Apple Begins Selling Linksys Mesh Routers Online and in Retail [Update]

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Recently Apple started selling Linksys mesh routers. Called the Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi System, this is the first router Apple has sold aside from its AirPort line. With Apple not having made AirPort hardware improvements in years, Velop is the first Mesh system blessed with an Apple Store presence.

Linksys Velop Mesh Routers

In a statement given to 9To5Mac, an Apple spokesperson said that the mesh routers are a good choice for people with larger homes:

People love our AirPort products and we continue to sell them. Connectivity is important in the home and we are giving customers yet another option that is well suited for larger homes.

The Linksys mesh routers come in two varieties: a 2-pack system for US$350 and a 3-pack system for US$500. It’s a tri-band Wi-Fi network and is rated to cover 2,000 square feet. Each router, called a node, is configurable with the Linksys iOS app.

Image of two Linksys Velop mesh routers.

Although Apple has released sporadic updates to AirPort devices, such as to patch the KRACK and Broadpwn vulnerabilities, Apple disbanded the AirPort team and hasn’t updated the hardware.

AirPort Alternatives

If you don’t have a large home, a mesh router system wouldn’t make sense for you. Instead, The Mac Observer has a couple of alternatives: the Synology RT2600ac and RT1900ac.

A good reason that people buy AirPort Extremes is because of the integrated Time Machine backup. In Synology’s router management web interface (SRM), it also supports Time Machine. Just attach an external hard drive, enable Time Machine support in SRM and you’re done.

These routers also support AirPrint and Google Cloud Print on any USB or network printer you have. Finally, Synology has a free VPN Plus Server, which you can manage from SRM to protect your home network.

Image of Synology RT2600ac router as an alternative to both mesh routers and Apple's AirPort routers.

The Synology RT2600ac router is sold on Amazon for US$194.99, while the RT1900ac is US$119.99. The RT2600ac is a dual-band, 4×4 router, whereas the RT1900ac is a dual-band, 3×3 router. The RT2600ac has an extra antenna for each band that almost doubles the range of the RT1900ac. But for small homes or apartments, RT1900ac is likely enough for your needs.

[Update: this article originally stated that Apple wasn’t supporting AirPort, and now correctly notes that Apple hasn’t released new AirPort hardware in years. – Editor]

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paikinho
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paikinho

Oh and I have burned up 3 Linksys routers in my time. Not sure I trust them very much. They always break. My tower has been going strong since the day they first came out. And the signal I get is decent over the fences at my neighbors house, across my yard and across the street and to the back deck. My house is not tiny either. At my old house my router was in a back room and I could go all the way to the alleyway some 70 feet away into the garage and still surf on an… Read more »

paikinho
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paikinho

Love my Airport too. Recently moved and we were given a nice router by our cable company. Came with free install. Problem was is that even though it is a brand new docsis 3.0 dual band 4-port giga ethernet and wireless AC….. my throughput with that on was 1/2 of what my Airport router was giving me. Everything chunked up. All of the video content was stuttering. Rainbow balls of death on everything. Disgusting. Ripped that router off my system and put the Airport in again…. Couldn’t be happier. Best router I have owned and I have had many many… Read more »

John Kheit
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John Kheit

Agreed geoduck. I’m still holding on to airport despite apples loathesom dishonest knack debacle. The Synology would totally be my 2nd choice, and agree with Andrew on that.

geoduck
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geoduck

I do love my AirPort. Yes it was more expensive than other routers, but management is a snap and it’s stone reliable. However WPA3 is coming out next year. I seriously hope Apple updates their Routers for WPA3.

Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

Yes, I find it easier to manage and it has better coverage than the one from my ISP. The Airport, is bridged to the ISP modem/WiFi.

Ned
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Ned

I’d also like to see the additional requirements for ATSC 3.0’s OTA wireless portion and any 5G requirements if necessary. Maybe that’s why Apple held off renewing – new router requirements?