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ARRIS Intros SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh as Its First Wi-Fi 6 Solution

The SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh Wi-Fi system.
The SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh Wi-Fi system.

ARRIS informed me today of its very first Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) broadcaster, and it’s not a standalone router. Instead, it’s a Mesh Wi-Fi system, called SURFboard mAX Pro, or mAX for short. The news is quite exciting because ARRIS is a known maker of cable modems and residential gateways.

By the way, this is ARRIS’s very first Wi-Fi system. Before this, the company released a power-line system, the SurfBoard SBR-AC3200P, a few years ago.

Update: The full review of the SURFboard mAX Pro is now available here.

Tri-band 4×4 Wi-Fi 6

The new system includes two hardware units and, according to ARRIS, uses Tri-band 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 in both. In other words, each unit has two 5GHz bands and one 2.4GHz band.

Tri-band is significant in a Wi-Fi system since one of the 5GHz bands can work solely for the job of connecting the hardware units. This band is called the dedicated back-haul or dedicated link and helps reduce or even eliminate the deficiency when signals have to jump from one node to another.

As for how all Wi-Fi systems work, you connect one of the units to an Internet source and then place the other a distance away to extend the Wi-Fi network further. What’s also interesting is mAX doesn’t have a built-in cable modem, which would make it a contender of the Netgear Orbi CBK40.

Large Wi-Fi coverage

ARRIS claims a single unit of the mAX can cover some 3000 ftยฒ (280 mยฒ), and with two units, you’ll get double that. The system is slated to be some four times faster than the speed of the existing Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) counterparts.

ModelW31
Full NameARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 AX Router
Total Hadware Unit in a MeshUp to three routers
Dedicated Backhaul BandYes
Wired BackhaulFuture firmware
Dimensions9.64-inch (245mm) tall, 5-inch (127mm) wide
Weight2.21 lbs (1kg)
Wi-Fi TechnologyTri-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX11000
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs2 x 5GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/160MHz, up to 4.8Gbps
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2.4GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Mobile AppARRIS SURFboard mAX Manager
Web User InterfaceNo
Bridge ModeNo
AP ModeNo
USB PortNone
Regular Network PortsThree Gigabit LAN port ports, one Gigabit WAN port
Link AggregationYes (WAN + LAC Port)
Multi-Gig PortNone
CPU64-bit quad-core 1.8GHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM, 1 GB of flash
ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro’s hardware Specifications,

In reality, you’ll need Wi-Fi 6 clients to enjoy the new speed. With existing clients, you’ll get about the same as that of a Wi-Fi 5 system. Nonetheless, the fast Wi-Fi 6 speed will allow for a larger distance between the two hardware units, hence increase the Wi-Fi coverage, without affecting the broadband connection they carry.

Availability

The SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System is available in the first half of this year. Currently, its price is not yet available. By the time it ships, however, there will be many more Wi-Fi 6 mesh options, including those from Asus, Netgear, TP-Link, to name a few.

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6 thoughts on “ARRIS Intros SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh as Its First Wi-Fi 6 Solution”

  1. Thanks Dong,
    with you having kindly gone to the trouble of writing an article on this new Arris system, just thought I would indicate my interest, but it appears to have been removed from Amazon for the time being, so will have to be patient.
    I mainly have 802.11n devices, one ac device and no ax devices and doubt I will have for some time yet. Given all the performance hype with wifi, just can’t help being curious as to what a purpose designed ax mesh system might be capable of.
    Your excellent, very clear performance bar charts like this one,

    https://dongknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Aimesh-Score.png

    are very useful.

    Thanks again, Neil

    Reply
  2. I see the SURFboard mAX Pro is allegedly to be released on Amazon.com https://amzn.to/2Vdo2wl from the May 15th. Am curious to find out if a couple of these would provide a 1Gb wifi link for our B4RN 1Gb/1Gb via a Genexis DRG7820 in the UK.

    Reply
    • Hi Neil,

      I can’t give you a definitive answer since I haven’t tested the system. However, considering its Wi-Fi 6 specs, chances are it’ll be able to deliver more than 1Gbps Wi-Fi speeds (hence able to provide your Internet in full). Whether or not your device can receive that speed depends on its Wi-Fi, too. Generally, you need a device that also has Wi-Fi 6 to connect at the high speed.

      Hope this helps!

      -Dong

      Reply

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