While a handful of modem and router companies jumped quickly into the 5G market last year, some big names are establishing themselves with multiple options in 2020 — and Linksys, the networking arm of Belkin and Foxconn, is one of them. Today, the company is announcing four new 5G products that cover everything from mobile to home and office use.
Most interesting is the Linksys-branded 5G Mobile Hotspot, which avoids the screens and frills of prior 5G hotspots in favor of a simpler gray body with a roughly smartphone-sized form factor. A basic four-dot indicator lets you know the 5G or 4G signal strength you’re getting, alongside individual battery and Wi-Fi 6 lights. You can use the 5G Mobile Hotspot for sub-6GHz 5G connectivity, as well as connecting an existing device to an extra USB port with Quick Charge support.
Linksys is also debuting its 5G Modem, designed to bring a sub-6GHz 5G broadband-quality connection to the home for use with a router of your choice. Similar to the Mobile Hotspot, the 5G Modem is minimalist — there’s just a power light and a set of blue signal indicator lights on the front — and its white glossy plastic design will blend into most interiors.
On the router side, Linksys is introducing a Velop 5G Mesh Gateway that combines a sub-6GHz 5G modem with a Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax router that can be expanded for larger homes using existing Velop equipment. The white milk carton-like box preserves the basic look and shape of prior Velop devices, but with a blue 5G logo on the bottom of its front face.
Last, but not least, is the company’s 5G Outdoor Router, which promises access to both sub-6GHz and millimeter wave 5G networks, as well as 10Gbps wired connections. The white box is mounted to the exterior of a building with screws and exterior wall mounts, enabling it to obtain unrestricted access to an outdoor millimeter wave 5G signal.
Deeper specs aren’t yet available, but Linksys will begin releasing the devices with the 5G Mobile Hotspot this spring and “continuing through the year.” It remains to be seen whether they’ll all be sold directly to consumers or some will be offered through carriers, joining alternatives from companies such as D-Link, HTC, Inseego, Nokia, Samsung, and Verizon.