These benchmarks measure up and downlink 2.4 and 5 GHz throughput at each system node, providing a good indication of what's happening in the backhaul in each node. Since tests are made with 0 dB attenuation between the Pal test client and each system node, all measurements are best case. As signal levels between system node and client drop (i.e. distance increases), throughput will decrease proportionate to the RvR curves above.
The 2.4 GHz downlink chart shows throughput measured at each node, with the A bars being the root node and B bars the Hop 1 node. For Orbi, the C bars represent Hop 1 (the lone Satellite) with 21 dB of attenuation set between client and Satellite. For Velop, which has three nodes, the C bars show Hop 2 throughput. Keep in mind 2.4 GHz tests are made with 9 dB of attenuation between node and octoPal client vs. the 0 dB normally used. 5 GHz measurements are done with 0 dB.
Orbi shows essentially the same throughput for all three cases; the 21 dB of attenuation still puts throughput on the flat part of the RvR curve shown above. But what's going on with Velop for Case C?
Wi-Fi System Performance - 2.4 GHz downlink
A check of the Pal station statistics revealed an interesting finding; each node was operating on a different 2.4 GHz channel! For this test, the Root node was operating in 40 MHz bandwidth on channels 4 and 6, Hop 1 was on Channel 7 also running 40 MHz bandwidth and Hop 2 was running on Channel 1, but in 20 MHz bandwidth! Mystery solved!
2.4 GHz uplink shows a similar pattern, i.e. steady throughput with Orbi and declining throughput with Velop.
Wi-Fi System Performance - 2.4 GHz uplink
5 GHz downlink finally shows lower Orbi throughput in Case C with 21 dB of attenuation between Satellite and Pal client. Velop throughput is also lower, much lower, even with two 5 GHz radios to choose from. I should note Root and Hop 2 throughput were both measured on Channel 149, but Hop 1 was measured on Channel 36. So it doesn't appear that Velop uses a dedicated 5 GHz channel for backhaul.
Wi-Fi System Performance - 5 GHz downlink
5 GHz uplink also shows lower throughput across all nodes for both Orbi and Velop. But Velop again takes a larger hit than Orbi on the second Hop (Case C).
Wi-Fi System Performance - 5 GHz uplink
So let's look at backhaul performance to see if it offers any clues for Velop's falloff on the second hop. I limited the plot below to Orbi, Orbi mini and Velop to keep things focused. Remember this is measured from the root node Ethernet port to the Ethernet port on the specified Hop. First observation is how close Velop and Orbi mini's 2x2 backhaul comes to original Orbi's 4x4. I would have expected higher throughput from 4x4 Orbi.
Wi-Fi System Backhaul - Hop 1
These results are lower than the over-the-air backhaul testing I did in the original Orbi review. In my "Living Room" location, I measured 528 Mbps downlink and 414 Mbps up.
Orbi can't support two hops, so I'll show just show Velop and the other products that can. Velop clearly beats the pants off eero Gen 2, the only other of the products shown below that has a second 2x2 5 GHz radio.