer that they don't other than making something very similar with an Apple logo on it? I have a Linksys AC1200 and it works just as good as any AirPort/Time Capsule router does and it was quite easy to setup too. 
    Have you owned the current AirPort Extreme? I am asking because you claim the Linksys AC1200 is just as good but that would imply that you have owned the AirPort Extreme in its current form right?
  • Reply 10 of 32
    steven n. said:
    We can see why Apple stepped away from this market, at least in the short term. What can they bring when selling just "standard" routers? Consumers will lean towards these added-value devices, instead.
    My thought is Apple brings a router not needing these abilities. I traditionally had coverage issues until I went to the vertical AirPort extreme and now have no coverage issues at all.  I can get my WiFi from about 150 feet from my house and can't see the need for mesh routers any more.
    Kind of the same, kind of different...I've got an vertical AirPort Extreme and a white hockey puck Airport Express as an extender (multi-level house, several materials including brick, stone, wood, glass, concrete, desire to get solid WiFi out to the pool area, etc.). Fantastic coverage all around, no nooks or crannies without very solid connectivity. So, how does this differ from a mesh setup? Isn't a base + extender(s) basically a mesh? Or are there differences in how a mesh setup bounces you? Clearly I've never looked it up, but am curious if there's any substantial difference/benefit to a "true" mesh setup...?
  • Reply 11 of 32
    designrdesignr Posts: 463member
    As others have said, this is why Apple is getting out of things like displays and routers. Same as when they got out of printers years ago. Others specialize in these things and are doing as well or better. This also enables Apple to focus more and to be less of a private "wall-garden" and more a part of a larger ecosystem of devices.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,770member
    That Norton router looks nice and the added protection can't hurt especially as lots of appliances these days are connecting to the internet. This could add another layer of security on top of HomeKit.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,770member
    The top photo with the Linksys Velop node inside of a metal shelving unit kind of highlights user ignorance about how radio frequencies operate.
    Nah, that is typical garage shelving. The sides are wide open and the shelves are chipboard. That will work fine. Now try to get a signal from inside the house to the back patio when your house is covered in stucco and completely wrapped in wire lathe, along with metal louvered window shades and a metal roof. 
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 14 of 32
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,291member
    ireland said:
    $499 is too cheap, I'm holding out for a home wifi setup that costs $4,999
    Don't forget the $19.99/mo subscription fee.

    All these are overpriced IMO. Fairly, so is AirPort. 

    Any of these offer VPN handling? It is occasionally handy to geo-relocate.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    macxpress said:
    People here may not like this but I think this is exactly why Apple got out of the router business, at least for now. They can focus on other things rather trying to make something others are already doing. If others are getting better and better and making their device setup easily and work very well, what does Apple offer that they don't other than making something very similar with an Apple logo on it? I have a Linksys AC1200 and it works just as good as any AirPort/Time Capsule router does and it was quite easy to setup too. 
    I am very happy about buying a non Apple Time Capsule equivalent. What I am not at all happy about is having to trawl through multiple vendors technologies and technological claims and try and decipher wether I'll be stuck right back where I used to be when I couldn't make heads or tails out of all the options and settings. What I like about the Apple gear is that it is easy to run. The Norton one is a prime example - it comes with Norton.... I shudder at the Norton memories in the few years I ran XP. The constant reminders, nudges, updates, ad nauseam, not to mention the dramatic slowing down of the system. The problem with fairly basic technology is that in order to differentiate vendors add 'features' that get in the way. I really appreciate the simplicity of my Time Capsule.
    applepieguy
  • Reply 16 of 32
    volcan said:
    The top photo with the Linksys Velop node inside of a metal shelving unit kind of highlights user ignorance about how radio frequencies operate.
    Nah, that is typical garage shelving. The sides are wide open and the shelves are chipboard. That will work fine. Now try to get a signal from inside the house to the back patio when your house is covered in stucco and completely wrapped in wire lathe, along with metal louvered window shades and a metal roof. 
    "Why can't I get a decent cell signal in the house? Oh right, because I live in a Farraday cage!"
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 17 of 32
    macxpress said:
    [...] I have a Linksys AC1200 and it works just as good as any AirPort/Time Capsule router does and it was quite easy to setup too. 
    Are you sure? I think some things are easier with the Airport. I tried a Linksys about a year ago and could not figure out how to enable Back to my Mac.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    paxman said:
    macxpress said:
    People here may not like this but I think this is exactly why Apple got out of the router business, at least for now. They can focus on other things rather trying to make something others are already doing. If others are getting better and better and making their device setup easily and work very well, what does Apple offer that they don't other than making something very similar with an Apple logo on it? I have a Linksys AC1200 and it works just as good as any AirPort/Time Capsule router does and it was quite easy to setup too. 
    I am very happy about buying a non Apple Time Capsule equivalent. What I am not at all happy about is having to trawl through multiple vendors technologies and technological claims and try and decipher wether I'll be stuck right back where I used to be when I couldn't make heads or tails out of all the options and settings. What I like about the Apple gear is that it is easy to run. The Norton one is a prime example - it comes with Norton.... I shudder at the Norton memories in the few years I ran XP. The constant reminders, nudges, updates, ad nauseam, not to mention the dramatic slowing down of the system. The problem with fairly basic technology is that in order to differentiate vendors add 'features' that get in the way. I really appreciate the simplicity of my Time Capsule.
    Some of the newer routers and mesh systems are dead-easy to set up and manage, even for someone who has zero experience with them. 
  • Reply 19 of 32
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 816member
    I wonder if these are any better at handing off clients between access points? Currently FaceTime (+ audio) has quite a number of seconds between losing the stream and reconnecting when changing APs.  I have all 802.11n Airport base stations, and handoff is certainly better than it was with old Netgear G devices, but still not great. Problem is clients have to timeout on one station before they'll search and switch to the next. And that's pretty slow what with authentication and DHCP requests. 

    It could be improved by anticipating loss of signal and pre-searching/authenticating to a second AP before losing signal from the first. Alternatively if every station broadcast the same data and was able to receive any data as with multicast, it would improve things hugely as authentication to and handoff between individual stations wouldn't be required. The overall bandwidth would be lower, but for a remote, large network with relatively little bandwidth requirement the extra radio noise from all the stations wouldn't matter. The APs would essentially be aerials and the authentication handled by one "master" AP instead of individually. 

    This is is the kind of thing Apple would bring to the table, to help sales of their iOS stuff. But now Cook seems to only be able to focus on the iPhone and Watch bands, looks like we've had it. 
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 20 of 32
    I really like Norton's parental controls for screen time management that setup time limits, not just schedules.
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