Velop vs Orbi – the battle of the whole home WiFi systems

No matter which you choose, you'll get great WiFi - but: which one is best?

WiFi is changing, WiFi has changed, and with more devices in our homes and new high speed connections into our homes it’s more important than ever.

We’ve reviewed two entirely new WiFi “systems” – the Netgear Orbi and the Linksys Velop.

But the real question is – which one is better?

Coverage

The reason to opt for an Orbi or Velop is that you have a large home or large numbers of blackspots with your WiFi.

If your coverage looks like this:

Having installed a standard Telco Modem/Router at home, you’re not going to get the best WiFi – unless you’ve got a small apartment.

So, Install an Orbi or Velop you’ll get this:

As you can see here, on coverage, it’s a draw.  They both give you what you want.

And frankly, both have options for adding nodes or satellites so any dead-spot will be covered.

You could give this one to Orbi, because they have introduced smaller units to give the same outcome in smaller properties, but for the sake of fairness, we’re calling this one a tie.

Setup

Hands down, the Orbi wins.  Yep, they had an app, but we didn’t use it.  Just plugged in the Router, got it connected, then plugged in the Satellite, waited for it to connect.

The reason Velop is harder is because any of the three nodes can be the main router. They are all the same. Orbi dictates which unit is the router, so the configuration and pairing is already done.

A point to Orbi

Hardware

They’ve both taken the same concept approach here, but when it comes to network infrastructure, Orbi has the advantage because everything is plug and play in the back, easily accessible, and there are four Ethernet ports, on both Router and Satellite.

Just two on each Velop is a disadvantage and they are located under the bottom of each node.

It’s not a clear win to Orbi, because it only applies to those who want and need those connections – for example if you can put the node or satellite near your entertainment unit.

Speed

These things are amazing.  If you’re paying for great speed, you’re going to get them right across your home finally.

I get around 93mbps down, and I now get that plugged into my modem, and when on WiFi at the other end of the house.

Both Orbi and Velop provide this consistency across the home.

But, if you’re doing file transfers or network streaming within your home, Orbi will pip Velop at the post.

Our tests showed slightly higher speeds across the Orbi network than on the Velop, but again, it’s a smaller win to Orbi because most people just want the WiFi to match their Internet.

Design

I’m going to give this one to Velop.  The smaller slimmer design is very nice, there’s nothing at all wrong with Orbi, but it’s a larger unit to be sure.

The option of a smaller standup Orbi as a satellite would be great.

Price

Here’s how they stack up at JB Hi-Fi.  The Linksys Velop comes in a two node pack or three node pack

Netgear’s approach is more about how much coverage you need.

Netgear wins here, offering their solution to all sizes of homes.  Those with just a deadspot can get in at a lower price, while their top end seems to give as much coverage as the 3-node Velop.  The Velop would give more flexibility of scale with the three nodes, but the variety of options makes Orbi the winner on price.

Overall, the winner is

Head to head, like for like, you’ve got to give this to Orbi. Price, ease of use and speed are important, but it will be a good battle in the retail stores.

We’ll stick with Orbi, but won’t hold a grudge if you go with Velop.

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Tech

Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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