Moving into 2020, I was expecting more vendors to really be pushing their Wi-Fi 6 solutions, but with the current world market, perhaps a few are holding back. Linksys is not, launching its Velop MX5 and MX10 solutions into the market late last year and with more to come in the near future.
The MX5, in house, is the single node platform to the MX10, which is equipped with dual nodes. They are one in the same, both mesh systems with the MX5 targeting consumers that have smaller homes with the ability to expand always available.
Velop MX5 is a Qualcomm platform comprised of the IPQ8074 at its core operating four cores at 2.2GHz. This is paired up with 512MB of flash for OS duties and 1GB of DRAM. Expansion includes USB 3.0, Type-A located on the rear of the unit.
WLAN capabilities are handled by a pair of Qualcomm solutions, the QCN5024 for the 2.4GHz band up to 1148 Mbps, and the QCN5054 for 5GHz up to 2400 Mbps. LAN is handled by the IPQ8074. Additional features include Bluetooth support for setup and WPA3 security.
The MSRP of the Linksys Velop MX5 comes in at $399.99. You can pick up the dual node MX10 for $599.99. Both solutions have a three-year warranty.
The Velop MX5
Packaging and a Closer Look
Our sample was delivered in a blue box branded with the Linksys logo.
Inside, a single node similar in appearance to last-gen Wi-Fi 5 solutions. White tower, Linksys branding along the bottom.
On the back, we have a full complement of ports starting with USB 3.0 at the top. We then have four gigabit LAN and one WAN at the very bottom next to the power input.
The scope of delivery includes LAN cables and power brick.
Test Setup and System
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula X570 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H60 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Carbide 275R (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Corsair MP600 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
Setup is done within the Linksys app, available on iOS and Android. I do believe there is a web-based setup solution as well.
Mentioned previously, the Velop uses BT technology to assist with setup and only takes a few seconds to search and connect to the node.
We then have the option to set the SSID and password.
Landing in the app we have, the last five connections along the bottom, current internet speed above, and total devices and nodes at the top.
Options for managing the Velop in the app include parental controls, Wi-Fi settings, and storage, to name a few. They have also included prioritization for those wanting to setup device order and advanced settings for those wanting to tweak a little more.
Parental controls include the ability to schedule a pause in connectivity and block specific websites.
Admin options include password settings along with firmware updates. There is also an in app report function if you find an issue.
Benchmarks - Storage and Router Throughput
Starting off testing, we hit the MX5 with CDM, portable SSD attached to the USB 3.0 port. This gave us an impressive 118 MB/s read and write.
Next, we hit 5GHz Wi-Fi with a quick storage test using a portable SSD attached to the USB 3.0 port. Sequentials came in at 76 MB/s read and 99 MB/s write.
LAN throughput had no issues at 951 Mbps wired. Wireless to Wireless, both AX devices gave up to 275 Mbps.
2.4GHz throughput was tricky to test as the MX5 doesn't have the option to separate bands and instead uses a "smart connect" feature. That said, we were able to get 389 Mbps out of it in our testing.
5GHz proved pretty good, limited by the Gigabit LAN, of course, but we did reach 848 Mbps.
Here we switch to our iPhone 11 Pro and move into mobile throughput. In 2.4GHz, the MX5 carries a pretty decent 155-160 Mbps through each distance tested.
Mobile throughput with 5GHz offered increased performance, starting at 870 Mbps at 10ft and moving to 625 Mbps at 20ft and last 566 Mbps at 30ft.
For anyone that has used Velop in the past with Wi-Fi 5 solutions, the build quality, fit and finish with the MX5 is exactly the same. High quality plastics that feel good in the hand, ample LEDs for aesthetics and notification, and a very simple user interface all make Velop one of the best mesh platforms on the market.
Performance was on par with many Wi-Fi 6 platforms tested, reaching near 900 Mbps on 5GHz, specifically 849 Mbps. 2.4GHz performance was rather solid as well, with 160 Mbps reached near and far. Storage performance caught me off guard with fantastic numbers, both wired and wireless. Wired testing reaching the limits of the gigabit interface, 118 MB/s read and write and 5GHz Wi-Fi bringing 76 MB/s read and 99 MB/s write.
Currently, the market isn't too full of Wi-Fi 6 solutions, so the MX5 is nearly alone in the mesh Wi-Fi 6 market. The ZenWiFi AX being the only real comparable solution I could find, prices are very similar to the MX5 at $399.99 and the ASUS solution at $299.99.
The Bottom Line
The MX5 from Linksys is a solid entry into the mesh market, able to grow as your needs do.