In this post, we compare the two most popular Wi-Fi system brands - Linksys Velop vs Orbi...
Was there a time that you were walking around the house playing a game and then it suddenly ends because there is no Wi-Fi connection in your area? It’s annoying, isn’t it?
Today, having Wi-Fi in every part of the house has become essential given that a lot of work and entertainment are done online. If you’re still having Wi-Fi problems because of dead spots and unreachable areas, then it’s time to have a Wi-Fi system.
What is a Wi-Fi System?
A Wi-Fi system is something like an extender but a little different. If you’ve heard about Wi-Fi extenders that you place in your room that extend your Wi-Fi signal, then you will have an easier time understanding what a Wi-Fi system is.
In a nutshell, a Wi-Fi system “blankets” your whole house with Wi-Fi. Since it’s not an extender, the signal from your router is not stretched. Instead, the signal is amplified to all the areas of your home. Now you can say goodbye to your Wi-Fi extenders and move to a system that can make most of your Wi-Fi signal.
Currently, there are two Wi-Fi system brands that are available in the market - the Netgear Orbi (Orbi) and Linksys Velop (Velop).
The Linksys Velop
The Velop is a Wi-Fi system that comes in ones or threes. It is a rectangular vertical box that has an indicator light telling you if the node (the device) is working or not. What the Velop is known for is its minimalist design and ease of use.
The Velop is a white vertical box. If you are looking for a minimalist set up, then you’ll love the Velop right away with its no-fuss design. You can place it anywhere in your house and it won’t look out of place. What’s even better is that it doesn’t have a lot of wires compared to standard routers and Wi-Fi extenders. In fact, you only have one wire and that’s found on the primary node. If you have three nodes, you don’t have to plug each of them somewhere - you just place them as is.
The Velop uses a mesh connection among its nodes. When you have more than two nodes, it creates a web-like connection among each other. The mesh connection allows each node to connect to the nearest node regardless if it’s the first or second node. In this way, you are guaranteed a better internet connection.
Did you know that the Velop has an app, too? One of the things you’ll be impressed with the Velop is its phone app. With the smartphone application, you can manage and monitor your nodes even when you’re not at home. It has parental control features where you can block sites that aren’t for kids, device prioritization where you can choose which device is the priority when providing internet connection, and it has a guest network availability. Plus, you can do real-time internet speed tests.
The Netgear Orbi
What about the Orbi? The Orbi works a lot like the Velop, but it’s known to be much better. It does have a minimalist design, but it’s soft around the edges. It looks more like a room freshener than a Wi-Fi device. Nonetheless, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to features.
First of all, Orbi is easy to install. You connect the main router to your house’s Internet and place the other devices around your house. It works a lot like the Velop, right? However, the Orbi takes this a little further by just automatically connecting all the devices once the primary router is connected to the Internet. To know if it’s all connected, check the indicator light lining the top of the Orbi device.
The Orbi has a smartphone app too. To add to that, it has a web interface that allows you to access its many features on your laptop. These features include parental controls, access points mode, VPN pass-through, port forwarding, and many more. If you’re not a techie, the other features might be a bit confusing and unnecessary but they are still nice to have.
What people most love about the Orbi is not actually the design. Rather, it’s the fact that it can cover 5,000 sq ft. At an affordable price, you can cover a huge area of your home. You might not even need a third device. However, if you don’t have three devices, then the two other devices won’t be able to make a web-like connection.
Key Differences Between the Velop and the Orbi
What are the differences between the Velop and the Orbi? Aren’t they both Wi-Fi systems? While they work the same way, the two have different features and designs which make them very different from each other.
- Coverage Area
First is their coverage. You’ve read a while ago that the Velop can cover 2,000 sq ft of space while the Orbi can cover 5,000 sq ft with one device. This in itself is a huge difference. Depending on how big your area is, you might prefer one over the other. Plus, how many devices you’ll get will depend on the covered area too.
For example, you only need to increase the Wi-Fi signal in your basement. Do you need a 5,000 sq ft coverage for that? If you don’t, then you can opt for the Velop. Fortunately, both these brands can be bought in singles and in packs which make it easier for you to get only what you need.
Do you have an Amazon Alexa in your home? If you do, then you’ll love that both the Velop and the Orbi are compatible with the device. For Velop, you can command Alexa to give you the password and turn on or off the guest Wi-Fi network. For the Orbi, you can connect with Amazon Alexa after you’ve added ‘Netgear skill’ to the Amazon app.
What access? When it comes to Wi-Fi systems, you can either access them through a phone app, computer software, or voice control. Both the Velop and the Orbi have compatibility with the Amazon Alexa and a phone app, but only the Orbi can be accessed through a computer.
The Orbi has its own web-based interface which allows you to use its features even from a laptop or desktop. In terms of accessibility, it has more mediums to access it from. Although, you’re probably more inclined to use the smartphone app that comes with it because it’s still a lot easier to do especially when you’re not at home.
Lastly, and probably the most obvious difference is the design. The Velop is a rectangular vertical box and looks like a small stereo. At the top of the device is a small indicator light in the corner that turns blue, red, or violet. These LED lights will tell you if the Velop is connected to a smartphone, is connected to the internet, or is not receiving any signal.
The Velop also comes with ventilation on top of each node. This is to make sure that the device doesn’t overheat especially when it’s turned all the time. There aren’t any buttons on this device because setting it up and managing it will be done from your phone.
The Orbi, however, is less angular than the Velop. It has the minimalist design but it’s like a rectangular-shaped book with soft corners. It is often confused with a room freshener or a mist sprayer. Unlike the Velop, the Orbi is more user-friendly because of one thing - the indicator lights. The indicator lights are easily seen because they line the top of the device. Even if you’re far away, you know if the device is working or not.
Orbi vs. Velop - Which Should You Get?
Now that you know how these two Wi-Fi systems differ, the next question is, which should you get? Is there a better Wi-Fi system? Well, the short answer is that yes, there’s a better system for you. To help you know which one it is, here are four things you should take a look at.
With the area of reach considered, the more affordable device is the Orbi. It can cover twice as much as the Velop but at almost the same price point. If you’re looking for something that is more affordable and cost-efficient, then the Orbi is your choice. The only time when the Velop will be more affordable is when you have to buy one router and you only need to increase the signal in a small area.
To give you another comparison, the Velop is also more expensive than the Google Wi-Fi counterpart which is also sold in threes. In this case, some would prefer to get the Google Wi-Fi instead of the Velop.
Since the two are the same Wi-Fi systems, they’re supposed to perform in the same way, right? Not exactly. Sure, they use the same concept of Wi-Fi connectivity, but their hardware and reliability are different.
Unfortunately, the Velop does have a few problems in this area. Even if the manufacturer claims that the signal will remain fast even if you move far from the device, this is not always consistent. There are times when the Wi-Fi becomes slower the farther you go. This can be annoying given that the reason why you bought a Wi-Fi system is to replace the Wi-Fi extenders.
For this round, the Orbi wins because the Wi-Fi signal doesn’t get compromised no matter how far you go as long as it’s within 5,000 sq ft.
While your preference for design will be subjective, it’s important to know that when it comes to efficiency and maintenance, the Orbi trumps the Velop by a few points. Why? It’s because the latter has holes on top of the device.
The holes are most likely for ventilation and for preventing the device from overheating, but the holes are placed on top which is not the best place if you want to keep it clean. It would have been better if the holes were on the sides so that there won’t be any dust going directly into the Velop. On the other hand, the Orbi doesn’t have those problems because the whole device is closed and sealed. It also has more noticeable indicator lights which is a good user-friendly design aspect.
When deciding which has the best design, you have to think about where you plan to put it because if you will place it on a shelf where people would always place and take things from, then the Orbi would be a more stable choice. It’s a lot heavier making it less likely to fall over if you accidentally bump into it.
- Home Size
If you’re planning to buy a Wi-Fi system that can cover your whole house, then you have to know how big the area that you want to cover is. When it comes to covering a large area with just one device, the Orbi is no doubt the winner here, but what about if you don’t have a 5,000 sq ft place?
This is where you just need a Velop. A Velop can cover 2,000 sq ft and if you just want to cover a small area of your home, then this is the better option for you. Obviously, if you want to cover your whole house including the yard and the basement, you would have to increase the number of Velop routers. If that is too costly for you, you can opt to buy two Orbis.
To summarize, these two Wi-Fi systems have their own pros and cons. For most of the comparison, the Orbi seems like the obvious winner given that it’s a lot more affordable, with better performance, and a larger covered area. However, just like any other Wi-Fi device, it’s not always the best choice. It all depends on how the Orbi or the Velop fits your needs or preferences. The Velop also has redeeming qualities that you might find better than its competitor.