Page 3 - Configuration and User Interface
The real novelty of owning a Linksys Velop is not its advanced firmware and features, but rather its ease of use for the general consumer. In fact, the Velop has no advanced configuration features. To start off, connect your Velop to the internet. Next, download the Linksys app from Apple App Store or Google Play. Your phone will communicate with the nodes via Bluetooth. Follow the instructions on the screen to initialize your system. It is a straightforward process, albeit slow. Besides setup, the Linksys app can control things like guest access, parental controls, and device prioritization; you simply cannot do much without using the app on your phone. You will need to have a Linksys account to use the app as well. I found it annoying that it is very challenging to do anything without a working internet connection and is impossible to do anything without your phone, even though most people should have both in 2017.
The above screenshot shows the main page of Linksys' Velop after logging in on your phone. I used the iPhone version of the app. The predominantly blue interface is well organized. At the top, you will find a header bar with the name of the current screen and a menu button on the left. Dashboard gives you quick access to frequently accessed features, internet status, and number of connected devices as shown in our screenshot above. All the main functions are located on the left navigation menu, which includes Dashboard, Devices, Wi-Fi Settings, Guest Access, Speed Test, Parental Controls, Device Prioritization, Notifications, Velop Administration, Advanced Settings, Feedback, Help, Logout, and Set Up a New Product. Under Advanced Settings are Internet Settings, Port Settings, Wi-Fi MAC Filters, and Local Network Setting. I will go over most of these individually in just a moment.
The first screen I want to demonstrate is Devices. As its name suggests, it shows all the connected devices on the wireless network. Hitting the device will show the node it is connected to, the frequency band it is operating in, device prioritization settings, parental control settings, local IP address, and MAC address. On the right is Wi-Fi settings, which allows you to configure the SSID and encryption key. There is no separate 2.4GHz and 5GHz settings, as choosing between the two is automatic. Advanced Wi-Fi Settings is the place where you can play with the encryption level (WPA2 Personal is default), Wi-Fi mode (Mixed is default), and get the Velop system to find the most appropriate channel.
Guest Access provides a second virtual wireless LAN that runs in access point isolation mode to limit user access to your network. In this screen, you can set up a separate SSID and password. It is not enabled by default. Meanwhile, Clicking on Speed Test lets you run a speed test of your internet connection. It is exactly what its name suggests.
If you want to create an internet schedule or block specific websites for each device, Parental Controls is where you can get the job done. Internet schedule allows you to set the days and hours a device is allowed to access the internet. Meanwhile, Device Prioritization gives specific devices traffic priority over others; there are no specific application controls -- it is a very primitive but easy to use system.
When any of your nodes become offline for some reason, you can enable notifications to inform you of trouble. The Velop Administration screen shows connected nodes, router password, firmware update options, and current time zone. Not shown are the tabs under Advanced Settings. This includes Internet Settings, Port Settings, Wi-Fi MAC filters, and Local Network Settings. Most should be self-explanatory; in case they are not, Port Settings is where you can configure stuff like port forwarding, while Local Network Settings is where you can play with the local router IP and maximum number of users.
All in all, I found Linksys' application configuration interface to be easy and intuitive to use on my iPhone. The layout and graphics are visually appealing. All options are organized logically, and I never had an issue finding a certain setting that I want. Most of these features, other than initializing your system, is available on the web interface as well, which is very similar to the WRT3200ACM. The main difference is all the advanced features on the WRT3200ACM are not available on the Velop, which makes sense, considering the Velop system is intended for consumers looking for something easy to set up and use. My only complaint is the setup process is slow, but once you get everything fired up, it will work as it should.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Configuration and User Interface
4. Performance Tests