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Blanket your house with Wi-Fi for $129

The two-node Linksys Velop mesh network sells elsewhere for at least $180. Plus: Save 50 percent on US Mobile cell service!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
4 min read

No more Wi-Fi dead-zones? A mesh network like the Linksys Velop should do the trick.


Whew! I'm glad that's over. Prime Day, I mean. I don't know about you, but I'm suffering from Amazon fatigue. (That said, if you want one last stab at super-cheap Amazon gear, here's how to get it.)

Today, let's talk about the Wi-Fi in your home. If it's not as good as you think it could or should be -- you have pockets where the signal is weak, for example -- it might be time to consider a mesh network.

That may sound intimidating, but it's really just two to three little plug-in stations that extend the Wi-Fi signal so the whole place gets even coverage.

Some of these kits sell for $300 or more, but for a limited time, Walmart has the Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh System for $129 shipped (plus tax). It's normally $149, and similar kits run at least $180 elsewhere.

What do I mean by "similar"? This particular configuration is a Walmart exclusive, an AC2400 version of the Velop that's not available elsewhere. Linksys proper sells an AC2600 model for $230, though it's currently on sale for $180. Amazon's AC1300 version is also $180.

Uh, oh: jargon! Let me just say that AC2400 indicates the bandwidth of the system, the size of the wireless pipe through which data can flow, and that it should be more than sufficient for the majority of people.

Beyond that, the Velop is a dual-node, dual-band network designed for homes as large as 3,000 square feet. One node plugs into your modem. The other gets placed on a different floor -- or near the other end of the house, if you live on a ranch. Fire up the Linksys app, finish the setup and bam, you're done.

Back in early 2017, CNET reviewed the tri-band, tri-node version of the Velop and found it overpriced -- which it definitely was at $500. I'm not sure how much of that review applies to what we have here, as Linksys has probably addressed at least some of the software concerns.

I will say that user reviews are at least as important as professional ones, if not more so, and the Velop currently has a 4.3-star average from buyers at Amazon, Walmart and Linksys. (Interesting coincidence!) What's more, both the Android and iOS versions of the Linksys app have high ratings. To me that's all very telling. It means the vast majority of users are quite happy with the product.

One caveat, though: I don't see any option to purchase additional nodes if you want to expand your coverage. Looks like you'd need another two-pack like this one.

Even so, I'm thinking seriously about grabbing this kit for my parents, as Wi-Fi coverage has long been a challenge in their house. If you have any experience with the Velop, please hit the comments and share your thoughts!


US Mobile can get you onto Verizon's network for a lot less than what Verizon charges.

US Mobile

Bonus deal: Did you buy a new phone on Prime Day? Maybe that sweet Moto X4 for $200? If you're looking to audition a new carrier to go with it, check this out: For a limited time, Cheapskate readers (and only Cheapskate readers) can get 50 percent off any US Mobile plan for three months with code CHEAPSKATE50FOR3.

It works like this: Use that link (or button) to purchase a Starter Kit for $3.99, making sure to apply the promo code before checking out. Once your SIM card arrives, head to the activation page to choose a plan, choose (or port in) your phone number and set up AutoPay. (This last is required to take advantage of the deal.)

Now you'll get 50 percent off your selected plan -- any plan -- for those first three months. You can cancel anytime after if you choose to.

US Mobile offers customizable plans (you choose the minutes, texts and amount of data you want) on its GSM and Super LTE networks (the latter: cough, Verizon, cough) and unlimited plans on just the Super LTE network.


The Amazon Tap.

James Martin/CNET

Bonus deal No. 2: Okay, one last Amazon thing -- though for once Amazon isn't the seller. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Bid$buy (via Ebay) has the Amazon Tap Bluetooth Speaker for $61.99 shipped, the lowest price I've seen.

Has the Tap been quietly discontinued by Amazon? Perhaps. The company currently sells only refurbished ones, and those are priced at $70. Certainly there was no mention of the Tap during Prime Day.

If you're still interested, read CNET's Amazon Tap review. Verdict: "Now fully hands free, the Amazon Tap does everything the original Echo can do for less and adds portability to the package."

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