With Apple having discontinued its AirPort lineup last year and mesh Wi-Fi becoming more and more popular due to its robust coverage and performance, the company's users are increasingly looking to third-party networking options. Belkin-owned Linksys has been one of the leaders in the mesh Wi-Fi market with its Velop lineup, and it's the only brand of Wi-Fi system Apple now carries in its stores and online.

While the Velop systems have been popular for their performance and unobtrusive design, some users have been looking for something a bit more traditional that offers wired ports, and that's why Linksys today is announcing the MR8300 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi router. It's a standalone Wi-Fi router that offers many of the features power users are accustomed to, including three radios (one 2.4 GHz 802.11n and two 5 GHz 802.11ac), four adjustable antennas with beamforming to deliver maximum signal coverage, and 4 gigabit LAN ports for wired connectivity. There's also a USB 3.0 port for connecting peripherals such as shared network storage.

linksys mr8300 box
If that sounds pretty much like a traditional router, it is, but the MR8300 also includes built-in mesh technology that integrates with the Velop systems, so you can use it as a hub to build your mesh network around. The integration helps you evolve your network over time if your needs change such as moving from a small apartment where a single router is sufficient to a larger home where you can benefit from a mesh setup.

I've had the MR8300 in my house for a couple of weeks, using it both in place of and integrated with my existing tri-band Velop nodes, and it's offered solid coverage and performance for my home.

linksys mr8300 front
Unlike the Velop nodes or Apple's AirPort products, the MR8300 doesn't have a sleek design, instead prioritizing performance with its large adjustable antennas. It's not unusual for Wi-Fi router design, but if you're coming from something like the AirPort lineup it can be a little bit of a visual shock that might give you pause when considering just how visible you want your Wi-Fi router to be.

The MR8300 isn't the most powerful Wi-Fi router you can buy, with Linksys itself offering some higher-end options like the EA9500 with eight antennas, eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, and faster transfer speeds, for example, but the MR8300 offers a nice balance of performance, price, and mesh expandability.

For nearly a year, I've been using a three-node tri-band Velop system in my 1850 square foot, two-story home, with the primary node located in first-floor family room at one end of the house. My office is located at the exact opposite end of the house and up a floor, and while I get decent Wi-Fi speeds in my office, it feels like I do need to be careful with the placement of my Velop nodes to ensure a good signal, as the node in the center of my home has occasionally complained about a weak connection to the primary node.

The MR8300 isn't able to fully cover my entire house on its own from its peripheral location, managing an average of only 27 Mbps down and 11 Mbps up from my 100/100 Google Fiber service when connecting from my office at the opposite end of the house, but that's not surprising considering my previous experience with Wi-Fi routers in my house. If you have a smaller home or are able to locate the router in a more central location, coverage should be just fine. Moving close to the router yielded speeds of around 95 Mbps up and down.

linksys mr8300 rear
While my router's location in my house isn't ideal for full Wi-Fi coverage on its own, it is in my family room with an Xbox and an Apple TV, so the ability to use stable wired connections for those devices is a plus.

So if your setup is like mine and you find your router can't give you adequate coverage on its own, that's where the MR8300's Velop technology comes in. You can easily add one or more Linksys Velop nodes to the MR8300, letting your network grow with you while giving you the benefits of both fast gigabit wired connections and mesh Wi-Fi technology.

linksys mr8300 app 1
The Linksys iOS app makes it easy to set up and manage the company's routers, and it takes only a few minutes to get the MR8300 up and running, with plenty of customization options available in the app. And if you want to add Velop nodes to the network, the app makes it easy to do so. It takes a few minutes for each node to start up and configure itself, but the process is extremely simple. And once everything is up and running, the app lets you check on the status of each node and see at a glance which nodes and Wi-Fi bands your devices are connected to.

linksys mr8300 app 2
Once I had my Velop nodes added to the MR8300, I was able to achieve speeds in excess of 92 Mbps up and down throughout my home.

The Linksys MR8300 is scheduled to be priced at $199.99, although Linksys is currently listing it at $179.99 in the company's online store. The MR8300 is launching today and will also be available through Best Buy and Amazon.

That's the same price as a single tri-band Velop node, but it offers a bit more in the way of features such as the wired ports. The MR8300 is also nearly identical to the EA8300 router from Linksys priced at $139.99, so you're essentially paying $60 for the new Velop compatibility.

Velop Tri-Band users may also be interested in new Linksys Shield subscription services launching this year to help protect your network on an ongoing basis. First up next month is a Parental Control Subscription priced at $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year that offers filtering for adult, violent, or other types of content at the router level to help keep kids safe online. A separate Network Security Subscription priced at $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year will be launching later in 2019 to help protect against threats from malicious sites by checking your traffic against a database of known threats.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Linksys, Best Buy, and Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Top Rated Comments

RightMACatU Avatar
31 months ago
unobtrusive design
o_O Can't imagine what an obtrusive design would look like :D
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WildCowboy Avatar
31 months ago
o_O Can't imagine what an obtrusive design would look like :D
I would consider this new Linksys one obtrusive. :) The original Velop systems have unobtrusive designs with simple rectangular towers.

FYI, 802.11ac is 5GHz only, there's no 2.4 GHz ac
Yep, I should have phrased that differently...thanks.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
egodspeed Avatar
31 months ago
Hey Linksys people, can you please stop with these "upside down crab" designs and come up with something elegant?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18

Thursday May 13, 2021 10:32 pm PDT by
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website. The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...
2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
google photos

PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud

Thursday May 13, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article...
AirTag in Envelope Feature 2

AirTag Used to Successfully Track a Mailed Package Across the UK

Wednesday May 12, 2021 8:44 am PDT by
An Apple customer in the United Kingdom has successfully used Apple's Find My network to track an AirTag as it was being sent by mail to a friend in a completely different city. Outlined in a blog post at Intego, Kirk McElhearn said he taped an AirTag to a piece of card, wrapped it inside a small bubble envelope, and then sent it on its way. Kirk lives in the small town of...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...