Though it was overwhelmed to market by Asus’ latest ROG Rapture router, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E was truly the primary WiFi 6E-certified router, having earned the excellence on Jan. 14. Meaning it’s additionally the primary mesh router to garner the certification. It guarantees distinctive throughput, and you’ll count on to see as much as near-gigabit speeds throughout your own home with just a few additional nodes positioned in simply the proper spots.
That’s, assuming you might have some WiFi 6E gadgets mendacity round to make the most of these speeds. Hey, don’t have a look at me like that! You knew what this was.
Not the Most Hideous Router
The Atlas Max seems practically an identical to its predecessors, together with the Linksys Velop MX10: It’s an Xbox Collection X-shaped (or is the Xbox Velop-shaped?), nigh-featureless white brick that stands on its finish. The highest has gridded holes for cooling and a single, sensible standing LED you could’t flip off, which drives me nuts—it’s so rattling shiny!
On the again, you’ll discover a single 5 Gbps ethernet WAN port and 4 gigabit LAN ports, together with a USB 3.zero port for direct-attached storage, and a barrel-shaped energy port. There’s a energy change on the recessed backside, in addition to a reset button and a WPS button. All of that is true of each node within the three-pack, which is good when in comparison with the equally-pricey, wonderful AmpliFi Alien 2-pack, the place the MeshPoint second router bears just one ethernet port and easy standing lights.
I wish to take a second to speak in regards to the grasping, unwieldy exterior energy provide every Atlas Max comes with—it’s exhausting to actually convey how massive they’re. I reside in Texas, so I wish to say they’re in regards to the measurement of a beneficiant breakfast taco. In case you like video games and are sufficiently old, consider the primary time you held the affectionately-nicknamed Duke, the unique Xbox’s bloated first run at a controller. The Atlas energy provide is just needlessly massive, forcing me to rearrange the plugs on my UPS to accommodate its girth. Most corporations cope with bricks this massive by both hiding them away contained in the unit or placing them in the midst of the ability cable, and I do want Linksys would think about this.
Inside, the Atlas Max is powered by a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM and 512MB of flash. It’s a tri-band router, with the second 5 GHz band usually seen with tri-bands changed by 6 GHz. Due to the 802.11ax protocol utilized by the router, it additionally options OFDMA and up to date MU-MIMO applied sciences. Collectively, these options allow it to speak with a number of gadgets without delay, the previous by subdividing channels on a single stream for low-bandwidth good residence gadgets, and the latter by broadcasting a number of simultaneous knowledge streams. Although WiFi 5 additionally makes use of MU-MIMO, WiFi 6 expands this functionality to the two.four GHz band for the primary time, which possible not less than partially accounts for the pace boosts you see on that band with this and different WiFi 6 routers.
Simple Setup, however Lacks Options
Setup was characteristically straightforward, although solely meant to be achieved via the telephone app, so far as I might inform. It’s not that you just can’t do it by way of an internet browser; it’s simply that there is no such thing as a setup wizard while you do, and the Atlas’ standing mild received’t change to blue from purple till you full setup within the app, which doesn’t in any approach acknowledge that you just’ve achieved any type of setup but. I personally don’t assume that is the proper selection, even when we do reside in a world the place the varieties of people that can afford this router positively have a smartphone. However this doesn’t kill the Atlas Max.
After setup, administration of the router is probably simpler via the telephone app, however neither the app nor the browser-based UI permit for any notably superior administration—the Atlas Max is aimed straight at common shoppers, in spite of everything.
That stated, on this vary, different routers add a number of bells and whistles you simply don’t see with the Atlas. Lacking is any type of community exercise meter, network-level ad-blocking or malware safety, or any superior characteristic set for players or work-from-home professionals who would possibly want the type of adaptive prioritization options that require minimal enter from them. It has High quality-of-Service (QoS) after all, however it’s a reasonably fundamental implementation of it relative to a few of Linksys’ opponents. It’s not simply that the Velop options are easy—it’s that they really feel incomplete by comparability to the Atlas’ friends. Nonetheless, there isn’t actually something notably complicated in both the app or the browser UI, and though I can’t stand one specific habits of the app (tapping “again” in lots of the menus takes you again to the house display, slightly than the earlier menu), I discovered it straightforward sufficient to get round.
Blazing Quick Efficiency
After all, in actuality, what you need most out of your router is superb efficiency, and, not less than right here, the Atlas does ship, blowing my regular WiFi 5 Eero system fully out of the water. I examined it first as a single router, with no activated nodes, to get a really feel for the vary of the Atlas Max 6E by itself. I discovered that the lone unit, examined with a Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely for the 6 GHz and 5 GHz bands utilizing the 802.11ax protocol, was greater than sufficient for my home. Downloads have been very quick on each bands in every single place I examined it inside the home. My good residence gadgets didn’t appear to have any qualms, aside from restarting the standard suspects, and I used to be capable of stream audio and video on a number of gadgets without delay with none hiccups. By itself, one Atlas Max doesn’t fairly attain the couple of gadgets I’ve in my work shed, which is about 80 ft behind my home, however that has solely ever labored once I’m utilizing a mesh system with a node on the very again of the home, or once I’m testing among the extra highly effective, grotesque, antenna-laden choices on the market.
Happy with the indoor efficiency of the Atlas, I linked up the 2 satellite tv for pc nodes. Right here, I discovered a bit of little bit of unsteadiness, with a few of my good residence gadgets stubbornly refusing to cooperate with the change, however I used to be capable of finally get every thing again on-line and behaving. At this level, I made a decision to bridge the Atlas Maxes for testing, within the curiosity of my household’s sanity. Consistently separating bands and recombining them can tremendously check one’s endurance when all one needs to do is add tortilla chips to a procuring listing by way of a sensible speaker, in spite of everything. I received wonderful outcomes, with a few quirks—numbers that appeared flawed based mostly on the place I used to be testing.
I used to be capable of retest later with the Atlas once more arrange as a standard router, and received the numbers I anticipated—close to 600 Mbps utilizing a WiFi 6 connection—however it uncovered one annoying little omission: the flexibility to view which gadgets are related to which nodes when the Atlas is in bridge mode. I may need assumed this simply isn’t attainable, if not for the truth that the Asus AiMesh routers I’ve examined up to now are completely able to doing so in bridge mode. It is a small grievance, in the end, and actually solely annoying should you’re testing a router for assessment and also you don’t know which node you’re related to with out utilizing community analyzing instruments.
With a mesh community arrange, I ran exams once more on the quicker 6 GHz band. Once more, I noticed wonderful throughput, if barely lowered, possible owed to the truth that the Atlas Max makes use of the 6 GHz band as wi-fi backhaul between nodes. You’ll be able to consider backhaul because the spine via which all the knowledge programs between nodes. This gave me over 600 Mbps at my eating room desk, which is simply bonkers quick. Having an ethernet drop going to my bed room, I went forward and ran exams with a node in there, related to the principle router by way of ethernet, and the advance there’s astounding, with web pace exams knocking down numbers that match what I’d see hardwired to the modem itself. Whereas I’ll by no means want that type of pace in that room, I discovered I wanted a projector at first of the pandemic, and this is able to make streaming motion pictures in my yard a a lot better expertise, for the reason that router sits on a desk towards the again wall of my residence.
Ought to You Purchase It?
Having the ability to see obtain speeds in extra of 600 Mbps actually anyplace in my home and not less than 50 ft into my yard is fairly superb, and actually makes you surprise why you’d even hassle with a single entry level if mesh can get you this. Oh, after all. The value. See, I don’t assume I’ve to let you know that, at an eye-watering $1,200 MSRP for a triple-pack, the Atlas Max 6E is breathtakingly costly. That’s twice what it prices to purchase a three-unit Eero Pro set, and though it’s overkill for, say, my 1,200-square-foot residence (that’s $1 per sq. foot of WiFi in line with my Very Good Math), Linksys hasn’t provided some other possibility for piecemeal buy of this router. I hope they do, as a result of a single unit carried out pretty nicely in my testing and $400 is a a lot simpler quantity to swallow. Comparatively simpler, anyway.
One final thing to notice: The Atlas Max, like its WiFi 6 predecessors, will not be among the many shamefully short list of Apple HomeKit Safe routers. In case you’re contemplating shopping for it, however having that characteristic is a dealbreaker to you, it wouldn’t be the worst concept to carry off till Linksys has introduced something about that.
All in all, the Atlas Max 6E is just too costly. It performs extraordinarily nicely, however the lack of superior configurability or intelligent QoS smarts hinders it, in addition to the dearth of safety features discovered on previous Linksys routers (although Linksys instructed me it does intend so as to add Linksys Defend and Linksys Conscious to those routers finally, so hold your eyes peeled for that). The Atlas Max could put up some unimaginable numbers, however with virtually no WiFi 6E gadgets available on the market but, and loads of wonderful, cheaper WiFi 6 routers to be discovered—together with Linksys’ personal MX10 Velop 3-pack—it’s extraordinarily exhausting to advocate it at this worth, particularly with all of the holes in its characteristic set. I’ve to imagine, nevertheless, that many of those downsides will work themselves out in time, so for now I’d categorize this one as a wait-and-see.