HomeKit finally gets another router option.
What you need to know
- Linksys has begun rolling out HomeKit support for select Tri-Band Velop mesh routers.
- HomeKit router support adds enhanced privacy options and restrictions for smart home accessories.
- Update is coming to customers in the United States first, followed by a global rollout later this year.
Following a false start which saw the company accidentally list that HomeKit Router support was "days away" earlier this year on its website, Linksys has officially announced that it has begun rolling out the feature to users in the United States today. Available for select Tri-Band mesh Velop routers, the addition of HomeKit enables additional privacy controls and restrictions for HomeKit accessories.
"At a time where much of the world continues to work, live and learn from home, we’re excited to offer our customers a simple way to enhance the security of their Linksys Velop Tri-Band routers with HomeKit to offer even more robust privacy features within the home," said Matthew Keasler, senior global product manager, Linksys. "These routers are powered by our Intelligent Mesh Technology so we can continue to additionally serve users with value-adds such as software security, health and wellness services like Linksys Shield, Linksys Aware, and more to come over time."
Coming in the form of a firmware update through the Linksys app, HomeKit Router support gives users the ability to restrict which services a HomeKit accessory has access to. Three options are available through the Home app, which can limit an accessory to just services approved by a manufacturer, to just the local home network without contacting an outside server, or with no restrictions. Here’s the descriptions from the Home app:
- Restrict to Home: Only allow connections to your home hub. This may block firmware updates or other services.
- Automatic: Allow connections with an automatically-updated list of manufacturer-approved internet services and local devices.
- No Restriction: Allow conncetions with any internet service or local device. This provides the lowest level of security.
As Apple notes, some restrictions can prevent certain services from working properly, like firmware updates. We tested out the most stringent restrictions earlier this year with an updated eero router, and for the most part, all accessories worked as expected, which is great for those who want to keep unwanted traffic off of their networks.
Supported Linksys Tri-Band routers are available in packs consiting of one to three nodes, offering an affordable way to start with mesh networking while still allowing expansion. Here’s the complete list of compatible models which are available in black and white color options:
- Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh WiFi System, Tri-Band (AC2200/WHW0301)
- Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh WiFi System, Tri-Band (AC4400/WHW0302) 2-Pack
- Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh WiFi System, Tri-Band (AC6600/WHW0303) 3-Pack
The Linksys Velop HomeKit Router update is rolling out now for customers in the United States, with additional countries being added over the coming months.
Linksys AC2200 Velop Intelligent Mesh WiFi System
This single pack is an affordable way to jump into the HomeKit router game once it gets an upgrade later this year. The Tri-Band AC2200 can also be expanded with additional nodes for larger areas as your needs change.
2 of a kind
Linksys AC4400 Velop Intelligent Mesh WiFi System
The Velop AC4400 is best for medium sized homes, spanning on 2-3 bedrooms. In addition to HomeKit, this set works with Alexa, and includes parental controls built right in.
Linksys AC6600 Velop Intelligent Mesh WiFi System
The AC6600 3-Pack offers maximum coverage, blanketing most 3-4 bedroom homes in glorious, fast Wi-Fi. All 3 nodes work together using self healing technology that allows the others to pick up the slack if one is unplugged.