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Linksys Velop MX4200 Review: A Well-Priced Velop for a Large Home

Thinking the recently-announced Linksys Velop MX4200 Tri-Band AX4200 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (model MX12600) is an upgrade, or a downgrade, to the Velop Linksys MX5300 (MX10600) that came out at the beginning of 2020? You’re mistaken. It’s neither.

Looking past the lengthy, innately confusing name and the familiar design, this Velop is somewhat new hardware. It’s is both superior and inferior to the older cousin, depending on how you look at it.

One thing is for sure: If you live in a large home of somewhere between 4000 ft2 (372 m2) to 6000 ft2 (560 m2) and need a fully wireless system, at the suggested retail price of some $500, this 3-pack Velop MX12600 is a much better buy than the 2-Pack Velop MX10600. And as long as you’re happy with sub-Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds, you’ll love its reliable performance.

(You can also get the Velop MX4200 as a single unit for around $250 for those living in a smaller home. But in that case, you should opt for one of these standalone routers instead.)

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 17
The Linksys MX12600 is a 3-pack mesh that includes three identical Velop AX4200 tri-band Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Linksys Velop MX4200's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 11
Performance
8/10
Features
8/10
Ease of Use
8.5/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Helpful mobile app, full web interface

Fast NAS speeds when hosting external drives

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No support for 160MHz channel bandwidth

Mobile app (and login account) required for initial mesh setup

Spartan Wi-Fi settings, modest feature set

No multi-gig network ports, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation

No setting backup/restore

Linksys Velop MX4200 / AX4200: The first full Wi-Fi 6 Velop

The MX4200 is the second Wi-Fi 6 Velop. Still, it seems Belkin couldn’t make up its mind on the naming.

A confusing naming convention

I had a hard time trying to figure out what to call these things. The new Velop is available as a single router or a mesh set of three identical units. And Belkin calls them:

(In case you’re wondering, 12600 = 4200 x 3. The number is intended to show the system’s total bandwidth, in megabits per second, of all hardware units. Don’t count on this marketing tactic, though. The system doesn’t have that much bandwidth — check out this post on a router or mesh’s bandwidth for more.)

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 7
The Linksys Velop AX4200 Mesh router’s underside. Note its MX4200 model name.

Here’s my pet peeve: You can’t call a single hardware unit “system.” Also, why not just call it Velop MAX4200 to minimize the jargon? But at the same time, it’s Belkin’s prerogative to call anything whatever it’d like. It’s a free country.

The point is, I feel the networking vendor ran out of creativity on this one. But in this review, I’ll use Velop MX4200 to mention the single router or Velop MX12600 to refer to the 3-pack.

A first full Wi-Fi 6 Velop router, still no 160MHz channel width support

Despite the lower number, the MX4200 is actually a somewhat more “advanced” tri-band router than the previous MX5300.

That’s because it’s the first Velop router that features Wi-Fi 6 in all of its bands. (One of the MX5300’s 5GHz bands uses Wi-Fi 5). Still, it’s odd, having two 5GHz bands of two different tiers, as you can see in the hardware specifications below.

What’s notable is the fact the MX4200 also doesn’t support the 160MHz channel width. As a result, chances are you won’t be able to get faster than 1200Mps of negotiated speed out of it — nor did I in my testing. The real-world speeds will be significantly slower.

Linksys Velop AX4200: Hardware specifications

Like all mesh systems, you can use multiple hardware units of the MX4200 to form a mesh system. In this case, one of them is the router that connects to an Internet source, and the rest will work as satellites that extend the router’s Wi-Fi network.

See also  Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400 Review (vs RT-AX82U): An Excellent Alternative
Full NameLinksys Tri-Band AX4200 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
ModelMX4200
Wi-Fi DesignationAX4200
Mesh AvailabilityLinksys Velop AX4200 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System
(3-pack)
Dimensions4.5 x 4.5 x 9.6 inches
 (11.43 x 11.43 x 24.38 cm)
Weight2.5 lbs. (1.33 kg)
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs4×4 Wi-Fi 6: up to 2404 Mbps 
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs2×2 Wi-Fi 6: 1201 Mbps
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2×2 Wi-Fi 6: 574 Mbs
Mesh Backhaul BandDynamic
Wired Backhaul SupportYes
Channel Width Supported20Mhz, 40MHz, 80MHz
Backward Compatibility 802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Wi-Fi SecurityWPA2, WPA2/WPA3 Mixed Mode
Mobile AppLinksys
Web User InterfaceYes
AP (Bridge) ModeYes 
USB Port1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
Network Ports3 x Gigabit LAN ports, 
1 x Gigabit WAN port
Link AggregationNo
Multi-Gig PortNone
Dual-WANNo
Processing power1.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor, 
512MB of Flash, 512MB of RAM
Suggest Retail Price$250 (1-pack), $499.99 (3-pack)
Linksys Velop AX4200’s hardware specifications.

Tri-band with dynamic backhaul, no multi-gig port

Like the case of the Velop MX5300, the Velop 4200 is a tri-band router that has two different 5GHz bands. One is a dual-stream (2×2), and the other is a quad-stream (4×4).

According to the Linksys Intelligent Mesh, Velop Wi-Fi routers use dynamic backhaul in a mesh setup, meaning they’ll use any of their three bands to work as the link between the broadcasters dynamically. There are upsides and downsides to this.

The upside is the fact all three bands are always available to clients. Also, when you use wired backhaul, you won’t need to worry about still losing a band for the wireless backhaul, like the case of the Netgear Orbi. In fact, this Velop is great for a larger home that’s already wired with network cables.

The downside is the performance. Technically, there’s no band dedicated to the job of linking broadcasters, so, in certain situations, you’d still have to deal with signal loss.

What’s more, if you place the hardware far enough apart, the system might use the 2.4GHz band as the backhaul, which is very slow. And there’s no way to dictate which band to work as the backhaul.

It’s important to note that the Velop MX4200 doesn’t have a multi-gig port. That plus the mix-bag of wireless bands means you shouldn’t expect Gigabit-class performance out of it, especially in a wireless mesh setup.

Similar hardware design

Out of the box, the Velop MX4200 looks identical to Velop MX5300 from most angles. The two share the same dimensions, taking the cylindrical shape with their ports stacked vertically on the back.

The MX4200 has one LAN port fewer than the MX5300 — just three — plus a WAN port. All of them are Gigabit. It also has a USB 3.0 port awkwardly placed on top of the network ports. This port is to host an external storage device for the router’s NAS function.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 5
But the Velop MX4200 does retain the USB 3.0 port awkwardly placed on top of the network ports.

(In case you’re wondering, yes, you can use the USB port on a satellite. So in a 3-pack setup, you can connect up to three external storage drives to the network for your mini NAS server. Note, though, unless you have wired backhauls, only the one connected to the router unit would deliver the best performance. More below.)

And the number of ports and hardware specs are about the only things that set the MX4200 and MX5300 apart. On the inside, the two feature the same set of features and settings. They also share the same setup process and the Linksys mobile app.

The same (mediocre) mobile app and setup process

For a long time now, Belkin has been forcing users to use its mobile app to set up and manage its Linksys router. That’s the case for all Wi-Fi 6 routers I’ve reviewed, including the MX5300, MR7350, MR9600, and now this MX4200.

(The mobile app requires a Linksys login account, and your system will then connect to Linksys at all times, which can be a privacy issue.)

You can forgo this mobile app (and the login account) by following the trick I detailed in this post about mobile app vs. web interface. The setup process of the MX4200 was straightforward in my testing, with a couple of things to note:

  • You need to set up one unit at a time. If you plug all three into the power and place them near each other for the setup process, you might run into all kinds of issues.
  • The process can be more time-consuming than you’d expect. That’s partly because the MX4200 takes a long time — a couple of minutes — to be ready. After that, it can take up to 6 minutes to add a unit to the mesh.
  • In my experience with all Linksys Wi-Fi 6 solutions, the mobile app (if you choose to use it) is laggy and not well-optimized for Android. So make sure you’re patient.

After the setup process, you can forget about the app completely and use the web interface, which you can reach by pointing a browser to 192.168.1.1. Now, you can manage your network the way you do a standard router for the most part.

1
Like other Velop routers, the MX4200 doesn’t allow for customizing the Wi-Fi settings for best performance, but just compatibility.

Familiar networking settings and features

The MX4200 shares the same settings and features as those of the MX5300. To avoid repeating myself. I’d put here a few bullet points.

  • Device Prioritization: A relatively simple QoS feature that allows you to drag and drop up to three connected devices on to the Internet prioritized list. There’s no application-based prioritization.
  • Parental Control: Also quite simple. You can block internet access or filter specific websites from certain clients at all times or based on a schedule.
  • Essential network settings: Like most routers, the MX4200 has Dynamic DNS, port forwarding, IP reservation, and other common network settings.
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After that’s, there’s no extra. The MX4200 can’t work as a VPN server, nor does it provide built-in online protection or specific game-related features.

Important note: Like previous Velop-base Wi-Fi 6 solutions, the MX4200 doesn’t allow for backing up its settings to a file to restore at a later time. In other words, if you want to get a replacement or mess up the configuration somehow, you’ll have to start from scratch.

Limited Wi-Fi settings

By default, you cannot customize the MX4200’s Wi-Fi further than separating its 2.4GHz and 5GHz into two networks (SSIDs). Even when I used the hidden CA mode, there wasn’t much more to do.

Specifically, now, you can change each band’s channels and bandwidth. Ironically, you can only make them work exclusively in a narrow (slow) channel and not in a wider (faster) one. There’s no option to make them work in the 80MHz or 160MHz, either.

So compared with all Wi-Fi 6 solutions I’ve tested, the MX4200 and those from Linksys are among the most limited in terms of Wi-Fi settings. They are made to be more compatible than to be fast.

Linksys Velop MX4200 router and Velop MX12600 mesh system: Detail photos

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 18
The Linksys AX4200 MX12600 3-pack mesh’s retail box.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 1
Out of the box, the MX12600 includes three identical Velop MX4200 routers.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 2
These Velop MX4200 AX4200 routers look the same as the previous Velop MX5300 ones from almost any angle. Here’s the front.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 12
And here’s from the top. Note the little color-changing status light.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 11
And here’s from the underside. You’ll find the usual on/off, reset, and WPS buttons.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 8
Looking closer, though, you’ll see the Velop AX4200’s model number, which is AX4200.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 4
And from the back, you’ll note that the Velop AX4200 has just four network ports instead of five.

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 14
Each Velop MX4200 router is quite large, though not exactly huge.

Linksys Velop MX4200 / MX12600: Reliable Wi-Fi for a large home

I tested the Velop MX4200 both as a 3-pack mesh system and a single router, and it performed as expected. That’s, of course, with its modest hardware specs and the lack of a multi-gig port in mind.

I used a few 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 and 4×4 / 3×3 Wi-Fi 5 clients for the testing. More on that in this post on how to test Wi-Fi.

Fast performance as a single router

As a router, the MX4200 did quite well. My 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client connected at 1.2Gbps of negotiated speed and managed to average some 860Mbps at a close range and more than 800Mbps at 40 feet (12m) away. That was the case when I used either of the router’s two 5GHz bands.

Linksys MX4200 Mesh Router Performance
* Note: For Wi-Fi 5 tests, a 4×4 client is used for the close range and a 3×3 for the long range.

Just for kicks, I used a second Wi-Fi 6 client for a wireless-to-wireless test. Now each of the two 5GHz bands hosted just one client. In this case, the sustained throughput was around 700Mbps with a distance up to 40 feet away. Note: one of the clients remained close to the router (less than 10 feet) at all times.

On the Wi-Fi 5 front, my 4×4 clients managed to connect at 1.7Gbps and had a sustained speed of almost 830Mbps at a close range. At 40 feet away, my 3×3 clients had sustained speeds of some 570Mbps, via the negotiated connection that fluctuated between 887Mbps and 1.3Gbps.

Linksys MX4200 2 4GHz Performance

On the 2.4GHz band, the MX4200 also did very well. In fact, it was faster than the MX5300 despite having lower specs.

Note that since many Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems don’t allow for separating the Wi-Fi bands (as two different networks), I compared the MX4200’s performance on the 2.4GHz band with other standalone routers.

A single MX4200 unit has about the same range as the MX5300, so if you live in a home of some 1800 ft2 (167 m2) or so, a 1-pack can handle that. However, in this case, you probably are better off picking one of these standard alone routers, considering the cost.

Reliable but average Mesh speeds

Having “dynamic backhaul,” the MX12600 effectively has no dedicated backhaul band. And it seemed in my testing that the system did suffer a bit from signal loss. It was generally slower than other systems with a dedicated backhaul band.

(Note: Depending on your situation, the mesh might work as one with a dedicated backhaul. The way it’s designed, though, it’s impossible to make sure of that. The numbers on the charts below were those I got from over a week of real-world experience. )

Linksys MX4200 Mesh Satellite Performance
* Note: For the Wi-Fi 5 tests, a 3×3 client is used for both ranges.

Still, it did well with the sustained Wi-Fi 6 speeds averaging between 290Mbs and 450Mbps. Interestingly, Wi-Fi 5 clients had a better deal with connecting to the MX4200 working as a satellite. My 3×3 test device registered 534Mbps and 320Mbps at the close and long ranges, respectively.

Linksys MX4200 Node Stearing
In a Velop mesh, you can tune how your mesh works by using Node Steering and Client Steering settings.

The MX4200 passed my 5-day stress tests with no issues. I also noted that clients could move between hardware units (router and satellites) seamlessly, which has always been a strong point of Linksys Velop.

Fast NAS speeds

Similar to the MX5300, the MX4200 did well in my NAS tests. I tested it using a few portable drives and, via a Gigabit connection, it averaged some 110MB/s for both read and write tests.

Linksys MX4200 NAS Performance

As mentioned above, when working as a mesh system, the MX12600 can host multiple portable drives — one at each hardware unit.

I connected a second portable drive on a wireless node (40 feet away) and did a test via a Gigabit connection to the router. The performance now averaged some 100MB/s for writing but just about 62MB/s for reading.

Linksys MX4200 NAS Storage
Each hardware unit of the Linksys Velop MX12600 can handle an external storage device.

So if you want to host multiple drives, the Velop MX12600 will get the job done. But if you want the best performance, it’s best to use the router unit as the storage host.

Conclusion

The Linksys Velop MX4200 Tri-Band AX4200 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System is in no way the fastest Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, nor is it one with the most features. But it sure delivers in terms of Wi-Fi coverage and reliability.

On top of that, the fact it costs just around $500 for a pack of three hardware units means it’s a much better deal than the previous Linksys MX10 Velop AX. So if you’re a fan of Linksys Velop and living in a large home that’s not wired with network cables, this system is an excellent buy.

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148 thoughts on “Linksys Velop MX4200 Review: A Well-Priced Velop for a Large Home”

  1. Dear Dong,
    Looking to upgrade my first gen Mesh as there is a huge concrete wall split in my Tiny apartment.
    Wi-Fi signal slip through the door from time to time, so AP is not good with me.
    Been using Mesh without problem.
    Now, on my satellite side, due to more WFH ,I need a stronger connection.
    Bless you for your suggestion:
    on the Satellite side of the apartment, would Wired to the satellite better or Wi-Fi to the Satellite better?
    I assume if WiFi is better, hence Orbi would be better pick in your opinion.
    using Wi-Fi 5 AC notebook.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for all the super helpful info on your site–I just installed via wired backhaul the 2-pack Linksys Velop AX-4200. Perhaps you can help figure out what’s wrong?

    I am at the point where I’ve boxed-up my old dual-band standalone ASUS router because I successfully replicated the old setup using separate 2.4/5 GHz SSIDs. All good….so far…

    I hit a roadblock where simultaneously switching to a single SSID and applying the Apple HomeKit Integration. Functionality ground to a halt, even for loading basic websites on my iPhone (way beyond what I suspected for smart home device issues).

    Over WiFi and on wired PC connection, there was extreme lag for website loading (perhaps some DNS problem) and eventually all the devices told me there was “no internet access” as the ISP modem reported the connection up and DHCP assigned to the Velop system. Finally, the LED on the Linksys router went Red–and I power-cycled it. Couldn’t use the app get into the web interface, and even pinging via wired wouldn’t work.

    Could this issue be related to mesh settings (e.g., disable node or client steering)?

    If the Velop firmware can’t deliver on its Apple HomeKit integration promise in the next month, I would return it and get a pair of ASUS RT-AX92U.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I don’t use Apple HomeKit (and for good reasons), Stephen, so I don’t have any specific suggestions. But you can try separating the 2.4GHz band and use that for the HomeKit. Also, make sure the node is behind the router unit.

      Reply
    • Hi Dong! I got a specific question hoping you could help:

      I’m using Bridge Mode. My parent and all child nodes are wired to ISP Modem’s LAN ports. I see parent node is indeed in Bridge Mode. However, I noticed both child nodes’ Connection Type are set to “Wireless Repeater”. Should they be changed to Bridge Mode instead? I want to make sure all three bands are used for clients not for backhaul.

      Thanks!

      Reply
      • You can’t set them up like that and expect them to work normally. The satellite node needs to be behind the primary router unit — more about mesh hardware placement in this post. Also, what you have there is not a modem, but a gateway — more on this in this post. For your case, consider this:

        1. Use each Velop unit as a separate unit in bridge mode (which is actually the access point mode). You won’t have a mesh in this case, but they will work. More on modes of a router in this post.
        2. Use them normally in standard mode and turn your gateway into the bridge mode (this is a real bridge mode). Or you can use them in a double-NAT setup. More on that in this post.

        Read the linked posts, and you’ll be able to figure out what you should do. Make sure you read those thoroughly before asking any further questions (if any.)

        Reply
  3. I have had the MX12600 for over one month and have had some kind of problem since day one, so I am considering returning it. Issues have been needing to restart nodes to fix issues, losing Wi-Fi connections, nodes disconnecting temporarily (even one that’s wired to the primary node), the Linksys app not being able to connect to my account just to view the status of the system from my phone, router ethernet connections not working unless the router has a blue light (i.e. not like a switch), etc. I have had multiple calls with Linksys tech support about these and more issues.

    I have the 2nd node wired and the 3rd node non-wired. I could wire the 3rd node. Our house is 4,000 sq ft with 2 stories. We don’t really need 3 transmitters, but it doesn’t hurt. We have AT&T and the gateway’s Wi-Fi is turned off and set to IP Passthrough so the primary node is handling everything. We only have 100Mbps which is the fastest AT&T can supply here currently, but am planning to go higher when available. The Wi-Fi signal of the Linksys seems to be a lot shorter distance than what the AT&T Gateway gave. With a Wi-Fi 6 network card, the speed is higher than the Gateway though which is good.

    Internet and network capability is vital due to working from home. I don’t need the NAS feature because I have a real NAS. I want a Wi-fi 6 Mesh system and need to support 30+ devices on the network. I don’t need the ability to fine-tune all the possible features of a router, so something that works and is reliable is what matters the most. Reading through your many wonderful pages of the site, it seems as long as I have wired nodes that I can get by with a dual-band. Cost is not that important because again, I need something reliable and am willing to pay for it. What Wi-Fi 6 mesh system do you recommend for me instead of the Linksys?

    Reply
      • Thanks for the reply. Sorry about the lengthy comment. I thought giving enough information instead of having to keep giving more would be better, but I see it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure everything is set up correctly. It can work fine for a day or two, but then something will start having a problem. I re-read that post again (probably the 3rd time). The 3rd node is in an upstairs bedroom that we rarely go in, but the Wi-Fi signal there before Linksys was weak, so having a node there is beneficial, but not necessary. I just want a simple, reliable, Wi-Fi 6 Mesh, dual or tri-band, with wired nodes. Knowing my situation, what do you recommend?

        Reply
        • If you have wired your home, definitely go with dual-band, Jeff. I’d recommend a couple of Asus RT-AX86U, RT-AX68U, RT-AX82U, or a mix of those in an AiMesh setup. Keep in mind that you can’t expect Wi-Fi to work like wiring. It fluctuates depending on your home’s layout. By the way, putting a node where the signal is weak is NOT the correct setup. You need to put the wireless node where the signal of another node or router is still strong. Again, make sure you get things set up correctly. “Pretty sure” doesn’t cut it for me. Sometimes a little thing makes the biggest difference. Good luck! 🙂

          Reply
  4. Hi Dong,

    I got the new vlop ax 4200 2 packs from costco. The speed does not seem to be consistent. I am wondering if the orbi AX4200 will be better choice

    Reply
    • Wi-Fi speeds are never consistent, Minh, especially when you use a wireless mesh system. That’s just how it is. I’d say the Orbi will be similar.

      Reply
  5. Hi Dong, currently I am using Linksys EA9500 with no issue, I have fast internet fiber (500 mbps downloads/upload) and Linksys provide me the full speed over wifi in my house 200m2, I am planning to transfer to a new house with 260m2 inside and 250m2 outside (garden) and I am looking to try mesh (velop system as I am Linksys fans), now my question that I am confused between Velop AX4200 3 nodes or AX5300 2 nodes which one you recommend to continue getting the same wifi speed as I have now with EA9500 with a full area coverage, because theoretically AX5300 is mush faster than AX4200 but the last one is the newer with full wifi 6 for the all bands.
    The second question if I set EA9500 as bridge by backhaul Ethernet cable with velop with same wifi name shall I get one network during transfer from one area to another (seamless roaming)?
    Last question the coverage of new wifi 6 is the same as wifi 5, I am asking this cause if it is less may be I will thinking with AX5300 cause it use wifi 5 in one of 5ghz and wifi 6 in other .

    Reply
      • Thank you Dong, I got AX 4200 and it’s performing very good, all in all it’s performing like Linksys EA9500 or little bit better, just I noticed that I had an option in advance wifi setting (airtime fairness) but suddenly or I think after upgrading firmware to the latest one this option disappeared from the dashboard, is this big deal, I tried searching for such issue with Linksys update in net with no success.

        Reply
  6. Curious is there any way to adjust the node handover settings? Seem to remember that you can do this on an Orbi for example. My house is not huge but as it is over 3 stories it will benefit from mesh, I have the 2 pack and the 2nd node is hardwired.

    So far though I cannot get the handover working, my devices just cling onto the main unit. Wifi bars drop to just 1 or 2 and wifi sweetspot app sees the speed drop from around 600-700 downstairs to <100 but it seems it is still deemed a strong enough connection to not switch.

    Right now I am just using a single unit on the first floor which works ok but I did not buy the velop to use a single node. I have a netgear AX12 but cannot stop my cat sitting on the thing so want an upright unit. Contemplating returning it and trying the Orbi 752 or maybe just getting an upright router like the Asus AX86U. I could of course just sell on the 2nd Velop and just use the one unit or get rid of the cat!

    Reply
    • Hand-off is a tricky matter, Neil. It takes both ends of a connection to work and there’s no way to make sure it works the way you’d imagine. More in this post. I’d recommend not to get too hung up on it.

      Reply
      • I think I have decided that mesh is not for me, the issue is if it does handover upstairs then I end up with a really slow connection as it climngs onto the main unit.

        I think being lucky enough to have hard wired cat 5e on the ground and first floor that putting a decent vertical cat proof router on the 1st floor is likeky my best bet. I am going to return the velop and pick up the Asus AX-86U I think.

        Reply
  7. Thank you for the very thoughtful review and the comparisons, Dong.
    I initially purchased the Asus XT8 and have been having a world of problems. Constant disconnections and “weak” signal between the nodes after about 24 hours. Asus support has been fair, but not great.

    I like the Linksys for my home and I am wondering, is the lack of security features on the Linksys a big deal? The Asus and others offer levels of protection but the Linksys does not. Is that really a deal breaker? Or, do general security measures (strong password, WPS off, etc.) mitigate?

    thanks!

    Reply
    • Not really a deal-breaker, Mike, since you can get an add-on unit, like the Firewalla. By the way, the “security measures” you mentioned are not what the protection feature is about.

      Reply
  8. Hey Dong. I love your site, it helped me make my decision when buying a mesh system. I have the Velop MX8400 setup, 2 x AX4200 nodes. It works well. I do however need a little more coverage in the garden. Would a linksys extender do the job (it would be right by a window with the garden outside). My concern is that because my system is wifi 6 and tri-band, an extender (or lesser velop node) might not fit well if it doesn’t support wifi 6 and tri-band. I’d like to keep the one SSID and make it bigger. Getting another AX4200 would be expensive, so if I can do it with an extender/node from a cheaper velop model, that would be perfect. Again, your site is great.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,
        I use the Linksys MR9600 as a main router dialing PPPOE.And I expand the wifi range from the Linksys app of the MR9600 by adding 2 child nodes MX4200.After adding 2 nodes wirelessly as the Linksys instruction and I can see the 2 velop nodes on the dash board of the app. Then I connected the ethernet cable to one of the 2 velop nodes (to the yellow jack above the DC supplier).Since there is a ready ethernet cable there and I wanna to increase the stability of the signal.
        Everything seems great.Then I found that the velop which connected by ethernet cable is always offline about every 3-4 days.I have to unplug that velop and then it will connected automatically.But if I solve this problem by rebooting the router on Linksys app.The offline velop also can be reconnected after the rebooting.But this will cause the main router MR9600 drop.Red light blinking on the MR9600.
        The other velop that messed by wireless works perfectly without dropping.This is why I wonder,
        I post this to ask if you or anyone who are using MR9600 or velop MX4200 got the same issue as me.
        Thanks for reading.

        Reply
        • You shouldn’t use the MR9600 as the main route for a canned Velop set, Duc. Instead, use it as a satellite. But in all, Linksys’s mesh approach has a lot of room for improvement. It’s best that you use the MR9600 in the AP mode as a satellite of the MX4200 set.

          Reply
          • Thanks for your reply Dong,it means that I should use a separate modemn for PPPOE then conncect from LAN port of this modemn to the MR9600 (AP) then from MR9600 we’ll expand wifi by adding 2 child nodes velops? This way is more stablle than using MR9600 as an main router?
            Thanks

          • Thank you very much Dong,I set my MR9600 as an AP of the MX4200 set.It worked smoothly.It is true that we can not use the MR9600 as the main router (pppoe) to manage the velops as AP as Linksys advertised.At least until now with the current firmware of the MR9600.

          • That’s correct, Duc. APs will generally work, no matter the hardware, including those of different vendors.

        • I have a similar issue to yours. I only have velops mx4000 series. One of them is connected using via wired back haul. This one randomly disconnects. To solve it I have to reboot the satélite and unplug the wired back haul. Once the satélite connects back wirelessly, I plug back the wired backhaul and all goes back to normal.

          As you can imagine this is a big hassle. I hope this can get fixed in a firmware update.

          Reply
  9. I picked up the twin pack for my new houseand have been surprised as to how well these compare as standalone units to my Nighthawk RAX120.

    I got mesh as my new house has 3 stories but I subsequiently discovered that it had an old but still functional cat5e wiring so with a router in the middle of the 1st floor mesh is not really necessary.

    Testing the RAX120 vs. a single Velop they are basically the same, only using wifi sweetspots app so nothing massively scientific but really the only thing I noticed was when moving rooms the velop did drop briefly before going up whereas the Nighthawk held strong.

    I still think the Nighthawk is better but it is a beast so think I am hapy with the Velop.

    Reply
  10. Hi,

    Terrific review as always. What are your thoughts (in a wired backhaul setup) of sticking with the combined SSID for 2.4/5ghz vs. separating them?

    Thanks again

    Reply
      • Wondering if anybody has tried splitting 2Ghz and 5Ghz but combining the 2 5Ghz bands? I.e. leaving the 2 5Ghz bands with the same SSID

        Reply
        • You can do that, Neil. It’ll make no difference other than you can pick the band to use manually. I tried that specifically with the AXE8400 as you can see in the review‘s screenshots.

          Reply
    • We recently bought a new washer and dryer, that are “smart”. In order to get them connected I had to split the 2.4 and 5 into separate SSID. Once I did that and forced my phone to connect to 2.4, everything worked flawlessly. I then went back in and combined the 2.4 and 5 bands. So just something to keep in mind.

      Reply
  11. Hi Dong, I’ve spent a few hours reading your reviews and recommendations… great stuff! I’m in a pickle trying to decide on a mesh system with these criteria:
    Gigabit ISP service
    4500sf 2-story home
    1500sf deck + attached garage
    Likely wireless backhaul
    We have 2 professionals working from home, streaming, 32TB NAS for file-sharing, and an assortment of smart home devices.
    Prefer to buy at Costco for peace of mind if I don’t like how the mesh performs.

    I have been looking at the 2 unit ax4200 set and maybe buying 2 sets of 2ea (4 nodes). Or the 3 deco m9 set and buying 2 (6 nodes) or the rbk843S (though not a fan of the price). I have scoured your best mesh and wifi 6 devices, and thought I’d ask directly for your thoughts given the criteria above. Thank you for all the helpful content you’ve created!

    Reply
    • More nodes don’t equal better performance, John, only better overage. For your house, chances are you only need 3 (or four at most). If you go with wireless, 3 is the ideal number, using start topology. (More here). That said, I’d recommend going with 3-pack Velop MX4200 — assuming that’s the one you mentioned here — you can get a 2-pack and a single unit. In any case, expect around 500Mbps at the client end at best. If you want more getting your home wired is the only way.

      Reply
  12. First, thanks for your reviews and incredible expertise! Leaning heavily on what I think I took away from your write up and Q&A.

    Just bought two Costco 2-pack velop MX4200. One unit will be the router with two other units wired for backhaul. The fourth unit will be wireless backhaul for the most remote part of the house (no Ethernet) where there is no streaming or high transfer rate needs. In the end, one router and three satellites.

    Questions:
    1. Any concern with my planned layout?
    2. Any configuration settings I should consider during the app set up to optimize? I am not a techie by any means, so not sure what I might tweak from default settings.

    Reply
      • Dong, THANKS! I carefully followed the steps you outlined in your review and my WiFi mesh came up with no issues at all! Already noticed increased speed AND coverage across our property.

        Thanks so much for all the expertise you share!
        John

        Reply
  13. Are we able to change the default IP address of the AX4200 (192.168.1.1)? I would be coming from an Apple Airport, and many things have been set up to use the 10.0.1.xxx IP addresses. Thanks!

    Reply
  14. Thanks for the review. My biggest concern with your review is the dynamic backhaul, I have a small house 1800Sqft, plus outdoor coverage. But the house is old (130 yrs) and the walls are lath and plaster as opposed to drywall. Wifi coverage from a single router just doesn’t work. I tried one of the Orbi mesh systems and the backhaul connected to 2.4 most of the time. I am not looking for the fastest, just reliable. Should I be concerned about the dynamic backhaul defaulting to 2.4 due to a stronger signal? Any idea how linksys determines the best frequency?

    Reply
  15. Hi Dong – I ended up buying the Linksys MX12600 and I’m in the process of trying to “tweak” the settings. I’ve seen some folks comment that Airtime Fairness, Client Steering, and Node Steering should all be turned off in order to optimize performance. I was wondering if you changed these settings during your evaluation and if so, do you have a recommendation whether they should be on of off? Thanks!

    Reply
  16. Hi Dong,

    I live in a 1000 sq feet apartment but due to the layout I am not even able to receive 2.4GHz signal in the last bedroom. I have an 1 Gb fibre to home connection and currently using a standalone dual band linksys EA7500 router.
    Can a two node dual band wifi 6 mesh router like Netgear MK62 or TP-link Deco X60 or any other router be good enough to reach the last bedroom with decent speeds with wireless backhaul. My internet usage is mostly surfing the web and watching videos on youtube and rarely I download big files. I am just looking for reliable connectivity and decent internet speed.
    Thanks,
    Naz

    Reply
  17. Great review, Dong! Because of your review I purchased this unit for my house, which, as you suggested, is great for my all-ethernet connected home. Since my nodes are all connected via ethernet, I get about 940 mbps download on my wired devices which is great! Here is my question; why would other devices, such as my iPhone 12 Pro Max (which has a 2×2 MIMO WiFi 6 antenna) only be getting 400 mbps max speeds over WiFi? It is sitting one foot from the Linksys WiFi router and can’t figure out why this is my max speed? I even separated the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks to ensure I was on the faster 5 GHz network. I’ve seen iPhone 12’s hitting over 800 mbps on Speedtest.net, so I know it is possible to get faster speeds. Any thoughts? Thank you!

    Reply
  18. For those who want to use USB port for NAS, I have successfully connected WD MyBook 8TB USB drive. I have also connected older MyBook World Edition 2TB NAS drive, and they both work the same.

    Reply
  19. Is Asus ZenWifi XT8 noticeably faster wifi and faster NAS over AX4200? Also who has better tech support between them? I want a reliable future proof router for 1900 sq ft home that has brick wall around and the middle and spreads wifi to our yard.

    Reply
  20. hello Dong
    i would like to know how is the Google mesh wi-fi.i found one 3 pack was 100$cheaper than ax4200.2pack
    then i found orbi ax4200 (2 pack) was 160$ higher than linksys ax4200.(2pack).is it worth ?
    Thank you in advance

    Reply
  21. Thanks Dong! I have an MX5 currently (as a bridge) and going to remove my FiOS router in the basement and want to get another node. I was going to get the MX10 as it’s on sale, but then I see this MX4200 at costco in a 2 pack. Would you suggest I get the MX4200 2 pack at costco (and I can gift my MX5 to someone who needs) as opposed to another MX5 node for the existing one? I do want to stay with velop as I have a gigabit connection and many devices wired (and the backhaul would be wired). Thanks for any recommendations!

    Reply
  22. I want to ask if I have a previous Linksys velop AC6600 WIFI 5 can I get AX4200 WIFI 6 1-pack and merge to get AX4200 Master and adding the the node AC6600 to AX4200.

    Reply
  23. Hi Dong,

    How would you compare this Linksys AX4200 3-pack with ASUS Zen XT8 2-pack? Both are similar price range.

    Which would you pick for good coverage for inside and backyard and hook up USBs to external HDD and a printer. Would both mesh routers work well with home automation wall switches such as Hue and Wemo and NestCams? thanks and stay safe.

    Reply
  24. hi Dong,

    Im debating between an eero 6 pro vs linksys velop MX4200 – its a 4 story home with NO backhaul. I’m a pretty ‘average’ user looking for fast and consistently reliable wifi speeds – looking for wifi 6 capabilities but nothing advanced (no multi-gigabit, QOS, etc.). Which one would you recommend?

    Reply
  25. Hi Dong,

    Appreciate your review. Which one do you think is a better choice for a 5300 sq ft three-level house with thick walls, 4 units of Linksys Velop MX4200 or 6 units of TP-Link Deco X60, using wired ethernet backhaul? I picked up 2 of the 3-pack TP-Link Deco X60 bundles from Costco a few weeks ago. I started out with using 3 units only, all units were connected via wired ethernet backhau. I still noticed too many areas in the house where the connections would drop from the 5GHz down to 2.4GHz, and speed would drop from as high as 620 mbps down to less than 30 mbps on 2.4GHz channel using iPhone XS Max. I then added one more unit for a total of four units, was able to eliminate a couple poor signal areas, but not all. I ended up having to use all six units of the Deco X60 all connected via wired ethernet backhaul just to blanket the whole house . I can now get 5GHz signals throughout and at least 450mbps even at the worst signal areas on Xfinity Gigabit service. There are areas that definitely have overlapping signals, and I thought it’s rather ridiculous that I had to use 6 units of Deco X60 just to cover a 5300 sq ft house when they had advertised that 3 units would be enough to cover 7000 sq ft.

    How is the signal range on these Linksys AX4200 units? Do the signals penetrate walls well? With the current on-sale price for the Linksys at Costco, I can get two 2-unit packs for the same price I paid for two 3-unit packs of the Deco X60, but if I can get the same coverage with only 4 units of the Linksys AX4200, I would make that trade.

    I’m debating whether to just buy the Linksys AX4200 to just to try it out anyway before the sale is over, but if you can provide some insight, it would save me some hassle. I read most of the reviews. The PC magazine review seems to suggest that the Linksys AX4200 has similar issue of much weaker signal at 40 ft away as the Deco X60; however, your review seems to suggest better range with the Linksys AX4200.

    Reply
    • This entirely depends on your home, Bob. It’s IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to know for sure except for those who have been there. There’s no magic, just details when it comes to networking (or tech for that matter.) More here.

      Reply
    • @Dong Ngo, thanks for the quickly reply. Let me rephrase my questions:
      1. In your controlled environment and setup, does each individual unit of Linksys AX4200 transmit stronger and wider signal with ethernet backhaul when compared to each individual unit of the Deco X60 that would result in less bandwidth drop-off at longer distance? Your measurements above seemed to suggest that, but the PC Magazine review seemed to suggest that the drop-off in signal might be similar between the two units.
      2. If the Linksys AX4200 indeed transmits a much stronger signal than the Deco X60, again in your controlled environment and setup, do you feel that 4 units of the Linksys AX4200 can be superior and possibly provide the same coverage and maintain similar bandwidth as 6 units of Deco X60?

      Thanks again.

      Reply
  26. You mentioned that there is a privacy risk related to installing the mobile app in order to set up the satellites, but that the mobile app is no longer needed after initial setup. Are there any additional on-going privacy concerns about the devices communicating to Linksys after setup if the mobile app is deleted?

    Reply
    • Yes, because in doing so, you associate your Wi-Fi system with a Linksys account. To avoid this, you can log in to the account and close it. (You’ll lose the ability to manage your home network via the app, etc.)

      Reply
  27. Hi Dong,

    I too have a wired 2 story home but have dead zones, especially for my cameras outside. I have about 20-30 wireless only devices connected depending on how many people are in the house (3000 sq ft). I’ve wired what could be wired so I’m afraid the MX4200 is overkill. I guess I could keep one of the nodes as an extra should one fail. I have a 1gig connection; if I go with the MX4200, would I even be able to take advantage on my wifi 6 devices? Oh, second question, could I set up a guest network so I don’t give access to guests?

    Reply
        • @Dong Ngo, I ended up going with the Arris mAX Pro. I tried the Linksys but man, those speeds. Could not justify the price since it was giving me comparable speeds to my WiFi 5 solutions and at times worse. My house must be a weird layout because I had trouble getting signal throughout and I have 3000 sq ft with a wired backhaul. I tried several different things, went though Linksys support because I thought I was doing something wrong for the coverage and nothing, same results each time. The Arris covers the entire house and the speeds are much better. It was $100 more expensive (sale at BB) but well worth the price.

          Reply
  28. Hey Dong,

    Thanks for all the research and great work that you’ve done on this! Right now there is a 2-pack of these for sale that I think will fit my needs. For reference we have the following setup and are in desperate need of an upgrade.

    ~4500 sqft home, 2 floors
    ~Gigabit service
    ~Wired backhaul (Cat5e)
    ~35 devices

    Would this two pack do a solid job for covering the whole home with coverage or would you recommend picking up multiple Asus RT-AX3000 or even the RT-92U 2-Pack?

    Reply
  29. HI Dong
    I recently bough a linksys AX5300(2 pack) , and still in return period , my home size is 6000 sq ft , 30 + devices.Ignoring the price part do you still suggest to get AX4300 as i see two specs that are different
    Processing power – 2.2 Ghz vs 1,4 Ghz , 1gb vs 512 mb on RAM

    Reply
  30. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the very thorough review. Quick question. I need to pick a mesh wifi system, since I haven’t been able to cover all my house (3500 sqft) with a single router so far. My second most important priority is to have a USB port for making NAS. Is this the best mesh system (wifi coverage and speed and NAS read/write speed) with a USB port. Also, if I wire my house in the second floor, can it impact my choices?

    Thanks,
    Saeid.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        Thanks for your reply. I agree having a separate NAS is a more solid way to go.

        I bought the 2-pack linksys velop (AX4200) mesh router from Costco and the performance is great as you reviewed. Coverage and speed are as expected. The only thing which I didn’t pay attention properly was the USB network sharing features. My previous router was Netgear Nighthawk R7900P and I now see it has DLNA feature on its USB. I have an old Samsung TV which also has DLNA and that’s why I could easily see all my media on the TV. Now with linksys, I can access my media through PC/tablet and mobile phones, but TV does not see that which is due to lack of DLNA. I guess there is no work around, am I right? Do you know if Asus ZenWifi XT8 has DLNA feature on its USB?

        Thanks,
        Saeid.

        Reply
  31. What a great thorough review, I’ve been enjoying your reviews for other products too. I have been waiting for this review to come out. My 1850 Century home has Gigabit internet and is wired with Cat 5E cables in every room and has brick wall in the middle. I wanted to buy a mesh system so I can wire all nodes and get reliable and fast connection to iOS devices as well Nest cams and themostat and wemo switches. I have tested Google Wifi Nest 3-pack, and Nighthawk MK63 3-pack. Would you think this Lynksys AX4200 3-pack is faster and better? i like that is has extra ports and USB ports. Eero Pro Wifi 6 is also appealing but has no USB ports and I’m sure would be similar to AX4200.

    Reply
      • I’m considering the Linksys Velop MX4200 vs. Netgear’s Orbi WiFi 6 System (RBK752) AX4200. For a three story home, which one would you recommend for performance & coverage? Almost all of our devices are on the top floor, but we do have some devices that need WiFi on the first floor.

        My ISP requires a modem/router, which I’ll most likely put into bridge mode. I plan on using an Ethernet cable to directly connect the Velop/Netgear router to the ISP’s modem/router. I am also able to connect the Velop/Netgear satellite directly to the ISP’s modem/router. Would this be the preferred setup for wired backhaul vs. connecting the Velop/Netgear router to the Velop/Netgear satellite with an Ethernet cable?

        Reply
        • I’m testing the Orbi RBK752 right now, JP, check back soon to see which one is better. As for how to connect the hardware, you can’t connect the satellite to anything but the router unit (or a switch that connects to the router unit). But if you have wired your home (as it seems that you have) you’re better off getting a dual-band mesh, one of those on this list.

          Reply
  32. Hi Dong:
    Thank your for your review. I was planning to get one of these. However, privacy and security are two of my concerns with growing online threats. If otherwise, these are a good fit for me – Moneywise, coverage wise, another feature wise, etc. Would you still recommend this and how can I make my router and internet connection more secured?

    Reply
  33. I have just gotten done setup my 2 pair Costco Velop AX4200 mesh kit and I went from 25-33 MPS for downloads speeds to 138 MPS and for uploads from 19 to 38. I have CenturyLink small business plan with up to 150 MPS service. It is on all my home locations too! It is like magic! Everything is instantaneous and streaming services are so clear and solid. No buffering ever,… at all. Web surfing is instantaneous on my iPads, iPhones and PCs. Just shocked at the difference this upgraded router has made in online eye candy and overall satisfaction. Very happy!

    Reply
  34. Hi Dong,

    Our 3200ft 2 story home is set up for wired backhaul. It seems this product may be a bit unique in that it allows both 5GHz bands (in addition to the 2.4GHz band) to be available, in full throughout, to clients when wireless backhaul is used. Meaning no separate SSID, it’s simply visible as a single network to devices with 3 bands of availability. Is this the case?

    For us, it is between this system (the 2 pack at Costco) and the X60 3 pack, also available at Costco. Both would be on wired backhaul. The MX4200 appears to have better “router” performance which is what I assume we’d see out of each unit using wired backhaul? I also like that 4 ports are on each unit on the MX4200, as one will be “office router” (where I really need better wireless) and the other will live in the networking closet, which is central in the house, but enclosed.

    Which would you choose Dong?

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • May I ask why? I’m interested in the brand that, in general, would have better antenna, firmware, and hardware design. Tired of routers crapping out after 2-3 years…

        Reply
        • To add, we have symmetric gigabit service and several wifi 6 clients (and adding), so I’m interested in a reliable 750+ Mbps if possible from each node.

          Reply
    • @Dong Ngo, based on my real life comparison, I disagree. I bought both the 3 nod Deco x60 and the 2 nod MX4200 at Costco on sale at the same great price of $229. I spent a week comparing the two system at a 3 story (with basement) 3500 sqf home with wired backhaul. The Deco X60 were the clear winner. Both systems provided coverage with no dead spots but the Deco were the clear winner on speed and with the ability to connect my devices to the best nod. The fastest device I have is a laptop with 866mbs Wifi 5 and I also tested with iPhone 11 Pro. The Deco covered most of the house with speeds nearing 866mbs and the devices were connected to the 5GH channel and roamed between nods as expected. The Velop kept connecting devices to the 2.4MHZ even when they were next to the nod and devices didn’t roam without disconnecting and reconnecting to the wifi. Perhaps a 3 nod arrangement would have worked better for the Velop but then the price difference would have been substantial.

      Reply
      • What did you degree about, Al? I didn’t say the Velop was well-priced compared with other mesh systems. It only is when compared with other Velop sets. Thanks for sharing your XP, though.

        Reply
  35. Dong,
    I thought that a review search for new router would make for an easy decision – not so after reading your MX4200/AX4200 evaluation of those routers. Just my spouse and me at home. I still work fulltime, self-employed, at my home office. Only a couple of cell phones and maybe a digital TV on sometimes. I am ready to ditch my unreliable AT&T service to my desk phone for a VOIP phone. I need HIPAA security since my work is financial services. I also want to be somewhat ahead of the technology curve to avoid replacing tools every year. My age is 76, so not a tech wizard. No plan to retire. I work with a HP desktop in a home with 2000 sq. Ft. My wife has an office with a laptop about 30 feet from the router. Need security, speed and reliability along with easy maintenance. What is your recommendation?

    Reply
    • Hang in there, Danny! It’s very difficult for me to give you a recommendation since the information you provided is not enough, and it’s almost never enough since there are a lot of details that need to be factored in. That said, I’d recommend you start with this post. when you’re done with it and still have questions, you can leave them in its comment section.

      Reply
  36. Hey Dong! Great reviews as always!
    May I know in what circumstances, I should choose the Mx5300 over the Mx4200? And how does the Mx4200 compares to the ZenWiFi AX XT8?
    Sorry for very similar questions! But it will be fantastic if you can explain a little bit why. Thank you so much!!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Jeff. None, I mean, I’d always go with the MX4200 if I had to choose. The Asus is MUCH better in almost all counts, except for stability (which has been better after numerous firmware updates). The bottom line is if you want slow and stable, go with Linksys (note the privacy issues). If you want options and (potentially) fast speeds, go with Asus.

      Reply
  37. Thanks for a great review Dong. I always immediately check out anything you have review. Keep up the great work.
    One quick question. You say “living in a large home that’s not wired with network cables, this system is an excellent buy”. What would you suggest if you did have a wired house?

    Reply
        • I’d say no according to the available settings, Jimmy. But it’s impossible to know for sure since the MX4200 doesn’t allow access to all of its settings. Generally though, DFS is only necessary when you want to use the 160MHz channel width, which the router doesn’t support.

          Reply
          • The 5GHz band is extremely crowded around my house. That’s why I’m looking to upgrade with a wifi 6 mesh system that can cover a large area and supports DFS. I imagine most vendors skip the expense of adding DFS channels since they permit use in only in lower power, (except maybe 52).

  38. Thanks for the review! So helpful as I’m deciding on my first mesh system and this is available at Costco for a reasonable price.

    Reply
  39. Thanks for very informative review.

    I am interested in this MX4200 (2-pack i.e. MX8400, available only at Costco for $300) vs MX5300 (single pack, also available at Costco for the same price).

    Which one would you recommend?

    Reply
  40. Thank you! Great insight, I think I’m going to go with the Asus ZenWifi xt8. I think it should be a solid performer for us in a 1800 sq ft 2 story home.
    Best regards,
    Mike

    Reply

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